Lectures 2021

Lecturer Biographies

Anna-Mária Biró, Tom Lantos Institute

Anna-Mária Biró, Tom Lantos Institute
Anna-Mária Bíró is the Director of the Tom Lantos Institute, an international human and minority rights organization focusing on research and education based in Budapest, Hungary. In 2007-2011, Anna-Mária was a senior consultant to the Managing Multiethnic Communities Programme of LGI/Open Society Foundations and she was the director of the course “Incorporating Ethnocultural Diversity into the Teaching of Public Administration” organised by the Central European University. Prior to this, she directed the Europe Office of Minority Rights Group International (MRG) for eight years. She has also worked as the Advisor on Minority Affairs at the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and as an Advisor on International Relations to the President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania. Anna-Mária holds an M.Sc. in Public Administration and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and a PhD in political sciences from the Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Law and Political Science, Budapest, Hungary. Among others, Anna-Mária is co-editor of Diversity in Action: Local Public Management of Multi-ethnic Communities in Central and Eastern Europe (LGI/OSI, 2001) and co-author of Minority Rights Advocacy in the European Union: A Guide for NGOs in South-East Europe (MRG, London, 2006). In 2011 she co-edited with Corinne Lennox volume 18(2) of the International Journal on Minority and Group Rights on civil society contributions to the international regime of minority protection. From 2018 she is Editor-in-Chief of the series International Studies in Human Rights and Identity published by Brill/Nijhoff Academic Publishers.


Balázs Vizi, National University of Public Service

Graduated in law at the Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest), he received PhD in political science from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) in 2006. He has specialized in international human and minority rights law. He is associate professor, head of department at the Department of International Law, Faculty of International and European Studies of the National University of Public Service. He is also senior research associate at the Institute for Minority Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Senior Non-Resident Research Associate at the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI, Flensburg). Balázs Vizi is author of several publications on minority issues in the context of the European Union and co-editor of several books on minority rights protection.


Corinne Lennox, Human Rights Consortium, School of Advanced Study, University of London

Dr Corinne Lennox is Co-Director of the Human Rights Consortium. She is a Senior Lecturer in Human Rights at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and convenes the MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights.
Her research focuses on issues of minority and indigenous rights protection, civil society mobilisation for human rights, and human rights and development. She has worked for many years as a human rights consultant and trainer, including at Minority Rights Group International, the UNDP and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.


Zsofia Farkas, Minority Rights Group Europe

Zsófia has been working on minority rights protection in the EU new Member States, the Western Balkan, Central Asia, Eastern Partnership countries and Russia for 6 years. As a Regional Director, she is responsible for European and international advocacy at the UN, OSCE and Council of Europe.


Murtaza Shaikh, Special Advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues

Dr Murtaza Shaikh specialises in online hate speech, minority rights and social media content regulation and moderation. He is Senior Advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues and is helping develop “Effective Guidelines on Hate Speech, Social Media and Minorities”.


John Packer, University of Ottawa

John Packer is Neuberger-Jesin Professor of International Conflict Resolution in the Faculty of Law and Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa. He previously taught at the Fletcher School (Tufts University, USA) and the University of Essex (UK), held Fellowships at Cambridge and Harvard Universities, and has lectured at academic and professional institutions around the world. Over his 30-year career, he was an inter-governmental official for 20 years (UNHCR, ILO, OHCHR, UNDPA, OSCE) and has advised numerous governments, communities and other actors in over fifty countries. As a UN staff member in the early 1990s, he investigated serious violations of human rights in Iraq, Afghanistan and Burma/Myanmar.
From 1995 to 2004, he was Senior Legal Adviser then the first Director of the Office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). In 2012-2014, he was the Constitutions and Process Design Expert on the UN’s Standby Team of Mediation Experts and continues to advise UNDPPA in a number of situations.
The focus of his research and practice is at the inter-section of human rights (including minority rights) and security, notably conflict prevention and quiet diplomacy, international mediation, transitional arrangements, and institutional developments at domestic and multilateral levels.


Brendan O’Leary, University of Pennsylvania

Prof Brendan O’Leary is a Lauder Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He has authored, co-authored and co-edited 22 books; and authored or co-authored over 120 articles or chapters in peer-reviewed journals and university presses, and he has engaged with myriad other forms of publication. O’Leary has served as a political and constitutional advisor to the United Nations, the European Union, the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq, the Governments of the UK and Ireland, and to the British Labour Party during the Irish peace process. He is the recipient of many academic honors among them are the 2010 Harrison Prize for best paper published in Political Studies (received for a paper he co-authored with Dr Paul Mitchell and Professor Geoffrey Evans), the inaugural Juan Linz Prize of the International Political Science Association, and most recently he and his regular co-author Professor John McGarry jointly received the ENMISA Distinguished Scholar Award of the International Studies Association. His research interests include but are not limited to power-sharing systems, nationalism, violence in divided societies, democracy, despotisms, populism, and the crises of the European Union. He has a BA Honours from the University of Oxford in Philosophy, Politics and Economics as well as a PhD in Political Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science. His PhD thesis received the Robert McKenzie Memorial Prize for the best PhD at LSE presented in 1988.


Mohammad Shahabuddin, University of Birmingham

Professor Mohammad Shahabuddin teaches and researches in international law and human rights with special focus on the history and theory of international law, ethnicity and nationalism, and human rights. His teaching and research is informed by critical, postcolonial, and TWAIL (Third World Approaches to International Law) scholarship. He is the author of Ethnicity and International Law: Histories, Politics and Practices(Cambridge University Press, 2016) and Minorities and the Making of Postcolonial States in International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2021). The latter is part of the prestigious Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law series. He is also the editor of the seminal volume Bangladesh and International Law (Routledge, 2021) and an Editorial Board member of the Asian Journal of International Law. Shahab is a recipient of the Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (2018-2020) and the Japan Foundation Fellowship (2016). He was Deputy Head of Birmingham Law School (Staffing and Strategy) in 2020-2021.


Fernand de Varennes, UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues

Dr Fernand de Varennes completed his law degrees in Canada (LLB, Moncton), the United Kingdom (LLM, London School of Economics and Political Science), and the Netherlands (Dr Juris, Maastricht). He is the former Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Université de Moncton (Canada), Extraordinary Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Pretoria (South Africa), and from 2019 Cheng Yu Tung Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong (China). He also holds the mandate of United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues. He is renown as one of the world’s leading experts on the international human rights of minorities with more than 200 publications in some 30 languages and has focused particularly on issues surrounding languages. He was also as Editor-in-Chief of the Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights
and the Law and has worked and written in areas of international law such as the prevention of ethnic conflicts, the rights of migrants, the relationship between ethnicity, human rights and democracies.


Edin Hodzic, OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Dr Edin Hodžić currently acts as Director and Head of the Public Law Program at Center for Social Research Analitika, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is also an Associate Fellow at the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, McGill University. His primary research interests include international law, international human rights law, and constitutional law, with a particular focus on theory and practice of collective and minority rights, legal aspects of democratic transitions and transitional justice in general. In the past, he was an editor and the Editor-in-Chief of the “Pulse of Democracy”, a bi-monthly online magazine. He has also worked as a researcher and analyst at the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has acted as a consultant for a number of national and international organisations, in addition to leading or participating in various research projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region, and publishing a number of articles, books and reports on topics pertaining to his expertise. Hodžić holds a doctoral degree in international and comparative law from the Institute of Comparative Law, Faculty of Law at McGill University. Hodžić has also obtained a Master’s Degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford, and graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Sarajevo.


Marcus Oda, Tom Lantos Institute

Marcus Oda joined the Tom Lantos Institute in 2018 as the Programme Manager for Human Rights & Identity. Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, Marcus holds a Bachelor’s degree in French Literature from Yale University and a Juris Doctorate from New York University. While at NYU, Marcus’ studies focused on international human rights law, minority rights, and international criminal law. He also served on the editorial board of the Journal of International Law and Politics. Marcus began his career as an intern first at the Public Interest Law Network in Budapest, Hungary, and then at the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He was awarded the Arthur Helton Global Human Rights Fellowship, which gave him the opportunity to conduct advocacy work and legal research at the Russian LGBT Network in St. Petersburg, Russia. Marcus continued to work in the post-Soviet Union region as a Program & Advocacy Officer at the Eurasian Coalition on Male Health in Tallinn, Estonia, where he was responsible for managing legal and advocacy programs aimed at protecting LGBT rights and ensuring access to health services in countries of the region. Marcus speaks English, French, Russian, Hungarian, and Italian.


