Testimonials for HRREC

The Human Rights Research and Education Centre supports and promotes the work of our student, academic and community members. The Centre also engages in research activities through partnerships, holds leadership roles in diverse groups linked with the University of Ottawa and other higher education institutions, and contributes to the work of research chairs, post-doctoral fellows and human rights non-governmental organizations located in the national capital region and beyond.

Olabisi D. Akinkugbe (HRREC Community Member)

Olabisi D. Akinkugbe

I remember my time at the HRREC with fond memories. The Centre offered me a unique and collegial community to discuss and share ideas with fellow doctoral candidates in a safe and interdisciplinary environment. The Centre was also extremely generous in financially supporting my participation in various international conferences where I met colleagues that have become important part of my network.

Assistant Professor
Schulich School of Law
Dalhousie University

Jane Bailey (HRREC Academic Member)

Jane Bailey

The HRREC is an indispensible partner in our 7-year SSHRC funded partnership project – The eQuality Project. The Centre has made it possible for us to fully engage in international collaboration by providing a home away from home for visiting international research partners and collaborators. John and Viviana have been enthusiastic, innovative and supportive members of our research team, consistently engaging us in opportunities for intersectoral, interdisciplinary and international ventures, such as their film festival, their Human Rights Yearbook and their speakers series, to name a few. Such opportunities are critical to the success of research initiatives and to attracting and obtaining funding by extending research beyond academia to engage with local, national and international communities. Simply put, the HRREC’s involvement with our research has been invaluable.

Full Professor
Common Law Section
Faculty of Law
University of Ottawa

Jennifer Bond (HRREC Academic Member)

Jennifer Bond

The University of Ottawa Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) has been an invaluable partner to the Refugee Hub over the past eight years, and has facilitated our growth from a single project to a robust and responsive team of 15 full-time employees. We are proud to partner with the HRREC, which provides a home base for important and innovative research and programming in Canada and around the world.

The HRREC was a critical partner on our inaugural project, the University of Ottawa Refugee Assistance Project, and has since both supported a variety of specific Refugee Hub initiatives and contributed to our overall organizational success. Our partnership with the HRREC has taken many forms, ranging from co-hosting events; to participating in joint funding applications; to providing concrete access to office and meeting space for our staff and students. The latter has ensured that the Refugee Hub team has the daily opportunity to cross-pollinate with other colleagues attached to the HRREC, and we feel privileged to be physically and substantively embedded in the strong community the HRREC team created.

Associate Professor
Common Law Section, Faculty of Law
Founder & Managing Director, Refugee Hub
University of Ottawa


Tenille Brown (HRREC Student Member)

Tenille Brown

I have been a member of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre throughout my PhD programme. I joined as a student member because I wanted to connect with researchers, writers, and professors who are leading experts in the field of human rights, and are committed to building a professional community that collaborates on issues of critical importance. Professionally, the Centre has afforded me excellent opportunities as a PhD student. I have contributed to activities initiated by the Centre such as the human rights clinic and brown bag lunch talk series, I have received support to attend conferences where I have disseminated my research and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the University of Kent in England as a visiting researcher. These experiences have all been informative for me, enriching my learning and growth as an academic, and really demonstrative of the type of academic-life I want to have. On a personal level the community of the Centre has been incredibly supportive. I have been able to share challenges and discuss opportunities related to research, writing and, increasingly, strategies and ideas related to teaching. The Centre has provided me a place to call "home" on campus and I am so deeply proud to be a part of this community.

Ph.D. Candidate in Law
Faculty of Law
University of Ottawa

Daniel Cerqueira (HRREC Partner)

The Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) has been an important ally of the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF), as we have joined forces to work on human rights in Latin America. In partnership with the Human Rights Clinic of the HRREC, we have filed different amicus curiae to the highest courts in Brazil, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to advocate in favour of Indigenous Peoples. Our submissions have focused on International and Comparative legal standards to assure the rights to land, territory and free, prior and informed consent. We have participated in hearings before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, particularly on the responsibility of Home States like Canada to assure that mining corporations do not affect human rights. DPLF looks forward to work with the HRREC this coming year.

Senior Program Officer
Due Process of Law Foundation

Emilie Di Grazia (HRREC Community Member)

I will always be grateful to HRREC for giving me, during my bachelor studies, the opportunity to gain experience in monitoring and promoting human rights, in Canada and abroad. I began as a volunteer, promoting the HRREC’s events and programs, eventually getting concrete experience with the Human Rights Clinic, and finally as a Course Coordinator for the Summer School: The Arts and Human Rights. I also participated in the International Humanitarian Law summer school where I was able to broaden my knowledge of various branches of public international law.

