(L) Dean Edward Iacobucci with former IHRP directors Noah Novogrodsky (University of Wyoming College of Law and director, Center for International Human Rights Law & Advocacy) and Renu Mandhane (Ontario Human Rights Commission chief commissioner), IHRP founder Professor Rebecca Cook, former IHRP director Valerie Oosterveld (associate dean of research and graduate studies, Western Faculty of Law) and current IHRP director Samer Muscati
Making history: (L) Dean Edward Iacobucci with former IHRP directors Noah Novogrodsky (University of Wyoming College of Law and director, Center for International Human Rights Law & Advocacy) and Renu Mandhane (Ontario Human Rights Commission chief commissioner), IHRP founder Professor Rebecca Cook, former IHRP director Valerie Oosterveld (associate dean of research and graduate studies, Western Faculty of Law) and current IHRP director Samer Muscati

By Amelia Fung, 2L / Photos by Jorge Martinez

From the Fall/Winter 2017 issue of Nexus

“Impact” was the theme of an evening last fall to celebrate 30 years of the International Human Rights Program at the Faculty of Law. More than 100 distinguished alumni, faculty, students, and sponsors gathered to commemorate the program’s achievements, and take in a photo exhibit depicting the IHRP's work over the past three decades, including covers of reports on the program’s core research issues, such as refugee rights, the rights of women and girls, international criminal justice, counter-terrorism, freedom of expression, and corporate accountability for human rights.

Alumna Renu Mandhane, JD 2001, a former director of the IHRP and now chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, was the keynote speaker.

“You are a testament to the strength of the program and the quality of the students that it attracts,” said Dean Edward Iacobucci in his welcome address to guests, including the many IHRP alumni who continue to support the program. Iacobucci called the IHRP one of the hallmarks of the law school’s focus on international law and policy.

Prof. Rebecca Cook, who founded the IHRP in 1987, said its beginnings were modest, but it has grown tremendously to meet the many human rights challenges facing the world today. The clinic helps train the next generation of globally-focused lawyers to the highest standards of excellence in research, advocacy and professionalism.

Cook said the IHRP helped to build “communities where collaborative learning…and leadership skills…and relevant knowledge have been created” to address the persistence of human rights abuses.

“The IHRP has challenged human rights violations here and abroad by helping to reform laws, policies, and practice through research and advocacy,” said alumnus Samer Muscati, JD 2002, director of the IHRP. The clinic has brought an important international human rights law perspective to cases before the Supreme Court of Canada, assisted Canadians seeking remedies before the UN Human Rights Committee and authored ground-breaking reports that expose human rights abuses both within and outside Canada.

 “What is wonderful about the IHRP is that there are no strict rules about how to do the work. It is a program that parlays passion, creativity, and strategic thinking into impact,” Renu Mandhane commented after her speech, and added she misses the IHRP students’ energy and creativity, which is unparalleled. 

WATCH the video of keynote speaker Renu Mandhane and others on our YouTube page: UTorontoLaw

 

On behalf of the International Human Rights Program, Director Samer Muscati would like to thank event donors Prof. Rebecca Cook and Prof. Bernard Dickens, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Goldblatt Partners LLP, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and Stikeman Elliott LLP. 

Support the IHRP here: http://uoft.me/ihrp30 or contact Samer Muscati at S.Muscati@utoronto.ca. To help the IHRP reach its impact goals, two other supporters have offered to match all donations to a maximum of $30,000, thereby doubling the impact of your donation.