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Weissberg Chair in International Studies

The Weissberg Chair in International Studies, 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.

Learn more about the Weissberg Chair in International Studies.

Joel Simon

Joel Simon has been the executive director of Committee to Protect Journalists since 2006. Simon has led the organization through a period of expansion, helping to launch the Global Campaign Against Impunity, establish a Journalist Assistance program, and spearhead CPJ's defense of press freedom in the digital space through the creation of dedicated Technology Program.

Simon has written widely on press freedom issues for publications including SlateThe New York Review of BooksThe New York Times, World Policy JournalAsahi Shimbun, and The Times of India. His analysis of press freedom issues is featured regularly in major media. He is regular columnist for Columbia Journalism Review.

Steven Hawkins


Steven Hawkins is a social justice leader and litigator, who has dedicated his career to improving the criminal justice system. He is actively working to abolish the death penalty and successfully led a campaign to abolish the death penalty for juvenile crimes. Hawkins formerly served as the president of the Coalition for Public Safety and executive director for Amnesty International USA.

Eskinder Negash


The 2016-17 Weissberg Chair is Eskinder Negash. Mr. Negash's residency will focus on international migration. Negash is a refugee from Eritrea and has devoted his career to addressing the needs of refugees and immigrants. He currently 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.


Susan Bissell


Susan Bissell's career has 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.


James Anaya


James Anaya teaches and writes in the areas of international human rights, constitutional law, and issues concerning indigenous peoples. He has lectured in many countries in all continents of the globe; advised numerous indigenous and other organizations from several countries on matters of human rights and indigenous peoples; and represented indigenous groups from many parts of North and Central America in landmark cases before courts and international organizations. Among his noteworthy activities, he 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, in which the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for the first time upheld indigenous land rights as a matter of international law.


Vandana Shiva


World-renowned activist Vandana Shiva challenges us to think about development in more sustainable ways by bringing attention to leading social justice questions of the day: how natural resources can be protected in order to sustain the earth and our futures, the impact of globalization in rural communities, and the role of women in economic production.

With a bachelor’s degree in physics and a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, Shiva founded Navdanya, an Indian women's movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seeds. 

Shiva's 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." A prolific author, her most recent books include Staying Alive (2010, South End Press) and Making Peace With The Earth (2013, Pluto Press).

Her residency at Beloit College will bring attention to the power of activism to encourage dialogue and positive social change, with a particular focus on access, availability, and quality of our food as a human right.

Diego García-Sayán


Diego García-Sayán is the former president of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights whose areas of interest include transitional justice and political change in Latin America. García-Sayán has served as a Justice on the Inter-American Court of Human Rights since 2004. He was elected vice president of the Court in 2008 and became its president in 2010.


Yuri Dzhibladze


Yuri Dzhibladze is the founder and president of the Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, a Russian public policy and advocacy NGO. He is a specialist in human rights, international law, and civil society, and an active member of the Russian and international NGO community. He is currently a member of the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy, NGO Process for the Community of Democracies, Citizens Against Terror, and several other international and national NGO networks.


Ali Allawi


Ali Allawi served in the Iraqi government immediately following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and has since then been one of the more resounding voices discussing the challenges on the ground and in the region. Appointed by the Interim Iraq Governing Council in 2003, he served as both Minister of Trade and Minister of Defense, and he served as Minister of Finance in the Iraqi Transitional Government. Allawi is the author of The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace and The Crisis of Islamic Civilization (2009), which was praised by The New York Times Book Review as “...the most comprehensive historical account of the disastrous aftermath of the American invasion.” Allawi has also served as a professor at Oxford University and a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

Watch Ali Allawi's keynote speech here.

Sheila Dinotshe Tlou


Sheila Dinotshe Tlou was formerly a parliament member and Minister of Health of the Republic of Botswana. A professor of nursing at the University of Botswana and former director of a WHO Collaborating Centre in Primary Health Care, 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. She has played a key role in the development of national nursing and pre-medical education curricula, working to broaden the scope of health sciences education in her home country of Botswana. Tlou has been involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Botswana since 1985.

Elisabeth Rhyne


Elisabeth Rhyne is 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. She is the managing director of the Center for Financial Inclusion at ACCION International. Rhyne has published numerous articles and four books on microfinance, including Mainstreaming Microfinance: How Lending to the Poor Began, Grew and Came of Age in Bolivia (2001). She was also co-editor of The New World of Microenterprise Finance (1994), which provided the introduction to microfinance for many of the field’s current professionals.

