Adjunct Professor, Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race & Department of Anthropology
Elsa Stamatopoulou is the Director of the Indigenous Peoples' Rights Program at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. Born in Athens, Greece, Stamatopoulou has devoted 21 years of her UN work to human rights, in addition to several years exclusively focusing on Indigenous Peoples rights. Most recently, she directed the work program of the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) as its first Chief from its inception in 2003 to 2010. She also promoted the integration, at international and national levels, of UN policies on indigenous peoples’ issues in the areas of economic and social development, environment, health, human rights, education and culture. She supervised the production of the first ever State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples publication of the United Nations (2010).
She has written extensively on a variety of human rights themes. Her book Cultural Rights in International Law (2007) is a classic on the topic. She has also co-edited The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 50 Years and Beyond (1998) and Indigenous Peoples’ Access to Justice, Including Truth and Reconciliation Processes (2014). She has been teaching at Columbia University since 2011 and she obtained her J.D. from the University of Athens Law School and entered the Athens Bar Association. She has a Masters in the Administration of Criminal Justice from Northeastern University and a PhD. in Political Science and International Law from the Graduate Institute of International Studies, University of Geneva.