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Global Institute for Human Rights - Summer ’17

The Penn Law Global Institute for Human Rights convenes leaders in the human rights field to educate the next generation of human rights scholars and practitioners. 

              2016 Institute students from Spain at the United Nations2016 Institute students from Spain at the United Nations

The Global Institute for Human Rights is an immersive one-week course of study aimed at undergraduate and graduate students interested in human rights. The goals of the institute are three-fold - (1) to introduce students to a rigorous study of human rights theory, (2) to explore current and pressing human rights issues, and (3) to expose future proponents of human rights to possible careers in human rights advocacy. 

The human rights discourse has inspired domestic and transnational movements that have played a role in the creation of important domestic and international human rights norms. Human rights are now a cornerstone of foreign policy, nation building, and good governance. The Institute will examine the theory and practice of human rights - treaties, cases, and institutions - from a comparative law perspective, emphasizing key issues in contemporary human rights. 

The 2017 Institute will be held from May 22-26 in New York, NY at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom, one of the premier international law firms in the world. The focus of this year’s program will be refugee rights, women’s rights, and human rights and business. The final day of the Institute will take place at the United Nations, where students will make policy presentations and hear additional lectures from U.N. human rights practitioners.

The program fee for the 2017 Institute will be $1,950.  

Rangita de Silva de Alwis 
Academic Director

Note from the Academic Director

“Securing the protection and promotion of human rights globally remains one of the major challenges of the 21st century. Notwithstanding the significant advances in international human rights norms, systemic discrimination and inequality remain pervasive and is often referred to as the unfinished business of the 21st century. The Penn Law Global Institute will critically examine three rapidly developing areas of the international human rights system: 1) the human rights system as it relates to the protection and promotion of women in peace and as a powerful tool in countering violent extremism; 2) the intersectionality of human rights in the area of business and human rights; and 3) the growing global crisis relating to the movement of migrants and refugees around the world.”  

Program Schedule

Subject to Change

May 22 – May 26, 2017

  Critical Debates on Women’s Human Rights Critical Debates on Women’s Human Rights Migrant & Refugee Rights Business & Human Rights Site Visit to the United Nations

Morning Session


(9:00am -10:30am)
Program Introductions Women, Peace & Security: A Transformative Agenda Migrant & Refugee Rights: Overview & Fundamentals  Shaping the Global Guidelines on Business & Human Rights The History of Human Rights at the UN
Instructors  Cheryl Hardy, Hagana Kim & Rangita de Silva de Alwis Rangita de Silva de Alwis  Sarah Paoletti, Penn Law Ursula Wynhoven, OHCHR Antonio Cisneros, OHCHR

Morning Session


Critical Norms of  International Women’s Human Rights & CEDAW Pressing Challenges of Women’s Human Rights: Child Marriage Refugee Protection: A Case Study from the Field   Business and Human Rights: Theory in Action and Chellenges in the Field Certificate Ceremony & Lunch at the UN Delegates Lounge 


Rangita de Silva de Alwis  Rangita de Silva de Alwis & Pinky Mehta, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP  Natasha Arnpriester, Human Rights First   Robert Cusumano & Nicola Port, Chubb   United Nations 

Afternoon Session


(1:30pm -3:00pm)

Critical Norms of International Women’s Human Rights & its Intersectionalities Pressing Challenges of Women’s Human Rights: Honor Crimes Burgeoning Challenges in Labor Trafficking:  David et al. v. Signal International LLC    Anticorruption, the Rule of Law & Business    Tour of the United Nations 
Instructors   Rangita de Silva de Alwis   Rangita de Silva de Alwis Eben Colby, Skadden Arps  Robert Cusumano & Ariel Meyerstein, Citi  United Nations 

Afternoon Session


Gender & the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs   Pressing Challenges of Women’s Human Rights: Acid Crimes  The Ongoing Battle for Political Asylum: Human & Legal Challenges    Anticorruption, the Rule of Law & Business   
 Instructors   Rangita de Silva de Alwis, Paloma Duran, UN SDG Fund & Akiko Ito, UN   Rangita de Silva de Alwis & Farahnaz Ispahani, Woodrow Wilson Center Elena Coyle, Skadden Arps  Robert Cusumano & Ariel Meyerstein, Citi   



Lecturers from the 2016 Institute

Lopa Banerjee

Chief of the Civil Society Section at UN Women

Lopa Banerjee is the Chief of the Civil Society Section at UN Women. She is based in New York and leads UN Women’s work on strengthening civil society contribution, participation and influence in the global, intergovernmental policy discussion and decision processes.

