Afronomicslaw Indaba 4: Featuring Mr. Michael Fakhri, Special Rapporteur on Right to Food

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Abstract

Welcome to the fourth Afronomicslaw.org Indaba. Indaba is a Zulu word that refers to a meeting to discuss a serious topic. It also refers to a discussion on a matter of concern or for discussion. This occasional series discusses issues about international economic law as relating to Africa, the developing world and the Global South. The discussion introduces expert voices to our audience who work very hard on the issues we care most about at Afronomicslaw.org. These individuals do so often behind the scenes, invisible to our audience yet their insights are invaluable to the work we do.

Our guest for this Indaba is Professor Michael Fakhri. Professor Fakhri was appointed Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food by the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2020 and assumed his functions on 1 May 2020. He is a Professor at the University of Oregon School of Law where he teaches courses on human rights, food law, development, and commercial law. He is also the director of the Food Resiliency Project in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center. He received his Doctorate from the University of Toronto, Masters from Harvard Law School, Bachelor of Laws from Queen’s University, and a Bachelor of Science in Ecology from Western University.

He has taught courses on the right to food at Harvard Law School, European University Institute, and the University of Arizona Indigenous Governance Program. He has also led public dialogues on human rights and development with peasant organizations, labor unions, and human rights activists in the Arab region and North America, and at international organizations such as the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Ministerial Conference. During his practice as a lawyer, Professor Fakhri fought for the rights of people who were indigent and incarcerated in a psychiatric institution. His publications include “A History of Food Security and Agriculture in International Trade Law 1945 – 2017” published in the European Yearbook of International Economic Law in 2020, “Food as a Matter of Global Governance” published in the Journal of International Law and International Relations in 2015, and a ground-breaking monograph entitled Sugar and the Making of International Trade Law published by Cambridge University Press 2014.

In “Introduction – Questioning TWAIL’s agenda” Oregon Review of International Law 2012 Professor Fakhri noted that his politics led him to Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL). He wrote, “I suspect that if I did not come across TWAIL I would have had to invent it.” He concluded his study of TWAIL’s Agenda in that paper by stating “I can let my scholarship be determined by my rage at seeing international law yet again define and subjugate people in former colonies. Or I can expose articulate and scrutinize the hopes and expectations I had that led to that rage. I can then craft narratives that connect various ideas together and share my experiences with others. And it is in these moments of telling different stories and listening to others where change happens.” We are delighted to discuss Professor Fakhri’s brilliant work so far and plans for his Mandate as Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2021

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