Elsa Stamatopoulou

Elsa Stamatopoulou joined Columbia University (Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race and Department of Anthropology) in 2011 after a 31-year service at the United Nations (in Vienna, Geneva and New York) with some 22 years dedicated to human rights, in addition to 8 years exclusively devoted to Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Indigenous issues were part of her portfolio since 1983 and she became the first Chief of the Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2003. In 2011, she taught the first-ever course at Columbia on Indigenous Peoples’ rights, the first course on cultural rights (2016) and is the first Director of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Program at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia. Her academic background is in international law, criminal justice and political science (Athens Law School, Vienna University, Northeastern University and Graduate Institute of International Studies at the University of Geneva). She has worked on international normative frameworks, institution-building, the rights of Indigenous Peoples and other groups, women’s rights, cultural rights, development, private sector and inter-governmental cooperation. She has cooperated closely with non-governmental organizations and has received numerous awards. She has published widely and authored and edited a number of books, including Cultural Rights in International Law (Martinus Nijihoff, 2007).

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