Weissberg Chair in Human Rights and Social Justice

Understanding and defending human rights.

The Weissberg Chair in Human Rights and Social Justice, established in 1999, brings to campus every year a distinguished individual who has made important contributions to understanding and defending human rights on the international stage.

Weissberg Chairs contribute new perspectives to the teaching and learning taking place on the Beloit College campus and typically spend from one week to 10 days in residence. Their residencies serve as a catalyst for conversations across campus and throughout the disciplines taught at Beloit College about the importance of preparing students to understand, promote, and defend human rights.

The Weissberg Professorship is underwritten and supported by business leader Marvin Weissberg and his daughter, Nina Weissberg’84.


Joan Donovan


Assistant professor of journalism and emerging media studies at Boston University, and former research director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media Media Politics and Public Policy. More about Joan Donovan

Wayne Au, Weissberg Chair 2022

Wayne Au


Professor and interim dean in the School of Educational Studies at University of Washington Bothell. More about Wayne Au

Jason de León, Weissberg Chair for 2021-22

Jason De León


Executive Director of the Undocumented Migration Project that studies the realities of clandestine migration between Latin America and the United States. More about Jason De León

Joan Carling

Joan Carling


Human rights activist and environmentalist who has defended the rights of native and marginalized peoples for over two decades More about Joan Carling

Joel Simon

Joel Simon


Executive director of Committee to Protect Journalists and advocate of press freedom. More about Joel Simon

Steven Hawkins

Steven Hawkins


Social justice leader and litigator dedicated to improving the criminal justice system. More about Steven Hawkins

Eskinder Negash, 2016-2017 Weissberg Chair

Eskinder Negash


Serves as senior vice president for Global Engagement for the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), and has worked for more than 35 years on behalf of refugees and immigrants. More about Eskinder Negash

Susan Bissell, 2015-2016 Weissberg Chair

Susan Bissell


Focused on the rights of children. In January 2016, she was named director a.i. of UNICEF’s Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. Bissell has spent more than twenty-five years working in various capacities for UNICEF More about Susan Bissell

James Anaya, 2014-2015 Weissberg Chair

James Anaya


Participated in the drafting of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and was the lead counsel for the indigenous parties in the case of Awas Tingni v. Nicaragua. More about James Anaya

Vandana Shiva, 2013-2014 Weissberg Chair

Vandana Shiva


A prolific author, her most recent books include Staying Alive (2010, South End Press) and Making Peace With The Earth (2013, Pluto Press). Her many honors include the Right Livelihood Award, which recognizes and supports those “offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.” More about Vandana Shiva

Diego García-Sayán, 2012-2013 Weissberg Chair

Diego García-Sayán


Former president of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights whose areas of interest include transitional justice and political change in Latin America. More about Diego García-Sayán

Yuri Dzhibladze, 2011-2012 Weissberg Chair

Yuri Dzhibladze


Founder and president of the Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, a Russian public policy and advocacy NGO. More about Yuri Dzhibladze

Ali Allawi, 2010-2011 Weissberg Chair

Ali Allawi


Served as both Minister of Trade and Minister of Defense, and he served as Minister of Finance in the Iraqi Transitional Government. Has also served as a professor at Oxford University and a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. More about Ali Allawi

Sheila Dinotshe Tlou, 2009-2010 Weissberg Chair

Sheila Dinotshe Tlou


Formerly a parliament member and Minister of Health of the Republic of Botswana, she has conducted research and taught courses to nursing, pre-medical, and social science students on gender issues in HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and aging and older persons. More about Sheila Dinotshe Tlou

Elisabeth Rhyne, 2008-2009 Weissberg Chair

Elisabeth Rhyne


A leading expert and researcher in the field of microfinance whose research has resulted in new financial products and microfinance programs in Africa and India. More about Elisabeth Rhyne

Jan Egeland, 2007-2008 Weissberg Chair

Jan Egeland


Deputy director of Human Rights Watch and the director of Human Rights Watch Europe and Named in 2006 by Time Magazine as one of “the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.” More about Jan Egeland

Richard J. Goldstone, 2006-2007 Weissberg Chair

Richard J. Goldstone


Seen as one of the world’s foremost human rights champions and served on the Constitutional Court of South Africa from 1994-2003, chaired the International Independent Inquiry Commission on Kosovo in 1999, and was the first chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia (1994-1996). More about Richard J. Goldstone

Raufa Hassan Al-Sharki, 2005-2006 Weissberg Chair

Raufa Hassan Al-Sharki


A noted academic and human rights activist from Yemen who served as professor of mass media and director of the Women’s Studies Center at the University of Sana’a. More about Raufa Hassan Al-Sharki

Anthony Zinni, 2004-2005 Weissberg Chair

Anthony Zinni


Retired marine corps general who served as special envoy for former Secretary of State Colin Powell in the Middle East and called “one of the most respected and outspoken military leaders of the past two decades” by CBS News, More about Anthony Zinni

Dai Qing, 2003-2004 Weissberg Chair

Dai Qing


Chinese dissident intellectual, environmentalist, and investigative journalist. rained as a guided missile engineer, Dai originally worked in Chinese military intelligence before becoming an independent journalist. More about Dai Qing

Roy Gutman, 2002-2003 Weissberg Chair

Roy Gutman


Pulitzer Prize winner for international reporting and has also been a diplomatic correspondent for Newsweek and director of American University’s Crimes of War Project. More about Roy Gutman

Alain Destexhe, 2001-2002 Weissberg Chair

Alain Destexhe


The first deputy chairman of the Belgian Senate’s Committee of Foreign Affairs and has published extensively on international humanitarian issues. More about Alain Destexhe

Carlos Alzugaray, 2000-2001 Weissberg Chair

Carlos Alzugaray


A Cuban diplomat and scholar with 40 years of experience representing the Cuban government around the world. Honored for his teaching by the Cuban Teachers and Scientific Workers’ Union. More about Carlos Alzugaray

Hanan Ashrawi, 1999-2000 Weissberg Chair

Hanan Ashrawi


One of five women elected to the 88-member Palestinian governing organization in 1996 and served for two years in the cabinet of President Yasser Arafat. More about Hanan Ashrawi

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