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Top American university appoints Chidi Odinkalu new professor on human rights studies

The eminent Nigerian scholar will focus on international human rights law at Tufts University’s The Fletcher School in Massachusetts.

• July 15, 2021

The Fletcher School is pleased to announce the appointment of international human rights law expert Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, PhD to a Professor of Practice faculty position for a three-year term beginning in the Fall of 2021.

He will join Fletcher’s multi-disciplinary faculty focused on preparing tomorrow’s leaders to use the latest legal, political, economic, and business thinking to generate policies and inform decisions that shape global events.

“Chidi Odinkalu is a renowned human rights activist with a distinguished record of public service who has spent more than three decades working at the front line of human rights law and research, development advocacy, international institutional law and governmental policy,” remarked Kelly Sims Gallagher, Academic Dean at The Fletcher School.

“His profound contributions to the advancement of human rights intersect with Fletcher’s mission and core values,” she added. “We are delighted to welcome him to the Fletcher community.”

Odinkalu’s background reflects an extensive record of research, publishing and teaching in the areas of human rights, development law and public policy throughout Africa, Europe and the US.

Most recently, he was part of a three-member team that mediated the readmission of The Gambia into the Commonwealth, where he litigated human rights before national and regional courts as well as in transnational contexts.

From 2011 to 2015, he chaired Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission, the country’s lead institution for the protection of human rights and promotion of human rights policy. He also worked within human rights philanthropy.

For 10 years prior, he was involved in drafting the Protocol for the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights through to adoption by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in 1998.

In 2004, he led the advocacy effort for its entry into force with the creation of the Coalition for the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. For more than three years, until 1993, Odinkalu was head of legal services for the Civil Liberties Organization in Lagos, where he was responsible for litigation, advocacy and constituent building strategies, as well as managing relationships with the military government and its institutions.

“I am honored to join the Fletcher community and look forward to working with Fletcher’s students, faculty and administration to apply intellectual and strategic innovation to the most pressing challenges in governance and international human rights law,” said Odinkalu.

A native of Nigeria born into internal displacement during the country’s civil war, he received his PhD in law from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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