BUFFALO, N.Y. – The immediate past secretary general of
the influential human rights organization Amnesty International
will teach two specialized seminars in human rights this spring at
the University at Buffalo Law School.
Irene Zubaida Khan, who led the 2.2 million-member rights
organization for more than eight years, will conduct the seminars
"Business and Human Rights" and "Poverty and Human Rights" for a
select group of second- and third-year law students. She will come
to UB Law as a visiting professor at the invitation of UB Law Dean
Makau W. Mutua, a well-known and well-connected figure on the
international human rights stage.
"Irene Khan is a giant in the international human rights field,"
said associate professor Tara J. Melish, who directs the UB Law
School's Human Rights Center. "Through her stewardship of Amnesty
International over the last decade, she has helped transition the
international human rights movement toward its next necessary phase
-- one focused on voice, powerlessness and accountability to the
poor. The opportunity to learn directly from her vast firsthand
experience and expertise will be a highlight for every student in
UB Law School's human rights program. We are both thrilled and
honored to have her join us."
Khan's "Business and Human Rights" seminar will focus on the
notion of corporate accountability for human rights, an emerging
area of international law. Students will learn about the rapidly
expanding scope and power of multinational corporations and efforts
by activists and civil society members to hold them accountable for
human rights violations.
Students in the "Poverty and Human Rights" seminar will draw
from Khan's wide experience as they study the application of
international human rights law to public policy initiatives
designed to address the issue of poverty in the developing world.
According to the course description, "The aim of the seminar is to
generate a critical discussion around moral and legal issues
relating to poverty, such as inequality, social justice, power and
social change, what impoverishes people and keeps them poor, and
how effective is the response of international human rights law and
institutions to grass-roots action to fight poverty as well as
international development policies and strategies."
At Amnesty International, Khan expanded the organization's
vision, strategy and operations globally to encompass economic,
social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights,
with particular emphasis on the human rights of women and girls.
She expanded the group's presence in Africa, Asia and Latin
America, and also led high-level missions to over 40 countries,
engaging directly with heads of state and government leaders as
well as with the United Nations, Arab League, European Commission,
Council of Europe and Inter-Parliamentary Union. During her tenure,
Amnesty's membership and income doubled.
Since completing her work with the group in December 2009, Khan
has worked as an adviser to several international organizations and
institutions in Bangladesh, her home country, on women's human
rights, democracy and development projects. She is a 1979 graduate
of Harvard Law School.
Since its founding in 1887, the University at Buffalo Law School
– the State University of New York system's only law school
– has established an excellent reputation and is widely
regarded as a leader in legal education. Its cutting-edge
curriculum provides both a strong theoretical foundation and the
practical tools graduates need to succeed in a competitive
marketplace, wherever they choose to practice. A special emphasis
on interdisciplinary studies, public service and opportunities for
hands-on clinical education makes UB Law unique among the nation's
premier public law schools.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public
university, a flagship institution in the State University of New
York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's
more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through
more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree
programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of
the Association of American Universities.