Renowned human rights scholar and advocate Gay McDougall will deliver UB School of Law’s 25th Annual John Sumner Stead Lecture in International Law on the international community’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Her talk, “Cries of BLM Reverberate Worldwide: Even the U.N. Quakes,” is presented by the law school’s Center for International and Comparative Law and will take place on Zoom beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28. Register to attend here.
A recipient of the prestigious MacArthur “Genius” Award, McDougall has spent her career working on issues of race, gender and economic justice in the global context.
She has been a leader on human rights within the United Nations for more than three decades, holding several important positions, including as the first UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues. She currently serves as vice chair of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which oversees compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
McDougall also was Special Rapporteur on the issue of systematic rape and sexual slavery practices in armed conflict for the UN Sub-Commission on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights from 1995 to 1999, and she played a leadership role in the UN Third World Conference against Racism.
McDougall was a member of the South African governmental body created to administer South Africa’s first democratic, non-racial elections in 1994, which resulted in the historic election of President Nelson Mandela and the abolishment of apartheid. Prior to that appointment, she served for 15 years as Director of the Southern Africa Project of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, working closely with South African lawyers to secure the release of thousands of political prisoners from jail. In 2015 the Government of South Africa bestowed on her their national medal of honor for non-citizens, the Order of O. R. Tambo Medal for her extraordinary contributions to ending apartheid.
Subsequent to her work in South Africa, for 15 years she was executive director of Global Rights, a human rights group that worked with activists in 10 countries.
McDougall received a J.D. from Yale Law School and an LL.M. from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has honorary Doctor of Law degrees from nine universities, including Georgetown University Law Center, Emory University School of Law, the University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), and the University of London.
In addition to the MacArthur, McDougall’s years of service and instrumental role in human rights advocacy has been recognized by honors such as the Butcher Medal of the American Society of International Law for outstanding contributions to human rights law and the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. McDougall has taught in the Oxford University Masters of International Human Rights Law Program, and she was the Father Robert F. Drinan Visiting Professor of Human Rights at Georgetown University School of Law, and the 2013 Mulligan Distinguished Visiting Professor of International Law at Fordham Law School.
This event is cosponsored by the American Society of International Law’s Blacks of the American Society of International Law (BASIL), Minorities in International Law Interest Group (MILIG) and Women in International Law Interest Group (WILIG). Register to attend the lecture here.