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Fall 2022 Seminar

Strategic Leadership & Advanced Human Rights Advocacy

Required Clinic Component: Either the fall International Human Rights Clinic – 3L Leadership Training with Advanced Seminar or the fall Semester in Human Rights Clinic. Students who are accepted into either of these clinics will be enrolled in this required course by the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs.

Additional Pre-Requisites: Prior semester in the International Human Rights Clinic.

By Permission: Yes.

Add/Drop Deadline: June 2022.

LLM Students: Due to the pre-requisite, LLM students are not eligible to apply.

Placement Site: HLS.

This seminar offers advanced training in strategic human rights advocacy and leadership that builds on themes and skills from the introductory seminars of the International Human Rights Clinic.

Students will explore a variety of strategic considerations that are critical to protecting and promoting human rights, including how to conceptualize and advance human rights agendas that target entrenched, structural challenges; how to mobilize constituencies and collaborate with affected communities to better address power imbalances and ensure sustainable change; and how to develop strategic communication and narratives to maximize impact. Strategic decisions are often integrally tied to ethical questions, and the seminar also examines professional ethics and responsibilities through scenarios based on human rights practitioners’ own experiences.

The students will consider and cultivate the leadership skills necessary for a career in human rights. As part of this leadership development, students are expected to take ownership over their learning in the seminar and to practice their style of leadership within our human rights community. We will discuss various aspects of leadership, including decision-making, backlash, resource mobilization, and concepts such as thought leadership and how identity, including issues of intersectionality, interact with leadership. Students will be encouraged to experiment with different leadership models and to explore the challenges that arise when taking on leadership and making difficult decisions.

Students will work to determine their learning priorities and will develop a tailored individual or team project through which they can examine an area related to their leadership interests. Recent student projects have focused on enhancing human rights in the United States, improving op-ed writing and storytelling, dealing with trauma and creating more sustainable lawyering practices, advancing disability rights, developing strategic and tactical mapping for human rights campaigns, exploring ethical dilemmas arising in fact-finding and interviewing, and bringing community-based participatory action and research to the human rights context.