Moral and Political Reconstruction in Post-conflict Societies

Date & time

Oct 1, 2010, 1:00-2:30 pm EDT


Weill Hall

José Zalaquett
International Human Rights Lawyer
Professor, University of Chile School of Law

José Zalaquett is one of Latin America's leading authorities on human rights. He is an international human rights lawyer, Professor at the University of Chile School of Law, and co-Director of its Human Rights Center.

He will speak about accountability for human rights abuses, drawing significantly on his own experiences in a wide range of countries, including Chile.

After the 1973 coup d'état in Chile, José Zalaquett headed the Human Rights Department of the Committee for Peace, later known as the Vicaría de la Solidaridad, a church-sponsored organization that provided legal assistance to thousands of political prisoners and their families in Chile. For this work he was imprisoned and expelled from Chile in 1976. During his ten years of exile, he was involved with Amnesty International, including serving as Chairman of the International Executive Committee.

José Zalaquett has conducted human rights missions in Africa, the Americas, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, and advised various governments, inter-governmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations on human rights and legal issues.

Since 1984 he has worked on truth and justice commissions and in situations of political transition in Argentina (1984), Uruguay (1985), the Philippines (1987), Uganda (1987), El Salvador (1993), South Africa (1994 through 2003), Guatemala (1996), Yugoslavia (2000), Peru (2001-2003), Paraguay (2004), and Morocco (2009). In 1990 he was appointed by the President of Chile to serve on the National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, a body charged with preparing a report about the human rights abuses committed during the Pinochet regime (1973-1990).

José Zalaquett has received honorary doctorates from the University of Notre Dame and the City University of New York, the National Prize for Humanities and Social Sciences (Chile, 2003), the MacArthur Foundation Award (1990-95), the UNESCO Prize for the Teaching of Human Rights (1994), the medal 'Hero of Peace,' bestowed by the Chilean President of the Republic (2006), and the Kellogg Institute Prize for Distinguished Public Service in Latin America (2009).

This lecture is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by:
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, The International Policy Center (IPC), and the Center for International and Comparative Studies (CICS)