After my bachelor studies, I was admitted into a prestigious Master’s program in Geneva, worked for international NGOs and IGOs in different parts of the world, and I am now a Human Rights Officer at the OSCE Mission in Kosovo (my dream job!).  Without the knowledge and experience I gained at the HRREC, together with the precious advice and encouragement I received from the HRREC’s staff throughout my academic and professional career, I wouldn’t have made it this far. It is important to begin early, and to do it right – and the Centre precisely offers this opportunity to uOttawa students. For this, I am forever grateful and will always be a proud HRREC member.

Human Rights Officer | Mission to Kosovo
Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

Courtney Doagoo (HRREC Community Member)

Courtney Doagoo

I had the unique opportunity of co-designing and co-organizing the Arts and Human Rights Programme summer school at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre under the leadership of John Packer and Viviana Fernandez during my Ph.D. program.

They were both extremely supportive and encouraging throughout the entire process, empowering me and our colleagues to be creative in content and in process. Furthermore, I was invited to be an active participant in the summer school, which provided me with the platform to engage with students and colleagues about the intersection of intellectual property law and cultural heritage. This opportunity was an integral part of my experience as a PhD student and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and support.

Research Fellow
CIGI International Law Research Program
Centre for Law, Technology and Society
Faculty of Law
University of Ottawa

Pearl Eliadis (HRREC Partner)

The HRREC provides exemplary leadership and essential support in the field of human rights, a powerful combination allows the Centre to punch well above its weight. The HRREC’s work has had impact on and created leverage for initiatives that make a difference at the local, national and global levels. I can personally attest to the Centre’s extraordinary commitment and contribution to projects ranging from the protection of civil society in Canada to supporting human rights defenders in Cameroon in collaboration with a wide range of partners.

Human Rights Lawyer
Adjunct Professor, Law Faculty, McGill University
Full Member, McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism


Jordi Feo Valero (HRREC Fellow Member)

Jordi Valero Feo

My collaboration as Visiting Researcher at the HRREC has allowed me to know first-hand challenges and threats to human rights that I had never considered before. I believe that my time at the HRREC is very positive for both parties and I would like to remain connected to the Center after completing my stay in August 2020. Since my arrival in 2016, I have worked on a variety of activities related with human rights. Thanks to the collaboration with professors such as Penelope Simons I am on the last phase of an academic research based on the impact of resource extraction in Colombia with special attention to indigenous and gender perspectives. Since 2016 I have gained experience and skills as a member of the Business and Human Rights in Latin America Project of the Human Rights Clinic. In 2017, I agreed to coordinate the “UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers” project under the supervision of Professor John Packer. The UN Special Rapporteur, Mr. Diego García Sayán, has publicly acknowledged the work carried out by the Human Rights Clinic of the University of Ottawa in the reports he has presented so far both to the United Nations General Assembly and to the Human Rights Council.

Human Rights Research and Education Centre
University of Ottawa

Kirsten J. Fisher (HRREC Community Member)

Kirsten Fisher

Working as a Gordon F. Henderson post-doctoral researcher at the HRREC was an incredible opportunity for me to pursue my own research in human rights and post-conflict justice, with funding to pursue necessary field research. I published my book the following year. It was also an opportunity to make great and lasting contacts with some of Canada's leading and emerging minds in human rights protection. My continued membership with HRREC allows me keep abreast of developments and significant work in the area of human rights, to contribute to important dialogues, and to maintain contacts important to my research and to my students (as I have drawn from this incredible group of scholars for contacts for individual students interested in careers in human rights and guest lectures for classes).

Assistant Professor
Political Studies
College of Arts and Science
University of Saskatchewan

Catherine Gribbin (HRREC Partner)

Collaborating with the HRREC has resulted in a highly successful Summer School on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) for over a decade. The commitment of its staff to profiling key humanitarian issues impacting those most affected by armed conflict around the world has resulted in outstanding public engagement. Canadians across the country continue to engage in learning about IHL through the summer school which remains a unique learning opportunity offered nowhere else in Canada.

Senior Legal Advisor
Canadian Red Cross

Salvador Herencia (HRREC Student Member)

The HRREC has provided the opportunity to engage in different human right issues around the world, expanding my current doctoral research. Through the Human Rights Clinic, students like me, have been able to work with UN mandate holders, NGOs and Canadian institutions granting us the possibility to understand the complexities of fulfilling human rights. For example, it has been rewarding to know that the first ever hearing regarding attacks to academic freedom in the Americas held by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights in its 60 years of existence, was spearheaded by our Centre. Students that are part of the Human Rights Clinic have been accepted to do summer internships before the International Criminal Court and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. As we start the new academic year, I believe that we will have more news of our students reaching new heights.

