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Human Rights Champion

Shelley Inglis will bring 15 years of United Nations' human rights experience to the University of Dayton when she begins her position as the Human Rights Center's executive director Aug. 16.

Inglis currently is a regional cluster leader in the U.N. Development Programme in Istanbul, where she manages a team that supports U.N. programs and policies in Europe and Central Asia to build democratic governance institutions, prevent corruption and conflict, and strengthen the rule of law and human rights.

"I look forward to expanding the University's human rights profile and making human rights central to the entire University of Dayton footprint, plus teaching and mentoring students in a rigorous and renowned academic setting," Inglis said. "I feel this is an extraordinary opportunity and fit for me as I'm especially interested in working in an academic institution that has a strong commitment to ethics and social justice."

Prior to her current appointment in 2014, Inglis was a policy adviser at U.N. headquarters in New York City for the U.N. Development Programme working on access to justice and governance dimensions of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Also called the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, it includes 17 goals to eliminate poverty and achieve human rights for everyone economically, socially and environmentally.

"Shelley's work with the U.N.'s sustainable development agenda aligns closely with our aspiration to be the University for the Common Good," said University of Dayton Provost Paul Benson. "Shelley will arrive on campus as we are discussing how to incorporate the U.N.'s sustainable development goals into the University's work to end poverty, safeguard the sustainability of the earth's resources and ensure access to education and justice for all."

From 2008 to 2011, Inglis served in the U.N.'s Rule of Law Unit and advised the UN’s deputy secretary-general on initiatives to ensure that national leaders are accountable to their laws and those laws are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. She was an adjunct professor at Barnard College at Columbia University during this time as well.

"At Barnard, Shelley crafted the first undergraduate course on the United Nations and international norms, which still is taught," said Natalie Hudson, director of the University of Dayton's human rights studies program. "She also has cultivated a network of human rights experts and organizations that she can bring to UD to connect with our students and establish research collaborations."

Prior to her work in the U.N.'s Rule of Law Unit, Inglis was a human rights officer in the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. In that role, Inglis helped set policy on human rights investigations and assessed human rights protection methods in Ivory Coast and legal systems monitoring in Afghanistan.

Before that, she had several stints in the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Organizations and U.N. Development Fund for Women. With the Department of Peacekeeping Organizations, Inglis coordinated the U.N. mine action team and supported the legal and judicial aspects of peacekeeping operations primarily in Africa.

Between earning a law degree from the Columbia University School of Law in 1999 and joining the U.N. in 2003, Inglis worked as an attorney with the Children's Law Center in Bronx, New York; as a rule of law officer with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Mission in Kosovo; and as a researcher with Amnesty International in Kosovo. She also established the Save the Children Office in central Bosnia and Herzegovina during the conflict there, prior to the Dayton Peace Accords.

"Her wealth of experience in several areas —  migration, refugees, human trafficking, poverty eradication, discrimination and violence issues — plus fundraising and relationship-building will strengthen the Human Rights Center's ability to provide a first-class human rights education and research opportunities for our students," said Jason Pierce, dean of the University of Dayton College of Arts and Sciences.

Tony Talbott, who served as the Human Rights Center's interim executive director, will remain at the center and will continue to bring leadership to the center's advocacy work, Pierce said.

The University of Dayton is a pioneer in human rights education. It started the country's first undergraduate human rights program in 1998 and offered one of the nation's first bachelor's degrees in human rights studies in 2008.


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