 A gender and human rights thematic expert with substantive experience in social policy and governance issues across Asia and Africa, Lopa has worked for over 3 decades in international development, policy advocacy, communication and partnership building, across the UN and in the private sector.

Lopa Banerjee has had more than a decade-long career with the United Nations. Prior to the UN she worked with the private sector as well as with civil society, in India. Before joining UN Women, Lopa worked with UNDP and OHCHR in South Africa and UNICEF in Iran (the Islamic Republic of), Bangladesh and New York. In India, Lopa worked for several years in communication, research and advocacy


William Burke-White

Richard Perry Professor and Inaugural Director, Perry World House; Professor of Law at Penn Law

William Burke-White, an expert on international law and global governance, served in the Obama Administration from 2009-2011 on Secretary Clinton’s Policy Planning Staff, providing the Secretary direct policy advice on multilateral diplomacy and international institutions. He was principal drafter of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), Secretary Clinton’s hallmark foreign policy and institutional reform effort. Burke-White has written extensively in the fields of international law and institutions, with focus on international criminal and international economic law. His work has addressed issues of post-conflict justice; the International Criminal Court; international human rights, and international arbitration. His current research explores gaps in the global governance system and the challenges of international legal regulation in a world of rising powers and divergent interests. In 2008 he received the A. Leo Levin Award and in 2007 the Robert A. Gorman award for Excellence in Teaching.


Andrea Matačić Cayley

Associate Director, Legal Education 

Andrea Matačić Cayley was the Senior Researcher for the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia from 1995 until 2008.  Her work included establishing the criminal liability of leadership figures including Slobodan Milosevic.  From 2008-2014, she worked for the United Nations in Bosnia, Croatia, and Cambodia on issues of human rights and war crimes prosecutions.  She holds a JD, MA in Slavic Studies and is working towards a Doctorate in International law. She has written on the uses of national laws in war crimes prosecutions and is currently working on a study of the International Criminal Tribunal’s prosecution of sexual violence and the effects on its victims. 


Fernando Chang-Muy

Thomas O’Boyle Lecturer in Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Fernando Chang-Muy is the Thomas O’Boyle Lecturer in Law at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, where he teaches Refugee Law and Policy. In addition, at the Graduate School of Social Policy and Practice, he lectures on Immigration and Social Work, and on Organizational Effectiveness, in the Executive Education Program, with a focus on strategic planning, board governance, staff communications, and resource development. He is former Assistant Dean and Equal Opportunity Officer at Swarthmore College, where he also taught International Human Rights.

Drawing upon his experience in law, refugee camp administration, and philanthropy, he builds capacity and increases effectiveness through consulting support, coaching, and training to government agencies, local and national philanthropic institutions, social service agencies, and cultural organizations. His areas of expertise include designing and facilitating large group, task-focused strategic planning, board governance, staff internal communications and performance, and resource development (with a focus on individual donor campaigns). His facilitation skills, combining retreat, meeting design, and planning bring together disparate interests to improve the communities served. Recent clients include the United Nations-UNAIDS, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Aging, and the City of Philadelphia’s Law and Health Departments. He has directed several philanthropic collaboratives aimed at strengthening immigrant serving non profits (Emma Lazarus Collaborative) and Latino serving non profits (Hispanics in Philanthropy Collaborative).

Founding director of the Liberty Center for Survivors of Torture, a federally funded project. From 1988 to 1993, he served as Legal Officer with two United Nations agencies: the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) and the World Health Organization (WHO), serving as the human rights officer for its Global Program on AIDS.

He has served as former Program Officer at The Philadelphia Foundation, and past coordinator of two funding collaborative: the Emma Lazarus Collaborative, a funding collaborative that, through matching grants from the Open Society Institute, supported non-profit organizations providing service and advocacy for immigrants and refugees; and Funders Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities, awarding grants to Latino led organizations. Before joining the UN, he was a staff attorney at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia where he served as Director of the Southeast Asian Refugee Project, managing the provision of free legal aid to low-income people in Philadelphia.

