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Human Rights Initiative Lecture. "The Indigenous Emergency"

Monday, November 4, 2013
12:00 AM
International Institute-Room 1636

The lecture will explore the complex historic circumstances and political actions that gave rise to the international Indigenous Peoples’ movement through the human rights agenda and thus also produced a global indigenous identity. The interaction between the Indigenous Peoples’ movement-one of the strongest social movements of our times- and the intergovernmental system over the past 40 years has been questioning and impacting on international norms, institutions and major global debates in human rights, political science, international law, development and others. What is the significance of the continuing indigenous emergency in today’s world?

Guest lecturer: Elsa Stamatopoulou, Adjunct Professor, Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race & Department of Anthropology; Director, ?ndigenous Peoples' Rights Program, Institute for the Study of Human Rights. Columbia University.

Born in Athens, Greece, Professor Stamatopoulou has devoted 23 years of her UN work to human rights. Most recently, she directed the work program of the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)–the highest UN body in this area–as its Chief from its inception in 2003 to 2010. In that capacity and while supporting the UNPFII, she also promoted the integration, at international and national levels, of UN policies on indigenous peoples’ issues in the areas of economic and social development, environment, health, human rights, education and culture. She also supervised the production of the first ever State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples publication of the United Nations (2010).

Prof. Stamatopoulou has received various awards for her work, including The Ingrid Washinawatok El Issa O’Peqtaw Metaehmoh-Flying Eagle Woman Peace, Justice and Sovereignty Award; the award of the NGO Committee on the Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples; the Eleanor Roosevelt Award of the Human Rights Center and of Voices 21; and other awards from grassroots organizations. She is a member of human rights NGOs, Co-Chair of the International Commission on the Chittagong Hill Tracts and member of advisory boards of indigenous peoples’ institutions.

She has written extensively on a variety of human rights topics. Her book Cultural Rights in International Law (2007) is a classic on the topic. She has also co-edited The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 50 Years and Beyond (1998) . She has been teaching at Columbia University in New York since 2011 and is also the Director of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Program at Columbia’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights.

She obtained her Law Degree from the University of Athens Law School and entered the Athens Bar Association. She did her Masters studies in the Administration of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University; and her doctoral studies in Political Science and International Law at the Graduate Institute of Studies, University of Geneva.

This event is co-sponsored by the International Institute and the Department of Anthropology.