Session 3

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
12:00 - 1:30 pm
Carr Center Conference Room (Rubenstein-219)
Harvard Kennedy School of Government



Spring 2014 Study Group

Human Rights in Latin America:
a Glass Half Full or Half Empty?


Session Topic:

"Latin American Indigenous Movements and Human Rights Today"


Theodore MacDonald, Lecturer in Anthropology and Social Studies, Harvard University

Session Overview:

Ted Macdonald's talk will illustrate how closely Latin American indigenous movements now frame their work (particularly natural resource disputes) within emerging international human rights norms (i.e., not the same old protests and broad demands.), as well as oriented to resource disputes.

Preparatory readings:

More about Theodore MacDonald:

Theodore Macdonald is a Lecturer in Social Studies at Harvard University. From 1979-1994 he was Projects Director for the human rights NGO Cultural Survival at Harvard’s Peabody Museum and then Associate Director of the Program on Nonviolent Sanctions and Cultural Survival at Harvard's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs until 2005. His research and teaching focus on human rights, ethnicity and conflict, Latin America, indigenous peoples and the State, common property, land/natural resource disputes, and individual/collective property and citizenship rights. He co-edited, with David Maybury-Lewis, Manifest Destinies and Indigenous Peoples (DRCLAS/Harvard U. Press, 2009).

From 1983-1987 Macdonald was an invited observer during negotiations surrounding the armed conflict between Nicaragua’s Miskito Indian organizations and Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. He has worked directly on several indigenous/oil disputes in the Upper Amazon and, from 1996-2002, he directed the tripartite (indigenous organizations-environmental NGOs-oil corporations) Harvard Dialogues on Oil in Fragile Environments. In 1997 he undertook the ethnographic research and subsequently served as witness for the community in the precedent-setting 2001 indigenous land and natural resource rights case, Awas Tingni vs. Nicaragua, before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.