Jan Egeland


Named in 2006 by Time Magazine as one of “the 100 most influential people of the 20th century,” Jan Egeland’s compassion and deep commitment to humanitarian, human rights, and peace work spans more than 25 years. He currently is the deputy director of Human Rights Watch and the director of Human Rights Watch Europe. In the past, he has served as the United Nation’s lead coordinator for humanitarian assistance and as secretary general of the Norwegian Red Cross. Egeland's distinguished career also includes service to his government as state secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Egeland is the author of the book A Billion Lives: An Eyewitness Report from the Frontlines of Humanity (2008).

Richard J. Goldstone


A former South African Supreme Court Justice, Richard J. Goldstone is seen as one of the world’s foremost human rights champions. Goldstone 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). As chair of the Commission of Inquiry Regarding Public Violence and Intimidations (also known as the Goldstone Commission) he played an integral role in managing South Africa’s transition away from apartheid. He recently served as head of the United Nations’ Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.

Raufa Hassan Al-Sharki


Raufa Hassan al-Sharki (1958-2011) was 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. A leading advocate of women's rights and democratization, she wrote a regular newspaper column for many years, directed a program that registered women voters throughout Yemen, and has played a key role in training women candidates for parliament and local councils. Her work focused on the advancement of human rights and dignity in Yemen, the Middle East, and the world.

Anthony Zinni


Called “one of the most respected and outspoken military leaders of the past two decades” by CBS News, Anthony Zinni is a retired marine corps general who served as special envoy for former Secretary of State Colin Powell in the Middle East. Among his many commands, Zinni has served as head of the Special Operations and Terrorism Counteraction section of the Marines; chief of staff of the Marine Air-Ground Training and Education Center at Quantico Marine Corps Training Facility; and deputy director of operations U.S.-European Command. He is the subject of Tom Clancy's book, Battle Ready, the fourth volume in his series of profiles of American military commanders.

Dai Qing


Dai Qing is a prominent Chinese dissident intellectual, environmentalist, and investigative journalist. Trained as a guided missile engineer, Dai originally worked in Chinese military intelligence before becoming an independent journalist. She drew the ire of the government in the mid-1980s when she became an outspoken advocate against the controversial Three Gorges Dam, a massive dam five times wider than the Hoover Dam that raised major environmental concerns. Dai completely broke with the Communist Party after the Tiananmen conflict. "My mission is in China," Dai said. "I will not say, OK, I will leave China and have a better life. This is where I am supposed to be − serving as the conscience (of the nation) in the spirit of the public intellectual."

Roy Gutman


Roy Gutman is the Europe Bureau Chief for McClatchy Newspapers, based in Istanbul. Previously, he served as McClatchy’s Baghdad bureau chief and before that as foreign editor. He has also been a diplomatic correspondent for Newsweek and director of American University’s Crimes of War Project. As one of 15 senior fellows from around the world at the U.S. Institute of Peace, he focused his research on "International Humanitarian Law and the Media: The Case of Afghanistan." Gutman’s reports from Bosnia-Herzegovina in the early 1990s were the first documented accounts of Serb-run concentration camps and earned him a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting.

Alain Destexhe


Alain Destexhe is the first deputy chairman of the Belgian Senate’s Committee of Foreign Affairs. He trained as a physician before completing graduate studies at the Paris Institute of Political Studies. In the early 1990s, he was secretary-general of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and later was president of the International Crisis Group in Brussels. He has published extensively on international humanitarian issues—including his book Rwanda and Genocide in the 20th Century (1995)—and has served as an international observer during several elections in Asia, Central America, and Europe. He was initiator and then secretary of the Belgian Senate Special Committee of Inquiry into the Genocide in Rwanda.

Carlos Alzugaray


Carlos Alzugaray is a Cuban diplomat and scholar with 40 years of experience representing the Cuban government around the world. The Havana-born diplomat was appointed to his first position in 1961 in the Cuban Embassy in Tokyo. Since that time, he has served in diplomatic and consular posts in Bulgaria, Argentina, Canada, Ethiopia, Kenya, Belgium, and at the United Nations. For over 30 years, Alzugaray was on the faculty of the Raul Roa Garcia Institute for Advanced International Studies, which serves as the Cuban foreign service institute. He was also an adjunct professor at the University of Havana, and he was honored for his teaching by the Cuban Teachers and Scientific Workers' Union.

Hanan Ashrawi


Hanan Ashrawi is the spokeswoman for the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, a member of the Palestine Liberation Council, and former Minister of Education in the Palestinian Authority. At the time of her selection she was, in addition to being a scholar, the secretary general of the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy. Ashrawi was 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. The daughter of one of the founders of the PLO, she has been active in political causes since her teens and was secretary general of the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy.