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The 21st Annual Herbert Rubin and Justice Rose Luttan Rubin International Law Symposium

Video Now Available Online!

Thursday, November 19th, 2015, 12-6pm

Greenberg Lounge, Vanderbilt Hall, 40 Washington Sq. South

JILP POSTER FINAL 2Please join us for the 21st Annual Herbert Rubin and Justice Rose Luttan RubinInternational Law Symposium at NYU School of Law organized by the NYU Journal of International Law and Politics.  This year the symposium will be held on November 19th, 2015 and is entitled Constitution and Custom: Women’s Rights and Women’s Access to Justice in Pluralistic Legal Societies.  The symposium will bring together human rights activists, constitutional scholars, and legal anthropologists from Nigeria, Mexico, and India to look at three case studies where constitutional law and indigenous, customary, or religious law collide in both constitutional structures and women’s everyday lives. The day will conclude with a keynote address by Vrinda Grover LLM ’06, a human rights lawyer and activist based in New Delhi, India.  Ms. Grover was included in the TIME 100: Most Influential People in the World in 2013.

Please register here:

This event is approved for at least 3.5 New York State CLE credits in the Areas of Professional Practice category and is appropriate for both experienced and newly admitted attorneys.

Schedule of Events

12:00-12:30 p.m.               Registration and Light Lunch

12:30-1:00 p.m.                 Welcome and Opening Remarks

1:00-2:00 p.m.                   Panel #1: Nigeria

  • Hauwa Ibrahim (J.D)
  • Muna Ndulo (J.D)
  • Moderator: Meg Satterthwaite ’99

2:00-2:15 p.m.                   Coffee break

2:15-3:15 p.m.                   Panel #2: Mexico

  • Rachel Sieder
  • Alejandra Anchieta
  • Esmeralda Lopez (J.D.)
  • Moderator: Lisa Davis (J.D.)

3:15-3:30 p.m.                   Coffee break

3:30-4:30 p.m.                   Panel #3: India

  • Gopika Solanki
  • Rangita de Silva de Alwis (J.D.)
  • Moderator: Nikki Reisch ’12

4:30-4:40 p.m.                   Key Note Introduction by NYU Faculty

4:40-5:30 p.m.                   Key Note Address by Ms. Vrinda Grover LLM ’06

5:30-6:00 p.m.                   Closing Remarks by Dean Trevor Morrison

Speaker Biographies:

Keynote Speaker:

Vrinda Grover is a lawyer, researcher, human rights and women’s rights activist based in New Delhi, India. As a lawyer she has appeared in landmark human rights cases and represented women and child survivors of domestic and sexual violence, victims and survivors of communal massacre, extrajudicial killings and custodial torture, sexual minorities, trade unions and political activists. Focused on the impunity of the state in relation to human rights violations, her research and writing inquires into the role of law in the subordination of women; the failure of the criminal justice system during communal and targeted violence; the effect of ‘security’ laws on human rights; rights of undocumented workers; challenges confronting internally displaced persons; and examines impunity for enforced disappearances and torture in conflict situations. She has contributed to the drafting of laws in the country including, the 2013 Criminal Law Amendment to the law against sexual assault; The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012; the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2010; a law for protection from Communal and Targeted Violence.  A member of many government committees in India, a prominent commentator in the media and an expert on jurisprudential issues relating to accountability for violence against women and other marginalized groups, she is presently a Research Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Delhi. She has actively engaged with UN human rights mechanisms including the Universal Periodic Review and UN Special Rapporteurs. Vrinda Grover is a member of the UN Women India Civil Society Advisory Group; Bureau member of South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR); a founder member of the Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR). She was also named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2013.

Nigeria Panel:

Hauwa Ibrahim: Currently teaching and conducting research at Harvard, Hauwa Ibrahim is one of the top defenders of women’s rights in Nigeria.  Prior to joining Harvard Divinity School as a Visiting Lecturer, Hauwa was a jointly appointed Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and at Harvard Law School Human Rights Program. A lawyer and author, she has been a visiting professor in several countries. In May 2014, President Good-luck Jonathan of Nigeria appointed her a member of the fact-finding commission regarding the 219 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from Chibok. Hauwa’s professional accomplishments also include election as the first female National Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association in 2000 and authorship of the first draft of the constitution for the Pan African Lawyers Union in 2002. Hauwa has served as a consultant to the United Nations Development Program, the European Union’s Commission and Ambassadors in Nigeria, and the NGO Lawyers without Borders. Hauwa has been honored with the European Parliament’s 2005 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. On May 9th 2015, she addressed the European Parliament on the pursuit of her lifetime- education.  