In July 2008, Mayor Michael Nutter appointed him to serve as a Commissioner of the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission

He is a graduate of Loyola, B.A, Georgetown M.A., Antioch, J.D. and Harvard Law School’s Negotiation Program. He is the author of numerous articles dealing with immigration, refugee rights, and public health and is co-editor of the newly published manual: Social Work with Immigrants and Refugees: Legal issues, Clinical Skills and Advocacy (Springer, 2008).


Antonio M. Cisneros de Alencar

Human Rights Officer, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Antonio Cisneros de Alencar (Bolivia) is the Gender and Women’s Rights Adviser at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ (OHCHR) Office in New York.

Prior to this, Mr. Cisneros was a Human Rights Policy Specialist for the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) advising United Nations Country Teams on integrating human rights into their work, and before that he was the OHCHR’s Programme Coordinator in Guatemala, where he helped establish an innovative strategic litigation program for Indigenous Peoples.

Mr. Cisneros has worked with the United Nations for over sixteen years now; in New York, in Geneva and in the field; assisting countries in the integration of international human rights norms, including those related to indigenous peoples’ rights, into various national plans and programs; from ensuring an effective police reform in Nicaragua, to defusing the potential of inter-ethnic conflict in Guyana; from aiding the investigation of extrajudicial executions in Jamaica, to defining a human rights-based disarmament policy in Venezuela, and increasing engagement with human rights mechanisms in the United States. Mr. Cisneros helped OHCHR establish its Regional Office for Central America based in Panama, and Country Offices in Mexico and Guatemala.

Mr. Cisneros holds a Master’s degree in Development Studies from the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in Mexico, and Bachelor’s degrees in Communications and in Latin American Studies from the University of Florida, in the United States. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights.


Cary Coglianese

Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science; Director, Penn Program on Regulation

Cary Coglianese is the Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, where he currently serves as the director of the Penn Program on Regulation and has served as the law school’s Deputy Dean for Academic Affairs.  He specializes in the study of regulation and regulatory processes, with an emphasis on the empirical evaluation of alternative regulatory strategies and the role of public participation, negotiation, and business-government relations in policy making. His most recent books include: Does Regulation Kill Jobs?; Regulatory Breakdown: The Crisis of Confidence in U.S. Regulation; Import Safety: Regulatory Governance in the Global Economy; and Regulation and Regulatory Processes.  Prior to joining Penn Law, Coglianese spent a dozen years on the faculty at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He also has taught as a visiting law professor at Stanford and Vanderbilt, founded the Law & Society Association’s international collaborative research network on regulatory governance, served as a founding editor of the peer-reviewed journal Regulation & Governance, and created and now advises the daily production of  A co-chair of the American Bar Association’s administrative law section committee on e-government and past co-chair of its committee on rulemaking, he has led a National Science Foundation initiative on e-rulemaking, served on the ABA’s task force on improving Regulations.Gov, and chaired a task force on transparency and public participation in the regulatory process that offered a blueprint to the Obama Administration on open government. He has served as a consultant to the Administrative Conference of the United States, Environment Canada, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Jacques deLisle

Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law & Professor of Political Science; Director, Center for East Asian Studies at Penn Law

Jacques deLisle’s research and teaching focus on contemporary Chinese law and politics, including: legal reform and its relationship to economic reform and political change in China, the international status of Taiwan and cross-Strait relations, China’s engagement with the international order, legal and political issues in Hong Kong under Chinese rule, and U.S.-China relations. His writings on these subjects appear in a variety of fora, including international relations journals, edited volumes of multidisciplinary scholarship, and Asian studies journals, as well as law reviews. DeLisle is also professor of political science, director of the Center for East Asian Studies at Penn, deputy director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China and director of the Asia Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He has served frequently as an expert witness on issues of P.R.C. law and government policies and is a consultant, lecturer and advisor to legal reform, development and education programs, primarily in China.


