McGill Centre for Human Rights & Legal Pluralism
January 2022 Newsletter


Upcoming events:

  • Jan 26: AML seminar with Esmeralda M.A. Thornhill


Upcoming Events


Black and white image of a Black woman wearing glasses and official robes

"Mothers-in-law": Changing the Rules
Annie Macdonald Langstaff seminar series

with Professor Esmeralda M.A. Thornhill
In conversation with Ruey-Yun Hung and Vanessa MacDonnell, McGill Law DCL candidates
Moderated by Shauna Van Praagh
Wednesday, January 26, 1:00-2:30 PM (ET)
Zoom: click here to access the event.

About the speaker
Professor Esmeralda Thornhill is a lawyer, linguist and pedagogue by training, a lecturer, researcher, anti-racism trainer and writer by experience, and a longtime social justice advocate and community organizer by conviction. Research Associate since 2014 with Concordia's Simone de Beauvoir Institute, she formally retired in 2016 from Dalhousie's Schulich Law School where when appointed first scholar to anchor the unprecedented James Robinson Johnston Endowed Chair in Black Canadian Studies (1996-2002), she became the first African Canadian woman to hold a Tenured Full Professorship of Law in Canada. Seasoned Human Rights scholar-practitioner and founding member of the Congress of Black Women of Canada, she pioneered the first university-accredited course on Black Women's Studies offered in Canada (Concordia, 1983). In 2012 McGill's Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism invited this former Fulbright Fellow to become its first O'Brien Fellow in Residence. Grounded in Critical Race Theory, her teaching, research and scholarship reflect an Afrocentric, anti-racist stance that resolutely addresses the "material reality" which Black people must navigate, nationally and globally. Besides degrees in languages and pedagogy (McGill), law degrees (UQAM, San Diego), post graduate studies in Spain, England and France, and international human rights law internships (UNESCO, Paris; Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Washington, D.C.), she holds Honorary Doctorates from CUNY and Concordia. Read more about Esmeralda Thornhill here. Bio photo credit here.

Zoom Jan 26:


CHRLP Forum and Blog


Image with the text Solidarity in an Interconnected World with 'world' in white lights

CHRLP Forum 2021–2022:
Solidarity in an Interconnected World

Inspired by the fabled meeting place in ancient Rome, the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (CHRLP) Forum is founded on the principles of inclusive citizenship and deliberative democracy. The Forum aspires to create a space for learning from the past, deliberating about the present, and building a common future together.
The CHRLP Forum aims to bring rich and plural insights on the concept of solidarity through engagement with diverse theories of change and ideas of justice.

We invite students, practitioners, and scholars to participate in discussion groups that will explore the nature of international solidarity as a way to bridge differences and opposites. This year's theme, Solidarity in an Interconnected World is detailed here.

Do you have an issue you would like to discuss?
Please email us at with a statement of intent, list of readings, and suggested discussion questions.  We look forward to hearing from you.


Generic image of computer screen with written text on it

Call for blogs

Do you have an upcoming article you would like to publicize? A blog post you would like to write?

The CHRLP invites a diversity of submissions for the fourth year of its Blog on the theme of "Solidarity in an Interconnected World". More information, including editorial guidelines, can be found in the following call for submissions.

Submissions (in English, French, or Spanish) can be sent to


Welcome to our new O'Brien Fellow-in-Residence!


Portrait of a Black woman with short black hair and a silver necklace

Olivia Smith

Dr Olivia M. Smith is a consultant on labour migration and human trafficking and the Executive Director for the Caribbean Anti Human Trafficking Foundation. She has worked with several regional and international institutions including the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) as Project Lead on Trafficking in Persons (Barbados) and with The British Institute of International and Comparative Law Institute (BIICL as National Consultant on Human Trafficking in Guyana). At CARICOM Secretariat she served as Deputy Programme Manager, Free Movement and Labour. She was a Political Specialist at the US Embassy, Barbados, the Human Resources Development Expert for the European Union Delegation to Barbados, a Lecturer at the University of the West Indies in migration studies and served for ten years as an immigration officer, Government of Barbados. She holds a PhD in Political Science and a Master of Business Administration among other qualifications. She is a Past Fellow of the University of Oxford in forced migration.


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Centre for Human Rights & Legal Pluralism · Chancellor Day Hall · 3644 Peel Street 
Montreal, QC H3A 1W9 · Canada 



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Centre for Human Rights & Legal Pluralism · Chancellor Day Hall · 3644 Peel Street · Montreal, QC H3A 1W9 · Canada

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