Muna Ndulo: Dr. Ndulo is a professor of law at Cornell Law School. He is also director of Cornell University’s Institute for African Development. He is an honorary professor of law at the University of Cape Town. He is an authority on African legal systems, human rights, international criminal law, constitution making, election monitoring and international law and foreign direct investments. After receiving his LL.B. from the University of Zambia, LL.M. from Harvard Law School, and a Ph.D. from Oxford University, Dr. Ndulo was a public prosecutor for the Ministry of Legal Affairs. He was dean of the University of Zambia School of Law. From 1986-1996, he served as legal officer in the International Trade Law Branch of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law. From 1992-1994, he served as Political Adviser with the United Nations Observer Mission in South Africa and to the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General to South Africa. He also has served in a number of U.N. peacekeeping missions, including as legal adviser to the U.N. Assistance Mission to East Timor (1999), legal expert to the U.N. Mission to Kosovo (2000), and legal expert to the U.N. Mission to Afghanistan (2003). He is a member of the Advisory Committee, Human Rights Watch (Africa), and chairman of a South African non-government organization, Gender Links. He has consulted with World Bank, Economic Commission for Africa, Africa Development Bank, International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. He has been involved in the constitutional making processes in Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Somalia. 

Meg Satterthwaite (J.D.)

Margaret Satterthwaite’s research interests include economic and social rights, human rights and counterterrorism, and methodological innovation in human rights. Satterthwaite graduated magna cum laude from NYU School of Law in 1999 and served as a law clerk to Judge Betty B. Fletcher of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1999-00 and to the judges of the International Court of Justice in 2001-02. She has worked for a variety of human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights First, and the Commission Nationale de Verité et de Justice (Haitian Truth and Justice Commission), and has authored or co-authored more than a dozen human rights reports. She has engaged in human rights work in places such as Haiti, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, the United States, and Yemen. Satterthwaite has served as a human rights consultant and advising expert to UN agencies and special rapporteurs and has been a member of the boards of directors of several human rights organizations, including Amnesty International USA and the Global Initiative on Economic and Social Rights. She is a member of the Human Rights Reference Group of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.


Mexico Panel

Rachel Sieder

Rachel Sieder has held the post of Senior Research Professor at the Center for Research and Graduate Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Mexico City since 2007. She is associate senior researcher at the Chr. Michelsen Institute in Bergen, Norway, and associate fellow at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London. She has an MA in Latin American Studies and a PhD in Politics from the University of London. Her research interests include: human rights, indigenous rights, social movements, indigenous law, legal anthropology, the state and violence. She currently heads a collective research project on “Indigenous Women in Latin America: Access to Justice and Security”, part of a research collaboration between CIESAS and the Chr.Michelsen Institute. She is a member of the international editorial boards of the Journal of Latin American Studies (JLAS) and Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies (LACES).

Alejandra Ancheita 

Alejandra Ancheita is the founder and Executive Director of the Mexico City-based ProDESC (The Project of Economic, Cultural, and Social Rights). She is a Mexican lawyer and activist who leads the fight for the rights of migrants, workers, and indigenous communities to raise their standard of living. Since founding ProDESC in 2005, Alejandra and her team have run strategic campaigns aimed at protecting the economic, social, and cultural rights of Mexico’s marginalized people. Alejandra studied law at the Autonomous Metropolitan University in Mexico City and has a Masters in International Law and Global Justice from Fordham Law School in New York City, where she has also been a visiting researcher of the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics. In addition, she is a professor in the Master of Human Rights Education of the American Institute of Human Rights and the Centre for Regional Cooperation for Adults Education in Latin America and the Caribbean. She was recognized by the International Human Rights Community when she was named the 2014 Martin Ennals Laureate, an award considered “the Nobel of Human Rights” which is granted to individuals who have demonstrated a deep commitment to human rights and have faced great personal risk. In March of 2015 the Senate of the Mexican Republic congratulated Alejandra for this award, marking the first time the Senate has acknowledged a female human rights defender. The Spanish newspaper El País named Alejandra one of the 25 most influential Latin Americans, and the Mexican magazine Quien included her in the Quien 50 edition for contributing to the transformation of Mexico. In 2013, the Law School of Harvard University recognized her work by giving her the Wasserstein Public Interest Award.

