Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab

with the Roosevelt House Human Rights Program

invite you to attend

Human Rights Philanthropy: Past, Present, and Future Challenges

A Two-Day Conference Presented via Zoom

April 4-5, 2022

There is an urgent need to address the current state of human rights, which remain under attack globally. This conference will serve as a reflection on human rights philanthropy – its role in shaping the human rights movement and a look at current challenges and future directions. Keynote speakers include Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation; and Mark Malloch-Brown, President of the Open Society Foundations.

Day 1: Where Are We Now and How Did We Get Here?

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Opening Remarks
Rita Hauser, Roosevelt House Advisory Board Chair

Keynote Address

  • Michelle Bachelet is the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Ms. Bachelet was the first woman to serve as President of Chile, a post she held on two occasions. She also served as Health Minister as well as Chile’s and Latin America’s first female Defense Minister.

Aryeh Neier, Former President of the Open Society Foundations, in conversation with Gara LaMarche, Former President of Atlantic Philanthropies (by video)


10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Panel 1: The Role of Philanthropy in Shaping the Early Human Rights Movement

  • Dr. Lloyd Axworthy serves as Chair of the World Refugee and Migration Council and previously served as Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. The common thread that runs through Lloyd’s lengthy career in politics, international affairs, and academia is his commitment to defending the rights of marginalized individuals, children, indigenous peoples, and those who inhabit war-torn countries.
  • Jonathan Fanton (Moderator) was chair of Human Rights Watch and Scholars at Risk. He has also served as President of the New School, MacArthur Foundation, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 2009-2014, he held the position of Interim Director of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College. He holds a PhD in History from Yale.
  • Jeri Laber, a founder of Human Rights Watch, has written extensively on human rights issues. Her memoir, The Courage of Strangers: Coming of Age with the Human Rights Movement, describes, among other things, the birth and growth of Human Rights Watch.
  • Vincent McGee is a longstanding foundation executive and donor advisor. He is also active as an advocate for human rights, non-violence, and access to health care. His career has included executive leadership of the Aaron Diamond Foundation and Irene Diamond Fund, and board leadership at the Overbrook Foundation, Tides, the Gagarin Trust, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International USA.
  • Willy Mutunga was Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court, Republic of Kenya, 2011-2016. He worked at the Ford Foundation Eastern Africa Office, 2004-2011. Since the 1970s, he has been involved in human rights, social justice, and transformative politics in Kenya and East Africa. Currently, he is Adjunct Professor of Public Law at Kabarak Law School in Nakuru, Kenya.


2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Panel 2: The Current Challenges Facing Human Rights

  • Martín Abregú is Vice President for International Programs at the Ford Foundation. He works on designing and implementing a vision for the foundation’s work at the global level, seeking to respond to the global drivers of inequality by bringing new voices and perspectives into the international arena.
  • Akwasi Aidoo is a philanthropy professional, human rights and peace advocate, and poet. He is currently a Senior Fellow at Humanity United and was the founding Executive Director of TrustAfrica, a foundation dedicated to promoting equitable development and democracy in Africa.
  • Larry Cox (Moderator) has been working for peace, justice and human rights around the world for more than four decades. He spent 20 years in leadership positions at Amnesty International, including Executive Director of Amnesty International USA and Deputy Secretary General at the world headquarters in London. In 1995 he began an 11-year term as Senior Program Officer for Human Rights at the Ford Foundation, where he initiated programs on international justice, economic, social and cultural rights, and human rights in the United States.
  • Gara LaMarche is a Senior Fellow at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at the City College of the City University of New York, and a Senior Adviser to The Raben Group. After 20 years in leadership positions at the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch, he was Vice President and Director of U.S. Programs for the Open Society Foundations, President of the Atlantic Philanthropies, and President of The Democracy Alliance.
  • Gaby Oré Aguilar is a human rights lawyer working at the intersection of human rights, social justice, and gender equality, focusing particularly on strategies to tackle socio-economic inequalities in contexts of economic crisis and political transition. She is currently a Program Officer with Wellspring Philanthropic Fund.


