About Our Guest

Deena Hurwitz is director of the Human Rights Program and the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law. From 2000-03, she was the Robert M. Cover/Allard K. Lowenstein Fellow in International Human Rights with the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School. While at Yale she co-supervised the law school’s human rights clinic, coordinated events sponsored by the Schell Center, and taught International Human Rights at Yale College.

Before entering academia, Hurwitz served as a legal counselor with the Washington Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. She spent 1997-99 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she was director of the International Human Rights Law Group’s Bosnia program for 14 months. Before joining the Law Group, Hurwitz served as an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) liaison officer to the Human Rights Coordination Centre of the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In 1997, Hurwitz worked in Ramallah (Israeli-occupied Palestinian Territory) with the Centre for International Human Rights Enforcement, as executive administrator for a project involving human rights enforcement under a European Union-Israel trade agreement. She has also been a consultant with the Women’s Division of Human Rights Watch, investigating violations of women’s rights under Morocco’s Family Code.

Before attending law school at Northeastern University, she worked more than 10 years for the California-based Resource Center for Nonviolence, where she was involved in capacity building and training with nongovernmental organizations in the United States and the Middle East. Between 1981 and 1993, she led regular delegations of U.S. citizens on study tours of the Middle East, and spent a sabbatical year (1989-90) in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Hurwitz has edited Walking the Red Line, Israelis in Search of Justice for Palestine, and authored “Lawyering for Justice and the Inevitability of International Human Rights Clinics” (Yale J. Int’l L. , 2003). More recently, she has served as a consultant with Global Rights in Afghanistan, and with the Center for Justice and Accountability in Lebanon.

Program Transcript

Jan Paynter: Hello. I’m Jan Paynter and I want to welcome you once again to our program Politics Matters. Today we are continuing with part two of our conversation with Deena Hurwitz, Professor of Law at the University of Virginia. Welcome back, Deena.

Deena Hurwitz: Thank you.

Jan Paynter: Deena, let’s talk about a term that’s used often but perhaps not well understood and that is the doctrine of exceptionalism. What does it mean in general terms and what should we understand about it?

Read more