Hurst Hannum

Hurst Hannum

Mugar 250C
160 Packard Avenue, Medford, MA 02155
Research/Areas of Interest:

Public International Law; Human Rights and Conflict Resolution; International Protection of Human Rights; United Nations; United Nations; Nationalism and Self-Determination


  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • A.B., University of California, Berkeley


Hurst Hannum, Professor Emeritus of International Law, has taught courses on international human rights law, minority rights, public international law, international organizations, and nationalism and ethnicity. His focus is on human rights and its role in the international legal and political order, including, in particular, issues of self-determination, minority rights, and conflict resolution.

His scholarly work has been complemented by service as consultant/advisor to a number of intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, including the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and Department of Political Affairs. He has been counsel in complaints before European, Inter-American, and U.N. human rights bodies. Professor Hannum was most recently a senior research at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, University of Oxford, and he also has taught at the University of Hong Kong, Central European University (Budapest), Harvard, American University, Georgia, and Virginia.

Professor Hannum is the author or editor of numerous books and articles on international law and human rights, including "International Human Rights: Problems of Law, Policy, and Process," "Negotiating Self-Determination," "Guide to International Human Rights Practice," and "Autonomy, Sovereignty, and Self-Determination: The Accommodation of Conflicting Rights." His most recent book, "Rescuing Human Rights: A Radically Moderate Approach," will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2019. He serves on editorial advisory boards of Human Rights Law Review and Human Rights Quarterly.

Areas of expertise

Globalization & Trade
Human Rights
Humanitarian Affairs
International Law & Organizations
International Security
Negotiations & Conflict Resolution
Political Development

Professional Activities

  • Member of the California and District of Columbia Bars
  • Executive Director of the Procedural Aspects of International Law Institute, Washington, DC (1980-89)
  • Jennings Randolph Peace Fellow, US Institute of Peace, Washington, DC (1989-90)
  • Director, summer grants from the Reebok Corporation to evaluate nominees for the annual Reebok Human Rights Award, 1991-2005
  • Consultant to the International Center on Alcohol Policies (1996-2008)
  • Legal consultant to the United Nations and other organizations on East Timor, Afghanistan, Faroe Islands, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Aceh, Western Sahara, and international protection of minority rights

Other Affiliations

  • Center for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution
  • Henry J. Leir Institute for Human Security

Courses taught

Selected Publications and Presentations


"Human Rights," in The Oxford Handbook on International Law in Asia and the Pacific (Simon Chesterman and Ben Saul eds., Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2018)

"Reinvigorating Human Rights for the Twenty-first Century," 16 Human Rights Law Review 409 (2016), reprinted in Human Rights and 21st Century Challenges (Dapo Akande et al. eds., Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2018)

"Sovereignty, Self-Determination, and Autonomy," in The United States, China, and International Law (Jacques de Lisle and Willian Burke-White eds., forthcoming 2018)

"The United Nations and Human Rights," in Catarina Krause and Martin Scheinin, eds., International Protection of Human Rights: A Textbook (Institute for Human Rights, Åbo Akademi University, 2d rev. ed. 2012)

"The responsibility to protect: paradigm or pastiche?" 60 Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 135 (no. 2, 2009).

"Reforming the Special Procedures and Mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights," 7 Human Rights Law Review 73 (2007).

Hannum, Hurst. "Human Rights in Conflict Resolution: The Role of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in UN Peacemaking and Peacebuilding." 28 Human Rights Quarterly 1 (2006).

Hannum, Hurst. "Bellum Americanum." Fletcher Forum of World Affairs 27, no. 1 (2003): 29-38.

Babbitt, Eileen, Ellen Lutz and Hurst Hannum. "Human Rights and Conflict Resolution from the Practitioners' Perspective." The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs (Winter/Spring 2003).

Hannum, Hurst. "The Specter of Secession." Foreign Affairs 77, no. 2 (1998): 13-19.

Hannum, Hurst. "Rethinking Self-Determination." Virginia Journal of International Law 34, no. 1 (1993).

Oxford Bibliographies in International Relations, entries on Self-Determination and Minority Rights


Hannum, Hurst, Dinah Shelton, S. James Anaya, and Rosa Celorio, International Human Rights: Problems of Law, Policy, and Practice. Aspen Publishers, 6th ed. 2017.

Hannum, Hurst and Eileen Babbitt. Negotiating Self-Determination. Lexington Books, 2006.

Hannum, Hurst. Guide To International Human Rights Practice. Nijhoff, 4th ed. 2004.

Hannum, Hurst. Autonomy, Sovereignty, and Self-Determination: The Accommodation of Conflicting Rights. University of Pennsylvania Press, rev. ed. 1996.


"The Scottish Vote: Precedent or Pandora's Box?" Boston Globe (18 Sept. 2014)

"A Better Plan for Kosovo," Christian Science Monitor (7 May 2007)