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Volume Editors

Human Rights Conversations

Volume Editors, May 1, 2021


  1. William Paul Simmons is Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and Director of the online Human Rights Practice program at the University of Arizona. His research is highly interdisciplinary; using theoretical, legal, and empirical approaches to advance human rights for marginalized populations around the globe. His books include Joyful Human Rights (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), Human Rights Law and the Marginalized Other (Cambridge UP, 2011), An-archy and Justice: An Introduction to Emmanuel Levinas’ Political Thought (Lexington, 2003). His articles have appeared in such journals as; Perspectives on Politics, DuBois Review, Journal of Human Rights, International Journal of Feminist Politics, International Migration Review, Violence Against Women, Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal, The Journal of International Human Rights, Social Science Quarterly, and Philosophy and Social Criticism. He has served as a consultant on human rights and social justice issues in The Gambia, Niger, Nigeria, Bangladesh, China, Mexico, and the United States.
  2. Leonard Hammer, is the Director of Outreach and Program Development, Human Rights Practice Graduate Programs and the David and Andrea Stein Visiting Professor of Modern Israel Studies, Center for Judaic Studies. He has a JD from Georgetown University, an LLM in international law from New York University (NYU), and a Ph.D. in international human rights from the University of London (SOAS).  He has worked for 10 years as an International Scholar at the Open Society Foundation, developing human rights graduate law programming in former Soviet satellite states, such as Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan. Dr. Hammer has conducted extensive research into sacred spaces and holy places with a focus on Israel and Palestine.  He has also lectured and researched various projects in Israel, Turkey, Australia, Taiwan, and Canada.
  3. Sheila B. Keetharuth is a human rights defender from Mauritius who has worked and travelled in mainland Africa for nearly three decades. She is a committed human rights advocate having extensive experience in research, advocacy, litigation and training in Africa. Ms Keetharuth was appointed as the first Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea in October 2012. From 2014 to 2016, she also served as a member of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea. Until 30 June 2012, Ms Keetharuth was the Executive Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), a pan-African NGO based in Banjul, The GambiaAfter reading for an LLM in International Human Rights Law and Civil Liberties at the University of Leicester (UK), Ms Keetharuth was called to the Bar in Mauritius in January 1997. Her particular interests are: human rights and business, extractive industries and litigation to strengthen the African human rights system. In 2010, the Madrid Bar Association awarded her a Medal of Honour for her human rights work on the African continent. Since May 2014, Ms Keetharuth is an expert member of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
  4. Rhona Smith, Professor of International Human Rights and Head of School, Newcastle University, Current UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia. Her principal areas of interest are international human rights, human rights/civil liberties and public law. Much of her previous work has focussed on human rights capacity building in education and justice sectors
  5. Asya El-Meehy,   Her research interests include the Arab Spring, women’s rights, and civil society and she has conducted extensive fieldwork on women’s rights and NGOs in Egypt. Asya is affiliated with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies CMES-, University of California, Berkeley. Asya does research in Political Economy, Comparative Democratization and Comparative Politics. Her current project is on ‘Local forms of organizing in the Middle East during moments of ungovernability’
  6. Devorah Wainer, Honorary Associate, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Sydney.  Wainer’s research interests include refugee rights, voices of the marginalized, and transitional justice
  7. Semere Kesete, Human rights activist and former political prisoner from Eritrea.  Research interests include: civil and political rights, refugees, human trafficking, the Horn of Africa
  8. Elisa Marchi,



Volume Editors

William Paul Simmons

Professor, Gender and Women's Studies; Director, Human Rights Practice Program (University of Arizona)

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