6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Keynote Conversation with

  • Rita Hauser, Roosevelt House Advisory Board Chair, is president of the Hauser Foundation and chair of the International Peace Institute. She is an international lawyer and has served in several public policy roles, including U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
  • Nicholas Kulish (Moderator) is a correspondent covering philanthropy, foundations and nonprofits for The New York Times. He joined the newspaper as a member of the Editorial Board in 2005 and has also served as Berlin bureau chief, East Africa correspondent and investigative correspondent based in New York. He is the author of a novel, Last One In, and co-author of the nonfiction book The Eternal Nazi.
  • Mark Malloch-Brown is president of the Open Society Foundations, the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights. He has worked to advance human rights, justice, and development for more than four decades in a variety of roles: with the United Nations, the World Bank, and as a British government minister, as well as with a range of civil society groups and business.
  • Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, a $16 billion international social justice philanthropy. Under his leadership, the Ford Foundation became the first non-profit in US history to issue a $1 billion designated social bond to stabilize non-profit organizations in the wake of COVID-19. Before joining Ford, Darren was vice president at Rockefeller Foundation. Previously, he was COO of Harlem’s Abyssinian Development Corporation. Darren co-founded both the US Impact Investing Alliance and the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy.


Day 2: Where Are We Going?

9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Panel 3: How Can Philanthropy Address Emerging Human Rights Issues?

  • Kizito Byenkya (Moderator) is the Director of Campaigns at the Open Society Foundations, based in Washington, D.C. In this role, he helps lead and implement Open Society campaigns, a new method to organize and accelerate impact on advocacy. Previously, he was the Program Officer for Advocacy at Open Society’s Human Rights Initiative, served as Open Society’s U.S. Policy Advisor for Africa, and also led a grant-making portfolio on engaging new allies inside and outside the human rights movement.
  • For two decades, Dr. Kellea Miller has led research, grantmaking, and strategy development at feminist and human rights foundations, including the Global Fund for Women, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, Mama Cash, and UNIFEM/UN Women. Her academic research explores how accountability and power shape funding in multilateral institutions. She is currently Deputy Executive Director for Human Rights Funders Network (HRFN).
  • Regan Ralph is the founding president and CEO of the Fund for Global Human Rights. As a young women’s rights advocate, she embraced the power of human rights to challenge structural inequality and has worked alongside and in support of human rights movements ever since. Since its founding 20 years ago, the Fund has delivered over $120 million in financial support to local human rights advocates all over the world.
  • Mona Sinha is a globally recognized advocate for gender equality in business and society. She is currently the Board Chair of Women Moving Millions, a community of women who fund big and bold ($1 million+) to create a gender equal world. Mona is also co-founder of Raising Change, which develops strategies to close the critical funding gap in mission-driven organizations for social change. Mona received the Impact award for philanthropic leadership from CARE USA in 2021.
  • Duncan Wilson has been Executive Director of the Sigrid Rausing Trust since 2019. He has over 20 years of experience in the human rights field, with the Open Society Foundations, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, and the United Nations.

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Panel 4: What Should the Future of Human Rights Philanthropy Look Like?

  • Gráinne de Búrca is the Florence Ellinwood Allen Professor at NYU Law School and Director of the Hauser Global Law Program. She has written primarily in the fields of European Union and human rights law, and recently published Reframing Human Rights in a Turbulent Era (Oxford University Press, 2021).
  • Hosh Ibrahim serves on the Board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation for African Governance, where he previously worked, and serves on the Global Advisory Board of Sesame Workshop. He is a trustee of the Sigrid Rausing Trust and on the Board of Outright Action International. He is a trustee of The Khartoum Breast Care Centre in Sudan for women’s health. He previously served on the Board to develop the Africa Centre of New York.
  • Dr. Atallah Kuttab is currently the Chairman and Founder of SAANED for Philanthropy Advisory in the Arab Region. He was Middle East regional director at Save the Children and CEO of the Welfare Association that works in Palestine and Lebanon. He co-founded the Arab Human Rights Fund and is a Founding Member of the Arab Foundations Forum. Until early this year, he was the Chair of the Arab Reform Initiative, and he is Chair Emeritus of WINGS.
  • Jessica Neuwirth (Moderator) is the Rita E. Hauser Director of the Human Rights Program at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, Hunter College. She is one of the founders of Equality Now (1992), Donor Direct Action (2011) and the ERA Coalition (2013). She is the author of Equal Means Equal: Why the Time for an Equal Rights Amendment is Now. She has worked for Amnesty International, the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She has also worked for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
  • Chidi Odinkalu is Professor of Practice in International Human Rights Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He previously chaired Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and served on the panel that negotiated the return of The Gambia to the Commonwealth in 2017. He is associated with several advocacy initiatives for the protection of human rights, including the International Refugee Rights Initiative.

Human Rights Philanthropy: Past, Present, and Future Challenges (April 4-5, 2022) | Posted on March 28th, 2022 | Human Rights Program Events, Special Projects and Conferences