International Summer Program on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Policy:
Next Edition to Take Place in 2020
The Institute for the Study of Human Rights (Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Program) is
pleased to announce that it will be hosting the International Summer Program on
Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Policy, in cooperation with the Center for the Study of
Ethnicity and Race (CSER). The Program was run out of CSER from 2013-2017.
This is a unique immersion human rights program addressed to researchers and
professionals. The Program provides an overview and analysis of the major questions in
Indigenous affairs today, as they have emerged globally in the last decades, culminating
in the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Taking an
interdisciplinary approach, the course analyzes the interaction between the Indigenous
movement-one of the strongest social movements of our times- and the
intergovernmental system over the past 50 years paying special attention to its
questioning of and impact on international norms, institutions and major global debates,
such as the environment, development and climate change. The course is situated at the
intersection of human rights studies, international law, political science, Indigenous
studies, development studies, sociology and anthropology. The program incorporates
lectures and workshops on the most recent and innovative academic and other research
and policy debates on Indigenous Peoples’ issues. It is complemented by visits to the
United Nations and a Native American nation, lectures and discussions with United
Nations officials, officials of a Native American nation and representatives of Indigenous
The program responds to the clear need of researchers, professionals and social leaders,
who do not otherwise have access to learning opportunities in this subject matter at a
university setting to devote concentrated time (two-weeks) to a comprehensive study of
the topic in its most cutting-edge aspects and in conversation with instructors from
academia, indigenous leaders, diplomats, international organizations officials and civil
The methodology of the course facilitates substantive understanding of the material and
creates community among participants for years to come.
After five years of operation (2013-2017), this is now a mature program, accredited by
Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences starting 2017 (a 4000-type
course) and enjoying a distinguished reputation worldwide. To-date, the program has
hosted some 135 participants from 40 countries, and from many Indigenous Peoples in all
continents. The great majority of participants are Indigenous persons, researchers,
academics, professionals and practitioners. Professors at various universities, diplomats,
government officials, tribal government officials and officials of intergovernmental
organizations and non-governmental organizations are included among the participants.
In 2017, we marked the fifth anniversary of the Summer Program. An alumni page has
been created, and an edited volume, Walking and Learning with Indigenous Peoples, was
published with contributions from ISSP alumni.
The program will be opened again for applications in 2019 and the next course will take
place in May/June 2020.