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Events and Activities - Dignity Rights Project

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Virtual Workshop III, June 2018: Read the Program (pdf) and Watch the Video.

The Dignity Rights and Environmental Justice Symposium on April 13, 2018 at the Delaware Law School featured local, national and international scholars and activists:

Distinguished Speaker: The Honorable Bernice Donald,
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

  • Michael Gerrard, Columbia Law School
  • Albert Huang, NRDC
  • Helen Kang, Golden Gate Law School
  • Marianne Engleman Lado, Yale Law School
  • Michele Roberts, Coming Clean

Program (pdf), Presentations, Video (coming soon)

Virtual Workshops & Live Symposia

It was wonderful experiencing the proximity of thoughts and the convergence of efforts towards an inspiring cause. These seminars are truly uplifting!

--Alexandra Aragão
Faculdade De Direito
Universidade De Coimbra

The Dignity Rights Project hosts Virtual Workshops to bring together practitioners to advance human dignity in diverse areas, including indigenous and minority group rights, gendered impacts, environmental justice, the rights of inmates, and structures and systems of dignity knowledge and research. So far, participants Albania, Bhutan, Canada, Colombia, Israel, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, the U.K., the U.S., and elsewhere have shared their work, knowledge and insights in these interactive forums.

Virtual Workshop I, May 2017: Program available here; watch the video and read Stephen Kass's opening comments and Catherine Dupre's closing comments.

Virtual Workshop II, November 2017: Read the Program and watch the video here.

Dignity Rights Practicum

Each year, the DRP offers a Dignity Rights Practicum for JD and LLM students at Delaware Law School. Students work in groups or individually with partners to help develop theoretical arguments and practical strategies to advance dignity rights. Students talk about their experience in this video. This semester, students are working with

  • an environmental law clinic in Colombia to help protect coral reefs to sustain the dignity of the indigenous groups who depend on it
  • an immigration lawyer helping to protect the dignity of war refugees in Europe
  • a civic organization for Roma Youth in Albania seeking to protect the dignity of the Roma community in their access to voting and protection from discrimination
  • a grassroots organization advancing environmental justice for residents of Wilmington, Delaware
  • the Lenape Tribe of Delaware, seeking to advance tribal dignity through enhanced understanding, communication, and reconciliation with other communities in the state.

Past classes have included partnerships with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (working on UN reparations for cholera epidemic) and Center for Environmental Rights in Cape Town, South Africa.

"Being a part of the Dignity Rights Project and taking the practicum course has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've had during law school thus far."

-Madison McGuirk, 2L, Delaware Law

“The Dignity Rights Project is an exciting and challenging experience because we get to discuss complex subjects with professors who value their students' thoughts and opinions.  We get to create a body of legal research that has the potential to directly help our partners in achieving their goals.”

-Kacee Benson, Evening Division, 2L

Please contact us if you would like to discuss opportunities for partnering with our students.


Professors Jim May and Erin Daly submitted an Amicus Brief on behalf of more than 60 Law Professors in Support of Plaintiffs Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana and others, in atmospheric trust litigation brought by Our Childrens' Trust against the Government for actions contributing to climate change. When the District Court found that the young plaintiffs had adequately pled (among other things) that the government had violated their substantive due process rights to liberty under Fifth Amendment, the Administration asked the 9th circuit for an extraordinary writ of mandamus on the ground that holding a trial would violate separation of powers. The brief argues that the district court's decision did not constitute "clear error" and that the decision below was consistent with a long line of Supreme Court cases on the due process clauses that recognize that liberty interests are not frozen in time but can adapt to new circumstances. It further argued that, neither the fact that a case raises new, nor important, nor complex issues of policy justifies withdrawing the claim from the jurisdiction of the federal courts. Finally, the brief argues that issuing a writ under these circumstances would allow the Defendants to avoid judicial oversight and ignore core federal judicial functions to determine the meaning of a constitutionally protected fundamental right. You can read the full brief here.


In July 2017, the DRP and PILnet, The Global Network for Public Interest Law, held a Webinar for human rights lawyers from across the MENA region to discuss right to dignity which is protected in most of the constitutions of the region and features prominently especially in the post-Arab Spring constitutions. Dignity could serve as a framework for advancing human rights in cases ranging from the conditions of detention, to free speech and free association, to access to education, food, and shelter. Professors Daly and May also met with PILnet's 2017 Fellows from South Africa, Lebanon, and the United States.

This was the first in a series of events to be held jointly with PILnet.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the webinar, or about opportunities for other video programming.