2021 Gruber Distinguished Lecture in Global Justice

Vivek Maru delivered the Gruber Distinguished Lecture in Global Justice entitled, “Stop a Land Grab, Change the System: a Pathway to Climate and Environmental Justice” on Monday, October 25, at 4:30 PM EDT.  

Vivek Maru is an American social entrepreneur and human rights activist who is a pioneer in the field of legal empowerment. He is currently the CEO of Namati, which he founded in 2011. Namati and its partners have supported cadres of grassroots legal advocates – sometimes known as “barefoot lawyers” or “community paralegals”– in ten countries. These advocates equip their communities to protect common lands, enforce environmental law, and secure basic rights to healthcare and citizenship. Prior to establishing Namati, Maru served as senior counsel in the Justice Reform Group of the World Bank. His work focused on rule of law reform and governance, primarily in West Africa and South Asia. In 2003, shortly after graduating from Yale Law in 2001, he co-founded and co-directed the Sierra Leonean organization Timap for Justice, which has been recognized by the International Crisis GroupTransparency International, and President Jimmy Carter for advancing justice in the context of a weak state and a plural legal system. 

Maru co-teaches the Legal Empowerment Leadership Course, which is co-hosted by Central European University and the Bernstein Center for Human Rights at New York University School of Law.  He has co-authored Community Paralegals and the Pursuit of Justice (Cambridge University Press). His TED talk, “How to Put the Power of Law in People’s Hands,” has been viewed over a million times. 

On Tuesday, October 26, at 12:15 PM EDT, the Gruber Program held a follow-on Panel Discussion with Vivek Maru, Eileen Wakesho (Namati, Kenya) and Gabriela Burdiles (FIMA ,Chile). The panel was moderated by James J. Silk, Binger Clinical Professor of Human Rights; Director, Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic; and Director, Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights. 

Information on the Gruber Distinguished Lectures in Justice and Women’s Rights is available here.