Esmeralda Lopez (J.D.)

Esmeralda Lopez serves as an Advocacy Officer at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). In her position at USCRI, Ms. Lopez works extensively with the U.S. government, foreign diplomats and international organizations advocating on behalf of refugees, unaccompanied immigrant children, and trafficking survivors. She spoke on the vulnerabilities of unaccompanied immigrant girls in the Americas before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland and has testified twice before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights concerning the protection of refugees in the Americas. In addition to her work with USCRI, Ms. Lopez is a Mexico Country Specialist with Amnesty International USA where she helps develop strategies to call attention to the human rights and political situations in Mexico. Ms. Lopez had two op-eds published by CNN and Fusion, and has been interviewed by a variety of national and international media outlets such as Univision, Radio La Gente and La Prensa Grafica. Ms. Lopez earned her JD at Santa Clara University School of Law and clerked for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Lisa Davis (J.D.)

Lisa Davis is the Clinical Professor of Law for the International Women’s Human Rights (IWHR) Clinic and leads the Gender Law and Policy Project (GLPP) at the Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice. For over fifteen years she has worked as an advocate for gender and human rights. She has written and reported extensively on human rights and gender issues, with a focus on peace-building and security issues in conflict and disaster settings. Lisa has led in-country fact-finding investigations and trainings on human rights violations in the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia and has advocated before various U.N. human rights bodies, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR), the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and in domestic court.

Prior to joining CUNY Law in 2010, she established the advocacy department at MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization, where she developed the legal advocacy platform to advance women’s human rights in peace-building and security issues. Lisa continues to direct the international advocacy and litigation strategies for MADRE. Before working at MADRE, Lisa worked as an international human rights legal consultant for various U.N. experts and inter-governmental institutions on gender and human rights concerns throughout the world. Lisa served as the Coordinator for the Lawyers’ Earthquake Response Network (LERN) Gender Working Group for two years and was a member of the New York City Bar Association International Human Rights Committee.


India Panel

Gopika Solanki

Gopika Solanki is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Carleton University, Canada. Her research straddles disciplines of Political Science, Legal Anthropology, Women’s Studies, and Law. Her interests include gender and politics, state-society relations, cultural pluralism and citizenship, legal pluralism and judicial politics, ethnicity, religion and politics, criminal law and governance, and South Asian politics. She is the author of Adjudication in Religious Family Laws: Cultural Accommodation, Legal Pluralism, and Gender Equality in India (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and the co-author of Journey from Violence to Crime: A Study of Domestic Violence in the City of Mumbai. She has contributed to various journals and books.

Rangita de Silva de Alwis (J.D)

Rangita de Silva de Alwis is the Associate Dean for International Programs at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Rangita is an esteemed women’s human rights scholar and practitioner with over 25 years of experience working globally in over 25 countries with a vast network of academic institutions, government, and nongovernment entities on women’s human rights law and policy making and institutional reform.  Prior to joining Penn Law, she was the inaugural director of the Wilson Center’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative and the Women in Public Service Project launched by Secretary Hillary Clinton and the Seven Sisters Colleges.  She has served as an adviser to UNICEF, UN Women, UNFPA, and UNDP.  Rangita has published widely with the World Bank, United Nations, and in various leading law journals. Rangita has a Doctorate in Law (S.J.D.) from Harvard Law School and was a Teaching Fellow with the European Law Research Institute at Harvard Law School, a Research Fellow with the Women and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and a  Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program. She was a Fulbright Specialist with the Asian University of Women, a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at Wellesley College, a Visiting Scholar at Wellesley Centers for Women, and an Honorary Professor of China Women’s University.

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