MSU College of Law

Talsky Center Lecture Series and Symposia

The Lori E. Talsky Center for Human Rights of Women and Children is dedicated to bringing to the MSU Law campus a range of speakers who are experts in international human rights or humanitarian law, or who are particularly knowledgeable about one of the ongoing crises engendered by violations of such law.


Monday, September 11, 2017
The Bystander’s Crime:  Lessons from the Holocaust
Amos N. Guiora, Professor of Law, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah, and Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.), Israel Defense Forces
11:45 to 1:45 (lunch at 11:30)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Monday, October 16, 2017 (two speakers)
A Survivor of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Bears Witness
Setsuko Thurlow
Is It Legal to Use or Threaten to Use Nuclear Weapons?
Elliott Lee Meyrowitz, Ph.D., J.D., Professor of History, Macomb Community College, and author of PROHIBITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS: THE RELEVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW (cited in dissent to opinion of the International Court of Justice)
11:45 to 1:45 (lunch at 11:30)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Monday, October 30, 2017
Would a Monument to Hitler Violate Human Rights Law? And What About a Monument to Robert E. Lee?
Dr. Lucas Lixinski, Senior Lecturer, Co-Director of Postgraduate Studies, UNSW Law, Sydney, Australia
11:45 to 1:45 (lunch at 11:30)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Monday, November 13, 2017
(Co-sponsored with the MSU Law Triangle Bar)
Do Members of the LBGTQ Community Have Human Rights?
Graeme Reid, Director, Human Rights Watch’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program
11:45 to 1:45 (lunch at 11:30)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room 

Monday, December 4, 2017
Child Trafficking: Can Good Intentions Cause Harm?
Michelle Oliel, LL.M., J.D., Attorney, Trial Chamber, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia;  Co-founder and Executive Director, Stahili Foundation; Human Rights Adviser, Talsky Center for Human Rights of Women and Children, MSU Law
11:45 to 1:45 (lunch at 11:30)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Monday, January 22, 2018
In Litigation: Do Detroit Schoolchildren Have a Fundamental Right to Literacy Under the U.S. Constitution and, If So, Has Michigan Violated It?
Mark Rosenbaum, Lead Counsel for Plaintiffs in Pending Litigation; Director, Public Counsel Opportunity Under Law, Public Counsel Law Firm;  formerly Chief Counsel, ACLU of Southern California; formerly Professor of Law, The University of Michigan Law School
11:45 to 1:45 (lunch at 11:30)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Monday, February 12, 2018
Do Human Rights Matter and Why Should We Care?
Beth Simmons, Professor in Law and Political Science, University of Pennsylvania Law School
11:45 to 1:45 (lunch at 11:30)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Would the World Be Better Without the U.N.?
Thomas G. Weiss, Presidential Professor of Political Science, The Graduate Center, CUNY
11:45 to 1:45 (lunch at 11:30)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room 

Monday, April 2, 2018
HATE SPEECH: Illegal Under International Human Rights Law?
Stephanie Farrior, Professor of Law And Director of the Center for Applied Human Rights, Vermont Law School
11:45 to 1:45 (lunch at 11:30)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room


Thursday, September 22, 2016
Teach-In: Human Rights Crisis in Turkey: Purge of Thousands Violates Human Rights and Due Process
(co-sponsored with MSU Law’s Graduate and International Programs)
Seval Yildirim, Associate Dean & Prof. of Law, Whittier Law School
Ermine Evered, Assoc. Prof., Dep’t of History, MSU
Timur Kocaoglu, Prof. of International Relations, James Madison College, MSU
Noon to 1:15 (lunch at 11:45)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
A Detention Center for U.S. Citizens: Homan Square, Where the Bill of Rights Goes to Die and Minorities Enter the Abyss
Spencer Ackerman, journalist who broke the story in The Guardian
11:45 to 1:45 (lunch at 11:30)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Monday, October 17, 2016
Spanking Children: Science Says It Produces Long-Term Harm, Law Says It’s a Human Rights Violation
Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff, Associate Professor, Dep’t of Human Development & Family Sciences, University of Texas at Austin
11:45 to 1:45 (lunch at 11:30)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Monday, November 14, 2016
The Laws of War: Do They Matter?
Laurie Blank, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the International Humanitarian Law Clinic, Emory University School of Law
11:45 to 1:45 (lunch at 11:30)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Is There Any Justice in A World Wracked by Mass Atrocities? If There Isn’t or Isn’t Much, Can There Be?
Stephen J. Rapp, formerly, Ambassador-at-Large from U.S. Office of Global Criminal Justice; presently, Sonia and Harry Blumenthal Distinguished Fellow for the Prevention of Genocide, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
11:45 to 1:45 (lunch at 11:30)
MSU Law, Room 472

Wednesday, February 1, 2017
What You Always Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask--About Talsky Center-Funded Externships
Michelle Oliel, Attorney for the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia; Advisor to the Talsky Center; Co-Founder of the Stahili Foundation
Namira Islam, Graduate of MSU Law, Attorney, and former Talsky Center extern; Co-Founder & Executive Director of Muslim ARC
12:10 to 1:25 (lunch at 11:55)
MSU Law, Room 345

