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Global Decision Makers 

Penn Law is committed to providing a forum for today’s Global Decision Makers. These global thought leaders have shaped important laws, policies, and institutions around the world.
  • Zainab Hawa Bangura

    Zainab Hawa Bangura, UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict

    Ms. Bangura has over 20 years of policy, diplomatic and practical experience in the field of governance, conflict resolution and reconciliation in Africa. Ms. Bangura has been instrumental in developing national programs on affordable health, advocating for the elimination of genital mutilation, and managing her country’s Peace Building Commission.

  • Irina Bokova

    Irina Bokova, Former Director-General of UNESCO

    As Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova is actively engaged in international efforts to advance gender equality, quality education for all, and combat terrorist financing by preventing the illicit traffic of cultural goods. Bokova was the first Eastern European to lead UNESCO.

  • Anand Grover

    Anand Grover, Former UN Special Rapporteur for Health and Human Rights

    Grover is one of India’s leading litigators and a critical figure in efforts to use law to advance the rights of those living with, or vulnerable to, HIV/AIDS in India.  He has handled hundreds of HIV oriented cases in India on issues ranging from discrimination to access to medicines.

  • Asma Jahangir

    Asma Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights to Iran; Former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief; Former UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions

    Jahangir is known globally as Pakistan’s leading human rights lawyer.  Jahangir continues to face death threats for her work on behalf of women, children, and minorities, and her efforts to reform the pernicious Hudood Ordinance (crimes of honor and blasphemy in Pakistan).

  • Hina Jilani

    Hina Jilani, Former UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Human Rights Defenders

    Jilani is a pioneering lawyer and pro-democracy campaigner, a leading activist in Pakistan’s women’s movement and international champion of human rights. She founded Pakistan’s first all-women law firm; first legal aid centre; and national Human Rights Commission.

  • Macharia Kamau

    Macharia Kamau, Kenyan Ambassador to the United Nations and Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on El Niño and Climate

     Ambassador Kamau was one of the primary architects of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and co-facilitator of the 2030 Development Agenda.  He has vast experience at the United Nations where he served for over twenty-five years, primarily in senior management positions at the UN Development Programme, UNICEF, and UNTAG.

  • Moushira Khattab

    Moushira Khattab, former Minister of Family & Population of Egypt, Former Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, and Former Ambassador

    Khattab is a world-renowned human rights activist advocating the rights of children and women and the former Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child based at the UN Headquarters in Geneva.

  • Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

    Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Minister of Finance of Nigeria and Coordinating Minister for the Economy

    A world-renowned economist recently named one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune.  Okonjo-Iweala has also served as Managing Director of the World Bank.

  • Navi Pillay

    Navi Pillay, Former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

    In her native South Africa, Ms. Pillay contributed to the inclusion of the equality clause in the country’s Constitution that prohibits discrimination on grounds of race, gender, religion and sexual orientation. Her career has focused on children, detainees, victims of torture and of domestic violence, and a range of economic, social and cultural rights.

  • Mary Robinson

    Mary Robinson, Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Former President of Ireland

    Robinson was recently named UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoys on El Niño and Climate.  She serves as the Chairman of the Institute for Human Rights and Business; President of the Mary Robinson Foundation–Climate Justice.

  • Miguel de Serpa Soares

    Miguel de Serpa Soares, UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs

    UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs

    Serpa Soares is the United Nations’ top legal counsel and legal advisor to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.  He previously served as Director General of Portugal’s Department of Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as a Member of the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration. 


  • Ivan Simonovic

    Ivan Simonovic, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

    Simonovic has held former posts as the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and Justice Minister of Croatia.

  • Melanie Verveer

    Melanne Verveer, Former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues 

    Current Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown University. Verveer previously served as Executive Director of People for the American Way, where she was involved in the passage of important civil rights legislation.

  • Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon

    Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, Former President of Mexico

    Since the ending of his term as president in 2000, Zedillo has been a leading voice on globalization, especially its impact on relations between developed and developing nations.   While President, Zedillo led an economic recovery, and instituted reforms designed to end political corruption and create freer elections.