For further information on the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights please visit https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Forum/Pages/2019ForumBHR.aspx

For further information on the work of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights please visit https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Pages/WGHRandtransnationalcorporationsandotherbusiness.aspx 
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Wednesday, November 27 • 09:00 - 10:15
Research, engagement, advocacy: exploring the delicate role of the new ‘all-in-one BHR scholar’

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Session organized by the Business and Human Rights Journal; Global Business and Human Rights Scholars Association

Webcast of the session:
Meeting link
Meeting number: 840 368 810
Password: 7KAXPwtJ

Brief description of focus and objectives
The business and human rights (BHR) field is characterized by a high degree of engagement between scholars and practitioners, advocates, policy-makers and others, who interact closely and often move almost seamlessly from one role into the other. This raises the question about the proper place and purpose of scholarship and about the role of academics in the BHR field. Should BHR scholarship be engaged, take a stance, and advocate for human rights respect, or should it ‘merely’ observe and explain? To what extend can and ought BHR academics be political in their work and wear different ‘hats’ that may be seen as compromising the ‘neutrality’ of their research? At a more institutional level, should universities, and the dedicated BHR centers and initiatives they host, serve a mere ‘academic’ purpose or do they have a proactive role to play in advancing and advocating for human rights respect of companies? In connection with the 2019 Forum theme on the role of governments as catalysts for corporate human rights respect, this question is perhaps particularly relevant for public universities as a potential instrument of governments to advance human rights. However, the line between ‘engaged research’ and conflicts of interests is often thin and the ties that may result from such work can threaten academic freedom and independence.

This panel aims at exploring this delicate line between research, engagement, and advocacy and the consequences and ramifications – e.g., conflict of interest, loss of academic freedom, ‘corporate capture’ – that may result from ‘getting it wrong’.

Envisaged format of the session
Short and concise input statements by speakers that highlight different aspects of the subject. Moderated discussion among panelists. Then bulk of the time devoted to interaction with audience.

avatar for Michael Santoro

Michael Santoro

President, Global Business and Human Rights Scholars Association
I am Co-Founder and served as the first President of the Global Business and Human Rights Scholars Association (55 nations represented, so far) as well as Co-Founder and Co-Editor of the Business and Human Rights Journal. Would love to hear your ideas about scholarly and practitioner-oriented... Read More →

avatar for Rebecca MacKinnon

Rebecca MacKinnon

Director, New America
Rebecca MacKinnon directs the Ranking Digital Rights project at New America. (See rankingdigitalrights.org) A 2019-2020 University of California Free Speech and Civic Engagement Fellow, she is author of Consent of the Networked (2012), co-founder of Global Voices, a founding member... Read More →
avatar for Carolina Olarte-Bácares

Carolina Olarte-Bácares

Dean, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana
Carolina is an Dean and Associate Professor at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Bogotá. Colombia. Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague.Carolina holds a PhD degree in Law at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, a master’s degree in International Law from... Read More →
avatar for Florian Wettstein

Florian Wettstein

Director, Institute for Business Ethics, University of St. Gallen
CRAAD-OI is a Panafrican Organization based in Madagascar which  promotes sustainable development alternatives that are centered on the realization of human rights and based on the principles of gender equality, social, economic and ecological justice.
avatar for Olena Uvarova

Olena Uvarova

Head of Business and Human Rights Lab, Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, Ukraine
Dr. Olena Uvarova, PhD in Law (2010), Associate Professor, since 2018, she leads the International Lab on Business and Human Rights at Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University (Kharkiv, Ukraine). In June 2022, Olena joined Wageningen University, Law Group, as a Visiting Researcher.Her... Read More →

Wednesday November 27, 2019 09:00 - 10:15 CET