Faculty Research Profiles


As Professor of International Law and former Co-Director (with Eileen Babbitt) of the Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Program, Hurst Hannum is active on academic and policy fronts around the world.

Hannum returns to teaching at Fletcher in September 2018, after a one-year sabbatical at the University of Oxford and in Washington, DC, during which he completed a manuscript for Cambridge University Press on the future of human rights. The book, which is in part a rebuttal to a number of recent publications challenging the continuing relevance of human rights in the 21st century, will be published in 2019. He has spoken on this topic at a number of institutions, including the Hertie School of Governance (Berlin), Central European University (Budapest), and George Washington, Harvard, and Minnesota law schools. Hannum's other recent non-Fletcher activities include lecturing in the annual summer program in international human rights law co-sponsored by George Washington University and the University of Oxford, and teaching at Central European University (2010-011) and the University of Hong Kong (2006-2008).

In 2017, Hannum published the 6th edition of one of the leading casebooks in the field of human rights, Human Rights: Problems of Law, Policy and Practice, with co-authors Dinah Shelton (George Washington University), S. James Anaya (University of Colorado), and Rosa Celorio (Inter-American Commission of Human Rights). As part of his work on the UN, Hannum has participated in recent meetings of the Human Rights Council and annual forums on minority issues and human rights and business. As a consultant to the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, he authored and edited Promoting and Protecting Minority Rights: A Guide for Advocates, published in 2012.

From 2011 to 2013, Hannum was a member of a group of experts convened by the Transitional Justice Institute of the University of Ulster, which adopted the Belfast Guidelines on Amnesty and Accountability, published in Oct. 2013. He also helped to draft the Athens Principles on the Right to Partcipate in Sport, which were presented at an international conference in Athens sponsored by Simmons College, Harvard's Weatherhead Initiative on Global History, and the leading Greek soccer club, Olympiacos. Other recent conferences and lectures include a workshop on minority protection regimes, sponsored by the Tom Lantos Institute (Budapest); a conference on the U.S., China, and International Law (Beijing), sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Contemporary China; a panel on The Individual Petition Procedure in International Human Rights Law (New York), at the annual meeting of the American Branch of the International Law Association; and a conference on the impact of the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, held at Columbia University.

Since 2014, Hannum has been interviewed or quoted on various international issues by Military Times, US News and World Report, the Serbian-language weekly magazine Nedeljnik Republika Srpska, Norwegian Broadcasting Company, Pravda (Bratislava), Morocco World News, Middle East Online, Boston Herald, Voice of America (Asia), Wall Street Journal, Asahi Shimbun (Tokyo), and Semana Weekly (Colombia).

Hannum's regular course offerings include the introductory course, “International Human Rights Law”, as well as two seminars. The fall seminar, “Nationalism, Self-Determination, and Minority Rights”, explores the theoretical and legal foundations and practical implications of claims of nationhood and self-determination. In the spring, “Current Issues in Human Rights” offers students the opportunity to discuss a number of contemporary human rights issues in greater depth; in recent years, these issues have included equality and non-discrimination; democracy; economic, social, and cultural rights; and humanitarian intervention.