Ralph G. Steinhardt, Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence, spoke with participants in the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) about human rights in the United States and abroad, highlighting past successes, and present challenges. The participants were comprised of journalists, government officials, members of civil society, and others engaged in the field of human rights from 20 different countries across five continents. Professor Steinhardt, who has dedicated his career to advancing human rights and increasing accountability for human rights violations, addressed the group and spoke about the tools available to lawyers and others seeking to make an impact in this field.
"Human rights have never been the single or dominant driver of American foreign policy, but war and national security crises tend to be human rights crises in their late, unaddressed stages," Professor Steinhardt said. "Respecting human rights is in the the long-term, sophisticated, and reciprocal self-interest of powerful governments."
The group's visit to GW Law was part of a three-week trip to the United States, where they will explore the human rights components of U.S. foreign policy, examine the work of the organizations that monitor or advocate for international human rights issues, and discuss how grassroots organizations seek to influence human rights policy at the local, state, national, and international levels.
Launched in 1940, IVLP is the State Department's premier professional exchange program. Through short-term visits to the United States, current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience this country firsthand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts.