The Human Rights Program counts on a talented and distinguished group of adjunct faculty. Many of them are not only expert on a range of human rights issues, they have extensive experience as human rights researchers and activists, and bring a wealth of real-world knowledge to their classes.
Our faculty include:
Dr. Joseph Chuman is the leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, NJ. He has worked for decades as an activist on behalf of human rights and civil liberties, and in opposition to the death penalty, as well as other progressive causes. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Humanist, Free Inquiry, Humanistic Judaism and other periodicals. Chuman has taught human rights at several academic institutions, including Columbia University and the United Nations University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica. He received a Ph.D. in religion from Columbia University and a BA from Queens College, CUNY.
Prof. David Hawk is the former Executive Director of Amnesty International-USA and a former UN human rights official. Under the auspices of the Columbia University Center for the Study of Human Rights, Hawk undertook the initial documentation of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia, and he later directed the Cambodia Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Recently specializing in documenting and analyzing the severe repression in North Korea, Hawk has published several notable studies including the path-breaking Hidden Gulag — Exposing North Korea’s Prison Camp System, a report he drafted for the US Committee on Human Rights in North Korea. Hawk was educated at Cornell, Columbia and Oxford Universities, and Union Theological Seminary.
Prof. Habib Nassar has 15 years of experience working on human rights and transitional justice issues in the Middle East and North Africa. He is currently a director at PILnet, a global network for public interest law, where he leads PILnet’s programs in the Middle East and North Africa. Before joining PILnet in October 2012, he worked with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNDP as a senior transitional justice adviser for the Middle East and North Africa. Prior to that, Nassar worked for nearly six years at the International Center for Transitional Justice, first as senior associate in charge of North Africa, and later as director of the ICTJ’s MENA program. Nassar previously worked for several local and international human rights groups, including Human Rights First, in NYC, and the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, in Beirut. Nassar also served as legal advisor and board member of the Committee of the Families of the Abducted and Missing Persons in Lebanon, where he developed a strategy for addressing the problem of the “missing” during the war. He has a LL.M. from New York University School of Law, a post-graduate degree of Advanced Studies (DEA) in international law from Université Paris II, and a law degree from Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut.
Prof. Rona Peligal is the deputy director of the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, where she helps supervise Human Rights Watch’s research on Africa, ensuring the quality and integrity of its investigations and strategizing on advocacy activities to promote human rights reforms in Africa. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Peligal served as vice president of the Near East Foundation, which promotes community-based development in the Middle East and North Africa; conducted a capacity-building project in East Africa with non-governmental organizations working on human rights, women’s rights, and HIV/AIDS; and coordinated an African women’s writing project for The Feminist Press. She received a Ph.D. in African history from Columbia University, where she specialized in women’s studies.
Prof. Abigail Ruane is an award-winning human rights scholar. Her research on the evolution of women’s human rights at the United Nations received the 2011 Best Dissertation Award of the American Political Science Association’s Human Rights Section. Together with Patrick James, Ruane also received the 2009 International Studies Association Misty Gerner Teaching Award, and a book that she wrote with James will be published later this year (The International Relations of Middle-earth: Learning from The Lord of the Rings (University of Michigan Press)). Ruane has published articles in International Studies Perspectives, the Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, and the International Feminist Journal of Politics. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California’s School of International Relations.
Prof. Daniel Wilkinson is the deputy director of the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch. An expert on Latin America, he has conducted fieldwork and advocacy throughout the region, and authored reports on human rights issues in Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, the United States, and Venezuela. Wilkinson’s writings on US policy toward Latin America have been widely published, including in The Nation, the New York Review of Books, and the Washington Post. His book, Silence on the Mountain: Stories of Terror, Betrayal, and Forgetting in Guatemala, won the PEN/Albrand Award for nonfiction. Wilkinson, who speaks fluent Spanish, is a graduate of Yale Law School.