Monday, February 20, 2017
A Former Child Soldier Speaks
Michel Chikwanine, former child soldier, Democratic Republic of Congo
11:45 to 1:45 (lunch at 11:30)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Monday, March 27, 2017
Symposium on Immigrants’ Rights Under International Law

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Morten Kjaerum, Director of Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Sweden; Chair, Board of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles

PANEL #1: ESPECIALLY VULNERABLE MIGRANT POPULATIONS: CHILDREN, WOMEN, AND INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS: Sumudu Atapattu, Director, Research Centers & Coordinator, UW-Madison Human Rights Program, University of Wisconsin Law School; Michael Garcia Bochenek, Senior Counsel, Children’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch; Roberta Cohen, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; Karen Musalo, Professor of Law and Director of Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, U.C. Hastings College of Law

PANEL #2: INTERNATIONAL LAW GOVERNING MIGRANT POPULATIONS: OVERARCHING PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS: Vincent Chetail, Professor of Public International Law and Director of Global Migration Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland; Juss Satvinder, Professor of Law, King’s College, London, England; E. Tendayi Achiume, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law; Colin Harvey, Professor of Human Rights Law, School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast, Ireland

10:00 to 5:20
MSU Law, Castle Board Room


Wed., September 9, 2015
“Marshall Islands v. The 8 Declared Nuclear Armed Nations + Israel (International Court of Justice), Seeking an Order Requiring Defendants to Negotiate Ban on Nuclear Weapons”
Phon van den Biesen, Co-Agent and Counsel for Marshall Islands, and Partner with law firm of Van Den Biesen Kloostra (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Noon to 1:30 p.m. (lunch at 11:45)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Mon., November 2, 2015
“An American Tragedy, A Bloody Injustice: Police Killings of Unarmed Black Men and Boys”
Rita Izsak, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues
Noon to 1:30 p.m. (lunch at 11:45)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Monday, November 16, 2015
“Nontraditional Jobs for J.D.s in Human Rights: Three Great Examples”
Michelle Harrison, Staff Attorney, EarthRights International
Amanda Green Hawkins, Director of Civil & Human Rights, United Steelworkers of America
Samer Muscati, Senior Researcher, Human Rights Watch, Women’s Rights Division
Noon to 1:30 p.m. (lunch at 11:45)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Monday, February 1, 2016
“International Commercial Surrogacy, Child Laundering and Related Abuses: It Takes a ‘Village’ to Commodify a Child”
Professor David M. Smolin, Cumberland School of Law, Director of Center for Children, Law and Ethics
11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. (lunch at 11:30)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Co-Sponsored with MSU Law: First MSU Law Teach-In on Flint Water Debacle: The Crisis, Its Public Health Effects, and Its Environmental Injustice Aspects
Speakers: Curt Guyette, MI ACLU Investigative Reporter; Dr. Susan Buchanan, Director, Great Lakes Center for Children’s Environmental Health at University of Illinois, Chicago School of Public Health; and Jeremy Orr, Environmental Justice Coordinator, Wayne State University Law School’s Transnational Environmental Law Clinic.
11:50 A.M. to 1:50 P.M., MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Thursday, February 18, 2016
Co-Sponsored with MSU Law: Second MSU Law Teach-In on Flint Water Debacle: Legal and Political Responses
Speakers: Cary McGehee, Founding Partner, law firm of Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers, P.C.; Eric Scorsone, Associate Professor of Economics and Founding Director of MSU Extension Center for Local Government and Policy; Mark Totten, Associate Professor of Law, Michigan State University College of Law.
Noon to 1:45 P.M., MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Monday, February 29, 2016
“Michigan Attorneys Speak on Child Custody, Best Interests of the Child, and Parental Alienation: A Panel Discussion Inspired by Judge Gorcyca’s Holding Children in Contempt and Committing Them to a Juvenile Detention Facility”
Lisa Stern, Partner, Hertz Schram, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Reena Sommer, Psychology PhD, Expert on Parental Alienation Syndrome
Henry S. Gornbein, Senior Partner, Lippitt O’Keefe Gornbein, PLLC, Birmingham, MI
11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. (lunch at 11:30)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Friday, March 25, 2016
Symposium: “U.S. Torture of Detainees as a Human Rights Violation”

Co-sponsored with the Michigan Psychological Association and the Michigan Psychological Association Foundation

Keynote Speaker: Manfred Nowak, former U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Panel #1: Effects of Torture on Victims, Perpetrators, and Involved Professionals: Dr. Allen Keller (physician specializing in treating torture victims), Joshua Phillips (journalist & author of book on torture’s effects on perpetrators), Ronald Meister (attorney representing military nurse who refused to force feed), and Dr. Stephen Soldz (psychologist leading opposition to American Psychological Association connivance in torture)

Panel #2: Legal System Responses to U.S. Torture: Professor David Luban, Georgetown Law; Professor David Bosco , American University (International Politics); Professor Ronald Slye, Seattle University School of Law; and Katherine Gallagher, Senior Staff Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights

10:00 a.m. to 5:20 p.m.
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Friday, April 22, 2016
Co-Sponsored with MSU Law: Education, Law, and Detroit
Speakers Include: Dr. Joyce Baugh, CMU Political Science; Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press; Lamar Lemmons, DPS Board Member; Dr. Mary Mason, MSU Education Policy Center; Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, former DPS teacher; Rep. Brian Banks, Detroit Caucus Chairperson; Dr. Eric Scorsone, MSU Center for Local Government Finance & Policy; Craig Thiel, Citizens Research Council; and Bethany Wicksall, House Fiscal Agency.
10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., MSU Law, Castle Board Room


Wednesday, September 10, 2014
“Did You Know Water Is a Human Right? UN Says Cutoff to Detroiters Is a Violation!”
Stephen Gasteyer, professor, MSU sociology department
12:20 p.m. to 1:20 p.m. (beverages will be served)
MSU Law, Room 474

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
“Law Firm Attorneys Speak: Combining Traditional Practice with Pro Bono Human Rights Law Work”
Matthew Rooney, partner at Mayer Brown
Kristin Mendoza, associate at Latham & Watkins
Chad Doobay, associate at Katten Muchin Rosenman
Noon to 1:30 p.m. (lunch at 11:45 a.m.)
MSU Law, Room 471

Wednesday, November 12, 2014
“Who Knew? Yes, There Is an International Human Right to Peace”
The Honorable Douglas Roche, former member of Canadian Parliament, Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament, and Chairman of the U.N. Disarmament Committee at the 43rd General Assembly
Noon to 1:30 p.m. (lunch at 11:45 a.m.)
MSU Law, Room 471

Wednesday, February 4, 2015
“Reparations and an Apology for Slavery: The Caribbean Quest”
Martyn Day, senior partner at Leigh Day (London, England), and the attorney representing Caricom (Caribbean Nations) in this matter
Noon to 1:30 p.m. (lunch at 11:45 a.m.)
MSU Law, Castle Board Room

Fri., Mar. 27, 2015
Symposium: “Live and Let Die: Can Political Indifference to Mass Atrocity Be Overcome by Laws on Humanitarian Intervention or the Doctrine of Responsibility to Protect”?
Speakers: Profs. Aiden Hehir (Univ. Westminster, UK), Ved Nanda (Univ. Denver Law Coll.), Ciaran James Burke (Univ. Jena, Germany), Conor Foley (Pontifical Catholic University, Brazil), Taylor B. Sebolt (Univ. Pittsburgh), Ibrahim Gassama (Univ. Oregon Law), James Turner Johnson (Rutgers), and Marcos Tourinho (Ctr. For Int’l Relations, Fundacao Getulio Vargas)
10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
MSU Law, Castle Board Room


October 16, 2013
“Humanitarian Intervention in Rwanda: When an Uncaring World Forsakes Black Lives and Blue Helmets”
Lieutenant-General (Ret’d) The Honorable Romeo Dallaire, Commander of U.N. Peacekeeping Forces in Rwanda (1993–94)

November 7–8, 2013
Symposium: Whether the United States Should Become a Party to the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
Co-sponsor: Michigan State Law Review

February 5, 2014
“Food: You Have a Human Right to It—No Matter What Congress Says”

Dr. Ioana Cismas, coordinator at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, consultant at the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, and former advisor to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

March 12, 2014
“Beyond Obamacare: Working Towards the Human Right to Healthcare in the United States”

Catherine Albisa, executive director of the National Economic & Social Rights Initiative, constitutional and human rights lawyer

April 2, 2014
“Prolonged Solitary Confinement of Prisoners as a Violation of International Human Rights Law”

David Fathi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project


March 15, 2012
“Ending Impunity for Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, And Genocide Perpetrated On Civilians”
Michele Oliel, Fellow, Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
Press release »

March 29, 2012
“From Apartheid to War Crimes: Protecting Human Rights”
Bakone J. Moloto, Justice, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
Press release »

September 10, 2012
Externship Information Session: International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
Speakers: Sana Abid and Namira Islam, summer 2012 ICTY externs
Moderator: Elliot Spoon, assistant dean for career development
For more information (PDF) »

October 3, 2012
“Multiculturalism and Human Rights: The Increasing Challenge of Competing Rights Domestically and Abroad”
Dr. Karen Mock, Canadian psychologist and human rights activist
For more information (PDF) »
Press release »

November 7, 2012
Debate: Whether Transnational Corporations Should Be or Are Already Subject to International Human Rights Law
Co-sponsor: The Federalist Society
Professor Jernej Letnar Cernic, Faculty of Law, European University Institute, Slovenia
James P. Kelly, III, The Federalist Society’s expert jurist on international affairs

March 13, 2013
“Some Seventy Years After Nuremberg:  Laws of War and Human Rights Violations During the Bush–Cheney Era”
Jordan J. Paust, the Mike and Teresa Baker Professor of International Law at University of Houston Law Center

April 4–5, 2013
Symposium: Whether the U.S. Should Become a Party to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child
Symposium website »