Rangita de Silva de Alwis

Associate Dean for International Programs at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Rangita de Silva de Alwis is the Associate Dean of International Affairs at University of Pennsylvania Law School. She teaches International Women’s Human Rights Law. At Penn Law she has developed partnerships with OHCHR, UN Women and UNESCO and other multinational organizations.  Before coming to Penn Law, she was the inaugural director of the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative and the Women in Public Service Project launched by Secretary Hillary Clinton and the Seven Sisters Colleges at Wellesley College which then moved to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

 Rangita is a women’s human rights scholar and practitioner with over 25 years of experience working globally in over 25 countries with a vast network of academic institutions, government, and nongovernment entities on women’s human rights law and policy making and institutional reform. She has convened several transnational networks including the Women’s Leadership Network in Muslim Communities, the Asia Cause Lawyer Network in India, and the Gender and Law Expert Group and the Women’s Watch in China. She has worked over 15 years  with Chinese gender and law experts and academics and has testified  twice before the Congressional Executive Commission on China on the  status of women’s rights in China. She has advised UNICEF, UN Women, UNFPA, and UNDP on state accountability under the relevant human rights treaties and the intersections of the different treaties and treaty bodies. She has lectured at Yale Law School and spoken around the world on gender based law reform. She has published widely with the United Nations, and in various leading law journals including with Yale Journal of Law and Feminism; Texas Journal of Gender and the Law; University of Pennsylvania East Asia Law Journal; Duke Journal of Gender and the Law; UCLA Pacific Rim Journal; UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Relations, Michigan Journal of International Law, University of Washington International Law Journal, and University of Pennsylvania International Law Journal.

 Most recently, she developed a Gender Supplement to the U.N. Secretary General’s Guidelines on Disability, and a report to the World Bank on Women’s Voice and Agency. Her latest work has been on Gender and Disability Lawmaking for UN DESA. Her paper on Women and Constitution- making in Tunisia is to be published by the Berkeley Journal of International Law, and Women and the Reform of Personal Laws in India to be published by the NYU Journal of International Law and Policy.

 Rangita has a LL.M and S.J.D. from Harvard Law School and was a Teaching Fellow with the European Law Research Institute at Harvard Law School, a Research Fellow with the Women and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program. She was a Fulbright Specialist with the Asian University of Women, a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at Wellesley College, and a Visiting Scholar at Wellesley Centers for Women, a Salzburg Global Fellow and an Honorary Professor of China Women’s University. She has received many recognitions for her work on international women’s human rights. Most recently she was honored by Harvard Law School as a Woman Inspiring Change, Women’s International Day, and March 2015. She serves on several Boards including the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law, Brain and Behavior at Harvard University and is a trustee of the Harpswell Foundation.


Beatrice Duncan

Justice and Constitutional Advisor, UN Women

Beatrice Duncan is a gender and child law and human rights specialist. She currently serves as the constitutional and access to justice advisor for UN women as well as the organization’s focal point for indigenous women and LGBTI issues.  Her work involves designing technical tools and providing guidance to UN Women field offices, governments and civil society organizations on a range of issues in these areas of work.  She began her career in her native country, Ghana, as a Legal Aid Officer with the Ghana Legal Aid Board and also as a member of the Ghana Chapter of the Federation of International Women Lawyers and Women in Law and Development with emphasis on providing legal aid to indigent women and children.  While in Ghana, she also served as the Programme Officer for the Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Initiative, a tripartite exercise between government, Civil Society and the World Bank with the aim of assessing the impact of Structural Adjustment Programmes on 15 countries in different regions of the world.  Within the UN system, her work experience has also been with UNICEF Ghana, as Chief of Child Protection; the African Centre for Gender and Social Development of the Economic Commission for Africa, as a Gender Officer; and UNICEF New York as a Human Rights Specialist.  Her work experience has led her to support law reform, tracking of jurisprudence, research, advocacy and policy development in the fields of women’s land rights, inheritance, marital property and violence against women and children, while at the same time publishing in these areas. During her tenure at the UNECA she was responsible for the revision and roll out of the African Gender and Development Index and its accompanying African Women’s Report and, quite recently at UN Women, she also led efforts at the revision and roll out of the Global Gender Equality Constitutional Database. She is a product of the University of Ghana (LLB), Georgetown University (LLM) and Birmingham University (PhD).


