Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and a Lecturer in Public Policy. Former Executive Director of the Center for Victims of Torture based in St. Paul, MN.
Douglas Johnson became the first Executive Director of the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) in 1988 after a series of acting directors; he was tasked by the Board to build the organization to the stature merited by Governor Perpich’s founding vision for the first treatment center in the United States for torture survivors. Johnson stepped down January 31, 2012, after nearly 24 years heading the organization. During his tenure, CVT provided healing services to over 23,000 torture survivor in its clinical sites in Minnesota, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Jordan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or Kenya.
Johnson has a lengthy record working in the human rights arena, having launched the Nestle Boycott in 1977 and having co-founded the Infant Formula Action Coalition (INFACT) the same year. He served as INFACT’s first Executive Director until 1984. He also cofounded the International Nestle Boycott Committee (INBC) and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBAN). The latter organization played a critical role in developing and passing the United Nations’ first code to control the marketing practices of international companies.
In his keynote address, Johnson will discuss the extent of torture in the world, how and why it is used, and global efforts to end the practice. He will talk about the Convention Against Torture and its Optional Protocol. And he will address the decision by the Bush Administration to engage in forms of torture and the impact that had on national security and torture’s renewed prevalence in the world.
Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute and Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.
Kathryn Sikkink works on international norms and institutions, transnational advocacy networks, the impact of human rights law and policies, and transitional justice. Her publications include The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions are Changing World Politics (awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Center Book Award, and the WOLA/Duke University Award); Mixed Signals: U.S. Human Rights Policy and Latin America; Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (co-authored with Margaret Keck and awarded the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas for Improving World Order, and the ISA Chadwick Alger Award for Best Book in the area of International Organizations); and The Persistent Power of Human Rights: From Commitment to Compliance, (co-edited with Thomas Risse and Stephen Ropp). She holds an MA and Ph.D. from Columbia University. Sikkink has been a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina and a Guggenheim fellow. She is a fellow of the American Philosophical Society, the American Association for Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the editorial board of the International Studies Quarterly, International Organization, and the American Political Science Review.