HRI’s mission is to promote understanding of and respect for human rights and the practice of human rights law, and to develop Georgetown Law’s place as a global leader in human rights. To carry out its mission, HRI works closely with the broad range of human rights faculty and staff experts at the Law Center as well as leaders in the global human rights movement, and manages programs and projects to generate and advance the research, writing, and advocacy work of students, alumni, and faculty.
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Professor From Practice
Andrew I. Schoenholtz, a scholar, teacher and practitioner of human rights law, is the Director of the Human Rights Institute. Additionally, he directs the Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies and the Center for Applied Legal Studies (the asylum clinic) at the Law Center. Professor Schoenholtz also serves as the Deputy Director of Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of International Migration.
He has worked closely with students for many years helping connect them to internships and positions with advocacy organizations, government agencies, and international organizations. He also advises the Global Law Scholar students and alumni who are advancing the rights of international migrants through the development of the International Migrants Bill of Rights Initiative.
Professor Schoenholtz has represented the UN High Commissioner for Refugees as well as human rights organizations in U.S. Supreme Court litigation, published scholarship that advances the rights of refugees as well as immigrant children under global human rights treaties, and taught refugee law courses abroad. Prior to teaching at Georgetown, Professor Schoenholtz served as Deputy Director of the US Commission on Immigration Reform. He also practiced immigration, asylum, and international law with the Washington, DC law firm of Covington & Burling. He has conducted fact-finding missions in Haiti, Cuba, Ecuador, Germany, Croatia, Bosnia, Malawi, and Zambia to study the root causes of forced migration, refugee protection, long-term solutions to mass migration emergencies, and humanitarian relief operations. Dr. Schoenholtz holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. from Brown University. Please click here for his full biography.
Professor Schoenholtz was appointed Director of the Human Rights Institute in the summer of 2013. However, his history with the Human Rights Institute goes back to its origins; he served as the faculty advisor who accompanied students on the first human rights fact-finding mission to Ecuador in the spring of 2006 to interview Colombian refugees in need of protection.
Patrick Griffith is the Dash/Muse Fellow with the Human Rights Institute. Before joining the Institute, Patrick spent more than four years as an attorney with Freedom Now, a legal advocacy organization that works to free individual prisoners of conscience. While at Freedom Now, he coordinated the organization's legal and advocacy portfolio on a number of cases involving imprisoned journalists, human rights defenders, and political dissidents. His legal work focused on engagement with international mechanisms, including the Human Rights Committee, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. In his advocacy, Patrick worked with the press and policy leaders to highlight the ongoing problem of wrongful imprisonment –including through testimony before the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
Patrick is a 2010 cum laude graduate of Georgetown, where he received a J.D. and a Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies. During law school, Patrick was active in the student group Human Rights Action and with the Institute –helping to propose and undertake the 2010 fact-finding mission that investigated the impact of free trade agreements on access to affordable medicine in the Dominican Republic. Patrick holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Michigan.
Becca Shopiro, Administrative Assistant, manages all financial, human resources, and administrative activities for the Institute, and organizes and coordinates events and meetings. She also assists the Center for National Security and the Law, Georgetown Climate Center, the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession, and the Center on Poverty and Inequality. In conjunction with working at Georgetown University, Becca is also earning her MBA through Georgetown's McDonough School of Business.
Prior to joining the Georgetown University Law Center, Ms. Shopiro was an environmental consultant with Eastern Research Group (ERG) and ICF International where she supported a variety of federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, on topics from energy and environment to safety and health. She is a 2012 graduate of Bucknell University.