Lectures 2020

Anna-Mária Bíró

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

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 Public Governance and International Studies of the National University of Public Service. He is also senior research associate at the Institute for Minority Studies, Centre for Social 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.


Fernand de Varennes

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.

Ahmed Shaheed

Mr. Ahmed Shaheed assumed his mandate as Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief on 1 November 2016.

Mr. Shaheed is Deputy Director of the Essex Human Rights Centre. He was the first Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran since the termination of the previous Commission on Human Rights mandate in 2002.

A career diplomat, he has twice held the office of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives. He led Maldives’ efforts to embrace international human rights standards between 2003 and 2011.

In 2015, Mr. Shaheed won the UN Foundation Leo Nevas Human Rights (Global Leadership) Award. In 2010, he was granted a Presidential Medal of Gratitude by Albania and in 2009, he was recognized as the Muslim Democrat of the Year by the Centre for the Study of Islam and Democracy.

Marcus Oda

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.

Sejal Parmar

Sejal Parmar is Lecturer at the School of Law and a fellow at the Centre for Freedom of the Media at the University of Sheffield. Her main field of research, policy engagement and teaching is international human rights law, with a particular focus on freedom of expression. Parmar was previously an Assistant Professor at the Department of Legal Studies, a core faculty member of the Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS), and a Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy at the Central European University in Budapest and then Vienna. Before that, she worked as Senior Adviser to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media (on secondment from the now UK Foreign, Development and Commonwealth Office), and as Senior Legal Officer at ARTICLE 19 at its global headquarters in London.

Parmar has published broadly in the field of international human rights law and is currently writing a monograph on Freedom of Expression Under Pressure under contract with Cambridge University Press. She is an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Human Rights. Alongside her academic work, she regularly acts as a consultant and legal expert for a range of intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations. During 2020, she has worked as a consultant for the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect to develop the Detailed Guidance on the implementation of the UN Strategy and Action Plan on Hate Speech and the Guidance Note on Addressing and Countering COVID-19 Related Hate Speech. She has been appointed by the Council of Europe Secretary-General to serve as an independent member of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on Combating Hate Speech (ADI/MSI-DIS). Parmar has taught courses on international and regional human rights law at Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Edinburgh. She has also been an EU-US Fulbright Scholar and Emile Noël Fellow at New York University School of Law, a Marie Curie Fellow at the Amsterdam Centre for International Law and a visiting scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was awarded her LLB (hons) from the LSE and her PhD in Law from the European University Institute, and has been called to the Bar of England and Wales. At the School of Law, Parmar is Deputy Director of the Sheffield Centre for International and European Law, Deputy Director of Research (Impact), and an Associate Member, Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Committee.

Roberta Medda-Windischer

Dr. Roberta Medda-Windischer (LL.M, PhD), Senior Researcher and Group Leader for National Minorities, Migration and Cultural Diversity at the Eurac Research Institute for Minority Rights (Bolzano/Bozen – Italy), is an international lawyer specialised in migration issues, human rights and minority protection. Dr. Medda-Windischer worked as Legal Officer for various international organisations, including the European Court of Human Rights (CoE/ECHR, Strasbourg), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR, BiH), the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE/ODIHR, Albania), and the UN Centre for Human Rights (OHCHR, Geneva). At Eurac Research, her research focuses on the protection of minorities in international law and on new minorities stemming from migration, on which she has authored and edited monographs and multi-authored volumes, and published numerous articles and chapters in edited volumes in Italy and abroad. Her latest publications include Language Rights and Duties for New Minorities: Integration through Diversity Governance (with J. Marko), in Language Policy and Conflict Prevention, eds. I. Ulasiuk, et al., Brill-Nijhoff, 2018, and Extending Protection to Migrant Populations in Europe. Old and New Minorities (co-edited with C. Boulter and T.H. Malloy), Routledge, 2019.

Vivien Brassói

Vivien studied law at Eötvös Loránd University’s Faculty of Law in Budapest. She has acquired a strong foundation in the field of international human rights, which she has strengthened through participation in programmes such as the Roma Graduate Preparation Programme at Central European University, which she recently completed. Prior to joining the ERRC as a legal trainee, Vivien worked in trainee positions at the Romaversitas Foundation, the Autonómia Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations. She joined the ERRC in October 2016. 

Lecia Brooks

Lecia Brooks is the chief of staff for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), where she provides counsel to senior leadership, assists with strategic planning and works with people from across the organization to ensure the SPLC’s success, whether it is achieving long-term goals or maintaining effective daily operations.

Before her current role, Brooks served as the SPLC’s chief workplace transformation officer, where she supported leadership and staff efforts to build a culture of inclusiveness and ensure a continued focus on diversity and equity.

Brooks also previously served as the SPLC’s outreach director, where she traveled across the U.S. and abroad to speak about hate and extremism. Earlier, she was director of the SPLC’s Civil Rights Memorial Center, an interpretive experience designed to provide visitors to the Civil Rights Memorial with a deeper understanding of the civil rights movement.

Brooks, who joined the SPLC in 2004, has a wealth of experience in diversity advocacy training for corporations and nonprofit organizations, including Walmart, Lyft, Pixar, the Salzburg Seminar, and the Newark Public Library.

Teresa Edwards

Teresa Edwards is a Mi’kmaq woman, a member of the Listuguj First Nation, and the mother of three wonderful children. Her traditional name is Young Fire Woman. She has worked for more than twenty years to advance the needs and rights of Aboriginal peoples, with a particular focus on addressing Aboriginal women’s human rights. As a Barrister-at-Law in Ontario, Teresa has worked to identify solutions leading to economic security and prosperity for Aboriginal women, while promoting their safety and well-being, and to increase their participation in leadership, governance and decision-making roles. As a member of Status of Women Canada (SWC), Teresa worked with the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) to secure funding for the Sisters In Spirit initiative, a research, education, and policy initiative aimed at raising public awareness about the growing number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. Working with SWC, and as a Consultant and Legal Counsel representing Aboriginal organizations and governments, Teresa organized the FPT Policy Forum on Aboriginal Women and Violence: Building Safe and Healthy Families and Communities, and was part of the Planning Committee for the two National Aboriginal Women’s Summits held in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Northwest Territories. She currently serves as Director of International Affairs and Human Rights, and as internal Legal Counsel for the NWAC. Teresa has partnered with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Museum of Civilization to host a Symposium on Aboriginal Human Rights on International Human Rights Day, and co-hosted with the Assembly of First Nations the SubRegional Meeting of Indigenous Peoples from North America. She continues to advocate for the rights of Indigenous women at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and works with UN Special Rapporteurs to advance Indigenous human rights generally, and to advance Aboriginal women’s rights

Nighat Dad

Nighat Dad is the Executive Director of Digital Rights Foundation, Pakistan. She is an accomplished lawyer and a human rights activist. Nighat Dad is one of the pioneers who have been campaigning around access to open internet in Pakistan and globally. She has been actively campaigning  and  engaging at a policy level on issues focusing on Internet Freedom, Women and technology, Digital Security and Women’s empowerment. Ms. Dad has been recently included in Next Generation Leaders List by TIME’s magazine for her work on helping women fight online harassment.

Corrine Lennox

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.

Hanna Forster

Hannah Forster is the Executive Director of the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS) based in Banjul, The Gambia (from 2001 to date), a regional institution whose main objective is to build and maintain a human rights movement in Africa to promote greater respect and observance of human rights and fundamental democratic principles. A Gambian, she has been engaged extensively with the African and International Human Rights System and Mechanisms for almost three decades. During her tenure, she has had engaged with the African Union Commission as well as Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Africa. Furthermore, Hannah has worked for and with civil society at the local, national, sub region, regional and international levels for over three decades, prior to this she served in the Ministry of Education, as an educationist and information scientist for over twelve years.
She graduated from the University of Ghana, Legon; Loughborough Technical College and Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, respectively where is received a DipHE and BLS (Hons). She also holds an MA in Human Rights and Conflict Management from Scoula Superieur Sant’Anna, in Pisa, Italy. She has also undertaken internships and training in paralegal services as well as various areas of human rights and specialises in human rights documentation and information handling techniques; human rights education; women’s human rights; child rights, governance and elections.


Dr. Murtaza Shaikh

Dr. Shaikh specialises in online hate speech, minority rights and social media content moderation. He is Co-Director of Averroes, a British Muslim policy think tank and is finalising a publication on ‘Incitement to Religious Hatred and Islamophobia under UK Law and International Law’ (Brill, Nijhoff). Currently he is focusing on regulatory approaches to online user-generated content, in particular the UK Online Harms Bill and Facebook’s new Oversight Board.

His expert insights have been relied on by the late Jo Cox MP, Home Affairs Committee, Law Commission and international human rights mechanisms at the UN and Council of Europe. Previously he advised the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the incitement to religious hatred under international law, assisted in conflict prevention at the Initiative on Quiet Diplomacy and litigated cases with NGOs at the European Court of Human Rights.

He holds a PhD from SOAS on the ‘Protection of Religious Minorities under International Law and Islamic Law’ and an LLM from Essex University in international human rights law.

Paulina Gutierrez

She is the former Digital Rights Programme Officer at ARTICLE19 Mexico and Central America Office, she is an international human rights lawyer and Internet freedom advocate in Latin America. She holds a degree in Law and another one in International Relations, she holds specialisation degrees on privacy, intellectual property and the Inter American Human Rights System. Her professional experience includes twelve years working on human rights policy research, human rights violations legal advisory, freedom of expression and gender issues. During the last four years she designed and developed the digital rights agenda for ARTICLE19 Mexico and Central America Regional Office, including innovative approaches to the study and exercise of Freedom of Expression and Information online. She is also a member of BENETECH’s Human Rights Program Advisory Board.

Dr. Ahmad Amara

Ahmad is a human rights advocate and a graduate of the joint PhD program in History and Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University. Before pursuing his PhD degree on changing property relations under the Ottoman land reform among tribal communities in Southern Palestine, Ahmad served for three years as a clinical instructor and global advocacy fellow with Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program. Amara has a number of publications, on law, history and property rights.