FRAME Fostering Human Rights Among European Policies




Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University

The Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University (ISHR) was the first academic center in the world to be founded on an interdisciplinary commitment to the study of human rights. It is committed to fostering innovative interdisciplinary academic research, providing excellent human rights education to Columbia students and offering its expertise in capacity building to human rights leaders, organisations, and universities around the world. Recent conferences and research programs at the Institute have examined the impact of human rights programs and policies in comparative perspective and the issues entailed in human rights impact assessment; the role of historical commissions in post-conflict and transitional contexts; conflicts and conversations engendered by shared religious spaces; and the legacy and continuing implications of the US uses of Guantanamo Bay detention facilities. ISHR develops research programmes that are international and interdisciplinary in scope and that promote systematic dialogue among scholars, policy-makers, advocates and donors. In 2010, the Institute launched a pioneering undergraduate major in human rights studies at Columbia College.


Elazar Barkan


Elazar Barkan is a Professor of International and Public Affairs and the Director of the Human Rights Concentration at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. He was the founding director of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation (IHJR) in The Hague. Professor Barkan served on ISHR’s board of directors before becoming ISHR’s co-director in 2007 and director in 2008. Previously, Professor Barkan served as chair of the History Department and the Cultural Studies Department at the Claremont Graduate University, where he was the founding director of the Humanities Center. Professor Barkan is a historian by training and received his PhD from Brandeis University. His research interests focus on human rights and on the role of history in contemporary society and politics and the response to gross historical crimes and injustices. His human rights work seeks to achieve conflict resolution and reconciliation by bringing scholars from two or more sides of a conflict together and employing historical methodology to create shared narratives across political divides.  A recent pertinent article: “Historians and Historical Reconciliation,” (AHR Forum)   American Historical Review, (October 2009). Professor Barkan’s other current research interests include refugee repatriation, comparative analysis of historical commissions, shared sacred sites, and the question of human rights impact, specifically with regard to redress and transitional justice. His recent books include No Return, No Refuge: Rites and Rights in Minority Repatriation (with Howard Adelman, Columbia University Press 2011); The Guilt of Nations: Restitution and Negotiating Historical Injustices (2000); Claiming the Stones/Naming the Bones: Cultural Property and the Negotiation of National and Ethnic Identity, (an edited volume with Ronald Bush, Getty, 2003); and Taking Wrongs Seriously: Apologies and Reconciliation (an edited volume with Alexander Karn, Stanford University Press, 2006).


Yasmine Ergas

Associate Director

Yasmine Ergas is the Associate Director of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights and Adjunct Professor of International Law and International Human Rights Law at the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University. She is currently engaged in a study on The Transnationalization of Everyday Life, Human Rights and the Dilemmas of International Law, which examines such issues as the emergent market in reproductive surrogacy. She is also completing work on the Proceedings of a symposium on Human Rights Impact: General Issues and Sectoral Perspectives. Her previous work includes many published essays, and Nelle maglie della politica: femminismo, istituzioni e politiche sociali nell’Italia degli anni settanta (Milan, 1986). A graduate of the Universities of Sussex and Rome and Columbia Law School, she is a former member of the School of Social Science of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton; fellow of the Center for European Studies at Harvard University; and a Pembroke Fellow of Brown University. Among other honors, she has been awarded fellowships and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Ford Foundation and the Italian Consiglio Nazionale della Ricerca. She has served on the staff of the Social Science Research Council and as a consultant to leading international organizations, including the OECD and UNESCO. She led a working group of the Committee on International Trade of the New York City Bar Association on child labor and international trade. More recently, she served as the coordinator of, and an adviser to, the gender program of the Millennium Village Project. She is an advisor to the Human Rights Commission of the City of New York, a member of the Advisory Board for the Social Sector of the Millennium Cities Initiative, the editorial board of the Journal of Human Rights Practice, the Human Rights Program Education and Information Resources Working Group of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Scientific Council of the Centro di Ricerca sul Sistema Sud e il Mediterrraneo Allargato of Universita’ Cattolica di Milano, and the board of New York City Global Partners. Her work has been published in English, Italian, French, German, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese.


Tonya Lee Putnam

Assistant Professor, Political Science

Tonya Putnam (Ph.D., Stanford, 2005; J.D., Harvard 2002) researches topics at the intersection of international relations and international law. Currently, her primary focus involves explaining the conditions under which U.S. courts have exercised extraterritorial jurisdiction to regulate transnational disputes involving private parties and the implications of these findings for the origins and enforcement of rules in the international system. Her publications have appeared in International Organization, International Security, the Jounrnal of Physical Security and in edited volumes. She was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University and a Fellow and longtime affiliate of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. Professor Putnam is also a member of the California State Bar.