Gabriela Femenia

Foreign and International Law, Foreign and International Law Librarian

 Gabriela Femenia is the Foreign and International Law Librarian at the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Biddle Law Library. She received her M.L.I.S. from the University of Washington in 2009 and her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000.  In addition, she holds degrees in History from the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard University.  Gabriela practiced intellectual property law in California and worked as an academic administrator in international programs before entering law librarianship.  As Foreign and International Law Librarian at Penn Law, she is responsible for providing international law reference services, overseeing collection development for international and foreign law materials, and teaching a specialized seminar on foreign and international legal research.


Amy E. Gadsden, Ph.D.

Executive Director for Global Initiatives

As Executive Director for Penn Global, Amy Gadsden works with Penn’s schools and centers to develop and implement strategies to increase Penn’s global engagement both on campus and overseas.  She oversees Penn Global’s reporting offices, including International Student and Scholar Services, Penn Abroad, Global Support Services, and Perry World House, which will open its doors on campus in Summer 2016, and the Provost’s Global Engagement Fund, which supports cutting edge, interdisciplinary research on important global issues. In 2016, Dr. Gadsden was named executive director of Penn China Initiatives to coordinate and develop University strategy and activity in China.  In this role she works closely with the Penn Wharton China Center and directs the Penn China Research and Engagement Fund.

Prior to joining the Provost’s Office, Dr. Gadsden spent five years as Associate Dean for International and Strategic Initiatives at Penn Law, where she built a comprehensive program aimed at expanding the Law School’s global curriculum, professional development opportunities, and reputation and managed cross-disciplinary programs.  She established or expanded all of Penn Law’s signature international programs, including the Global Research Seminar, the Bok Visiting Professors Program, and the Penn Law International Internship and Summer Human Rights Fellows Programs.  She also played a key role in building Penn Law’s cross disciplinary programs, pioneering new initiatives in law and technology and law and health. As an adjunct faculty member, Dr. Gadsden taught seminars in international human rights and rule of law.

Before coming to Penn, Dr. Gadsden spent more than a decade working in the foreign policy field with a focus on China.  She served as a Country Director for the International Republican Institute and as a Special Advisor for China at the United States Department of State.  She has published several articles on democracy and human rights in China, documenting changes in legal and civil society reform.  Dr. Gadsden was one of the first American scholars to observe and write about grassroots elections in the PRC in the mid-1990s.   Dr. Gadsden has also consulted for the Pew Charitable Trusts, the United Nations Development Programme, and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  She holds a B.A. from Yale College and a Ph.D. in Chinese legal history from the University of Pennsylvania.


Jean Galbraith

Assistant Professor of Law

Jean Galbraith is a scholar of U.S. foreign relations law and public international law.  Her work focuses on the allocation of legal authority among U.S. governmental actors and, at the international level, between domestic actors and international regimes.  She has published in the Cornell Law Review, the Virginia Law Review, and numerous international law journals.


Linda Manaka Infante Suruta

Former Human Rights and Legal Adviser to the United Nations Country Teams in Venezuela and Guatemala

Ms. Linda Manaka Infante Suruta, of the Baniva peoples of the Amazonian region of Venezuela, earned her law degree Summa Cum Laude from the Universidad de Carabobo in Valencia, Venezuela. She continued her studies in human rights at the Deusto University in Bilbao, Spain, and in criminal law at the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas.

Ms. Infante has a particular interest in indigenous peoples’ rights, having represented numerous victims of human rights abuses before national courts and international human rights mechanisms, including both the Inter-American and United Nations systems, as part of her legal practice in Venezuela, and the Coordinator of the Asociacion de Pueblos Indigenas de Venezuela (APIVEN), an NGO she founded in 2008. In 2010, Ms. Infante was awarded the Orden Luis Maria Olaso Human Rights Award by the Caracas Municipality for defending the rights of indigenous peoples.

Ms. Infante has also worked with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, Switzerland; the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Venezuela as an Adviser in Justice and Human Rights; and the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), where as a Legal Coordinator Ms. Infante participated in the investigation and prosecution of complex cases of organized crime including the notorious “La Linea” case which involved the President and Vice-Presidents of Guatemala.

Ms. Infante has taught law at both the Universidad de Carabobo and the Universidad Central de Venezuela, and is the recipient of a scholarship from the prestigious 2015-2016 Fulbright Foreign Student Program here in the United States; concluding her LL.M. in International Human Rights Law at the University of Notre Dame in May this year.


