The annual Valerie Gordon Human Rights Lecture, established in 1993, honors outstanding lawyers, judges, scholars and advocates who work to advance human rights and social justice. The lecture is named in honor of the late Valerie Gordon '93, a lawyer and advocate for human rights in the US and internationally. Her commitment to human rights and social justice shown is shared and celebrated by the Northeastern law school community.

Each year, in conjunction with the Valerie Gordon Lecture, the law school's chapter of the Black Law Students Association sponsors a human rights essay contest for first-year law students. The essay topic is announced annually by BLSA, and "The Spirit of Valerie Gordon Award" is presented at the Gordon Lecture each spring.  The 2013 essay winner was Scheagbe Mayumi Grigsby ’15 for her essay entitled “Enforcing Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: A Stark Dichotomy."

The 2013 Valerie Gordon Lecture was held on Wednesday, March 27 at noon. This year’s lecture was delivered by Philip Alston, the John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at New York University School of Law (photo, above). Philip Alston's teaching focuses primarily on international law and international human rights law. Professor Alston was UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions from 2004 to 2010, and chaired the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights from 1990 to 1998.

 

Valerie Gordon Human Rights Lecturers 

2014

Penelope "Penny" Andrews, Dean and President, Albany Law School

April 17, 2014 

2013

Philp Alston, John Norton Pomerory Professor of Law, New York University School of Law (watch video)

2012

Terry McGovern, Senior Program Officer, Human Right Division, Ford Foundation (view photos)

2011

Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Associate Professor of Law and Development and Director of the Program on Human Rights and Justice at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (watch now)

2010

The Honorable Manuel Cepeda, Constitutional Court of Colombia (watch now)

2009

Hauwa Ibrahim, Nigerian Human Rights Lawyer (watch now)

2008

Gay McDougall, Independent Expert on Minority Issues, United Nations 

2007

Dean Harold Koh, Yale Law Schoo

2006

Professor Carol Anderson, University of Missouri-Columbia

2005

Gordon Speaker: HillJaribu Hill (photo, left)
Executive Director and Founder, Mississippi Workers' Center for Human Rights

2004

Professor, Gerard Quinn, National Univerity of Ireland, Ireland

2003

Professor Abdullahi An-Na'im, Emory University School of Law

2002

Professor Charles Ogletree Jr, Harvard Law School

2001

Dean Makau Mutua, SUNY-Buffalo School of Law

2000

 Professor Adrien Wing, University of Iowa College of Law

1999

Loretta Ross, Executive Director, Center for Human Rights Education

1998

The Honorable Albert Louis Sachs, Constitutional Court of South Africa

1997

Franic Mading Deng, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

1996

The Honorable Nathaniel Jones, US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

1995

  The Honorable Dessima Williams, UN Ambassador, Grenada

1994

Randall Robinson, Executive Director, TransAfrica

2007 Gordon LectureBLSA Human Rights Essay Contest

Each year, in conjunction with the Valerie Gordon Lecture, the law school's chapter of the Black Law Students Association sponsors a human rights essay contest for first-year law students. The essay topic is announced annually by BLSA, and "The Spirit of Valerie Gordon Award" is presented at the Gordon Lecture each spring.