Evelin Verhás, Tom Lantos Institute

Evelin Verhás joined the Tom Lantos Institute in October 2016 and has been the Head of Programmes since January 2017. Evelin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master’s degree in Human Rights from the London School of Economics. Her graduate studies focused on international human rights law, transitional justice
and international criminal law. Evelin began her career working as an intern at Minority Rights Group Europe in Budapest and Amnesty International in London. From 2010 to September 2016, she worked at Minority Rights Group International (MRG) in London, first as a member of the conflict prevention team and then as a legal officer. She was responsible for delivering projects aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of minority communities in Europe, East-Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, and South-East Asia by strengthening their voices at the national and international levels through advocacy and litigation, and by building their capacity at the grassroots level through training. From 2013 to 2016, Evelin coordinated MRG’s anti-discrimination project in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and worked on the implementation of the ground-breaking judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Sejdić and Finci v. BiH, which addressed constitutionally entrenched discrimination against minorities. Evelin speaks English and Hungarian.


Lottie Cunningham, Center for Justice and Human Rights of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua

Lottie Cunningham Wren is a lawyer from the Miskito indigenous people defending the rights of indigenous peoples and Afrodescendant in Nicaragua to their land and resources. Founder of the Center for Justice and Human Rights of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua, CEJUDHCAN. She has been ensuring legal protections, including initiating the process of demarcation and titling of indigenous lands in Nicaragua. Also fought to uphold the human rights of indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants, protecting them and their livelihoods from armed settlers. Through the use of international and domestic law, she has secured indigenous land rights in Nicaragua, using legal strategies that have been successfully by indigenous communities to demarcate their lands.


Farah Mihlar, University of Exeter

Farah Mihlar’s research and teaching interests are in conflict, religion and justice. She studies how war-survivors and ‘victims’ understand justice in post-war contexts and how through everyday acts of resistance they try to challenge international norms and application of transitional justice. She is particularly interested in studying how women war survivors and ‘victims’ demand justice for wartime atrocities. Much of her field research is on Sri Lanka but she is looking to expand her work to other conflict affected areas in South Asia.
Her other area of research is on religion in a minority context, where she has studied and published on Islam in Sri Lanka. She is currently researching on how religious actors in Sri Lanka and Nepal define and articulate justice and how this is negotiated in relation to peace building.
Prior to joining the University of Exeter, she had a long career working in conflict prevention and international human rights. Working for the UN and international organisations, she has conducted
research and implemented projects in South Asia, East Africa, Isreal and Palestine and Cyprus. She has also lobbied and worked on securing UN resolutions at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.


Mohamed Diatta, Institute for Security Studies-Africa

Mohamed M Diatta joined the ISS in 2018 as a researcher for the Peace and Security (PSC) Report team. Before joining ISS, he taught political science and international relations at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po). Mohamed’s research areas include peace and security, state building, governance, democracy, and African regional organisations. He holds a PhD in political science and international relations from Sciences Po Paris.


Betilde Munoz-Pogossian, Organization of American States

Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian is Director of the Department of Social Inclusion at the Organization of American States (OAS). For more than 15 years, she has led missions, programs, and projects and conducted research on issues of democracy and elections, and equity and social inclusion, among others. At the Department of Social Inclusion, Muñoz-Pogossian leads work on the inclusion of populations in vulnerable situations and on the promotion of the full exercise of their human rights. Among her responsibilities, she directs work on migration and refugees in support of the OAS Secretary General and the Member States.
Dr. Muñoz-Pogossian holds a PhD in political science from Florida International University, Miami, and a master’s degree in international relations from the University of South Florida, Tampa. She is the author of various academic publications and opinion columns on issues of democracy, human rights, migration and refugees, gender equity and social inclusion, among other topics.