Akiko Ito

Chief of the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and UN/Focal Point on Disability               

Ms. Akiko Ito is Chief of the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and UN/Focal Point on Disability. She is also a Departmental Focal Point for Women of Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations.

Ms. Ito has extensively lectured and published on issues concerning disability and human rights at the United Nations. Previous to her current post, she worked in Legal Affairs Section of the United Nations Drug Control Programme in Vienna, Austria.

Her academic background is international law and the area of interest is domestic application of international law, with a focus on the rights of minorities and other disadvantaged groups.

Ms. Ito has LL.B. in International Legal Studies from Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan, M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago and LL.M. from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley.


Sarah Paoletti

Practice Professor of Law

Sarah Paoletti directs the Transnational Legal Clinic, the law school’s international human rights and immigration clinic. Students enrolled in the clinic represent individual and organizational clients in a myriad of cases and projects that require them to grapple with international and comparative legal norms in settings that cut across borders, legal systems, cultures, and languages.  Paoletti’s research focuses on the intersection of human rights, migration, and labor law, and she has presented on this theme before the United Nations and the Organization of American States. She also works closely with advocates seeking application of international human rights norms in the United States.  Her recent scholarship includes: “Transnational Approaches to Transnational Exploitation: A Proposal for Bi-National Migrant Rights Clinics,” 30 University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law 1171 (Summer 2009), and “Redefining Human Rights Lawyering Through the Lens of Critical Theory: Lessons for Pedagogy and Practice,” 18 Georgetown Journal of Poverty Law & Policy 337 (2011) (co-author).


Nicola Port

Senior Vice President & International Counsel, Global Legal, Chubb

Nicola is a Senior Vice President and International Counsel at Chubb, a diversified insurer and reinsurer with operations in all 50 US states and 54 countries around the world.  She reports to the Chubb General Counsel and provides counsel on international legal matters and regulatory affairs, including cross-border and multi-jurisdictional activities, and serves as the principal legal advisor to the Global Chief Compliance Officer. She is also responsible for providing leadership and advice regarding laws and regulations governing trade sanctions, foreign corrupt practices and money laundering.  Prior to joining Chubb in August 2012, Nicola spent over a decade as an attorney with the international law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, where she worked out of several of the firm’s offices both in the US and abroad and her practice focused almost exclusively on cross-border matters in areas of international litigation and arbitration, and global regulatory affairs.  She holds law degrees from Columbia University and Zurich Law School, and is admitted to the New York and Zurich bars.


Ursula Wynhoven

Chief, Social Sustainability, Governance and Legal for the United Nations Global Compact

Ursula Wynhoven is the Chief, Social Sustainability, Governance and Legal for the UN Global Compact, the UN’s corporate sustainability initiative. She is a member of the office’s Executive Team, leading legal affairs and compliance and the UN Global Compact’s governance and social sustainability platforms and workstreams, including on human rights and decent work, gender equality, poverty and inequality, peace, anti-corruption and the rule of law. Ursula began working with the UN Global Compact in 2002 and as one of the earliest staff members has played an active role in helping to grow the initiative to more than 13,000 signatories in more than 160 countries with a full roster of workstreams advancing virtually all aspects of corporate sustainability. Ursula led the development with UN agency and other partners of many of the platforms and workstreams, including on human rights and labour, women’s empowerment (Women’s Empowerment Principles), business and children (Children’s Rights and Business Principles), indigenous peoples’ rights, and on business and the rule of law (Business for the Rule of Law). Prior to joining the UN, Ursula worked in law firms and government human rights agencies in Australia and the US and worked for the OECD in Paris on the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the OECD’s corporate responsibility initiative. Ursula has Masters of Law degrees from Columbia Law School, where she was a Human Rights Fellow, and Monash Law School in Australia. She also has Bachelors degrees in Law, Economics and Letters. She is admitted to practice law in jurisdictions in Australia, the US (California) and the UK. Since 2007, Ursula has been an Adjunct Professor in Corporate Sustainability, Business and Human Rights at Fordham Law School in New York and previously taught at the Reykjavik University School of Law. Ursula is a Trustee of the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law at Columbia Law School and a Girl Scout troop leader.