Ph.D. Candidate in Law, Faculty of Law
Director, Human Rights Clinic, Human Rights Research and Education Centre
University of Ottawa

Rasha Jarhum (HRREC Community Member)

Rasha Jarhum

As a new comer to Canada, being anchored at the HRREC gave me immediate recognition and visibility among human rights defenders and development partners, as well access to Canada's premier network of academics and experts in international law and peacebuilding. My association with HRREC proved particularly instrumental to support my efforts to work on peace in the Middle East and more specifically end the war in Yemen. The continued support of the Centre's leadership is an indispensable asset, and I rely on their support and dedication to advance my work and efforts on peacebuilding and conflict resolution. I thank HRREC and particularly Prof Packer for being an indispensable resource and supporter of our peace mediation and advocacy efforts.

Co-founder and Director
Peace Track Initiative

Gloria Lopez (Fulbright Chair in Human Rights & Social Justice 2016)

Gloria Lopez - Fulbright Chair 2016

HRREC is a gem of the University of Ottawa in that the dedicated faculty and staff care about the people, who come through its doors and ensure that they receive an excellent learning experience by creating courses like the innovative Arts and Human Rights course, which exposes many to indigenous peoples, the culture, and relevant laws; hosting numerous guest speakers, who share their human rights knowledge and practical experiences with the community; and conducting cutting edge research that has tangible effects on the lives of many.

It is evident through their actions that HRREC’s staff members are passionate about human rights and are dedicated to preparing and inspiring future extraordinary global servant leaders.

The lessons that I learned, the people I met, the connections that I made as a Fulbright Visiting Chair in HRREC, had a profound influence on me, my research, and my career. Thank you, everyone at HRREC!

Fulbrigh Chair in Human Rights and Social Justice 2016
Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa
System-Wide Affirmative Action Officer
State University of New York


Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (HRREC Partner)

We live in times when global issues are local, and not only a multi-disciplinary approach but also a mutli-sectoral approach is needed to understand and address issues of human rights. Every sector that is engaged in such issues from governments and multilateral bodies to NGOs, think tanks and academia recognizes this need for collaborative work, but most institutions are still grappling with the practicalities of how to partner with others. Meanwhile the University of Ottawa's Human Rights Research and Education Center (HRREC) is already pioneering such work. In 2018 HRREC partnered with ICAN to host the first ever gender and inclusive mediation certificate course for practitioners. We combined field practitioners from 15 countries with the center's experts to enable a rich exchange and mutual learning space.

The Center has also been leading efforts to host activists at risk, ensuring that their skills and knowledge can be shared with scholars and students, while also enabling them to benefit from the richness of a global academic center. It has been a personal and professional privilege to work with Prof John Packer. I look forward to continued collaboration and wish that the center goes from strength to strength.

Founder & CEO
International Civil Society Action Network

Mona Paré (HRREC Academic Member)

Mona Paré

I have been involved in HRREC’s activities since I joined the Civil Law Section, first participating in an international symposium organized by HRREC on the rights of the child in 2007. I have been an official member since 2009 and have been actively involved in the life of the Centre, having been a member of its management committee and having organized several HRREC activities and events or which have been sponsored by HRREC.

HRREC is a partner that has provided significant support in the creation of the Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory on the Rights of the Child (IRLRC) and in the organization and promotion of its activities for more than a decade. Each year, HRREC partners with IRLRC to organize an annual conference, lunchtime conferences, or other events. HRREC has also supported IRLRC in external grant applications, offering letters of support, and various contributions. HRREC is a partner in the IRLRC partnership development project on children's access to justice, funded by SSHRC. Being able to benefit from HRREC's premises, including meeting spaces and workstations for students, HRREC networks for the promotion of events and networking between respective partners, or the involvement of its dynamic team, is of inestimable value to IRLRC and its partners.

Associate Professor
Civil Law Section
Faculty of Law
University of Ottawa

Valerie Steeves (HRREC Academic Member)

Valerie Steeves

The HRREC is an invaluable partner in the SSHRC-funded eQuality Project precisely because it does such an excellent job of linking us to other researchers and to the community at large. In the past year alone, the HRREC has hosted two visiting European scholars working on The eQuality Project, enabling us to deepen our international network and to collaborate on innovative cross-jurisdictional analysis that grounds critical data scholarship in a shared commitment to human rights. The HRREC has also helped us disseminate our findings to the broader public by hosting film festivals, plays, advocacy workshops, and train-the-trainer sessions. Such innovative dissemination has been a crucial element in meeting our milestones with SSHRC because it has enabled us to advance an ongoing public dialogue about the need for tech policy that advances human flourishing. Partnering with the Centre has also enriched our training program, especially for our post-doctoral researchers, as the Centre offers outstanding access to a body of scholars who do cutting edge research on human rights and technology issues. We could simply not have attracted the long-term funding that we have without the Centre’s ongoing support and assistance.

Associate Professor
Department of Criminology
Faculty of Social Sciences
University of Ottawa

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