25 October, 2023,  NEW YORK - Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute (HRI) proudly announces the appointment of Tor Hodenfield as its new Managing Director. Tor brings over 12 years of experience in developing targeted campaigns, advocacy, research, and coalition building for both national and international civil society groups and UN agencies.

“Columbia is thrilled to welcome Tor Hodenfied to lead the Human Rights Institute,” said Professor Sarah Knuckey, HRI faculty co-director and director of the Human Rights Clinic. "His extensive experience and passion for human rights and coalition building, together with his solidarity values, will elevate the Institute's impact and further our goals to educate the next generation of social justice leaders and to uphold rights and justice."

Tor's recent role as the UN Advocacy Adviser, UN Human Rights Council Coordinator, and Vuka! Coalition Coordinator at CIVICUS and work building thoughtful and pluralistic civil society networks highlights his dedication to enhancing civic space and human rights across the world. His experience also includes serving as a Human Rights Researcher for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, where he played an instrumental role in supporting the development of the mandate’s work to advance the promotion and protection of youth and child human rights defenders. 

With a proven track record of supporting civil society groups and extensive experience advocating at the UN, Tor's leadership will bolster Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute's commitment to advancing human rights. His strategic research, encompassing diverse areas such as supporting protest movements, accelerating implementation of the SDGs and protection models for child human rights defenders, underscores his keen understanding of a range of rights issues.

"I am humbled to support the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute as its new Managing Director” says Tor Hodenfield. “With a strong belief in the power of advocacy and education, I am eager to collaborate with our colleagues and partners to drive progress in the realm of human rights.

As Hodenfield steps into his role as Managing Director at the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, his valuable contributions he will enhance HRI’s core values of empowerment, equality and solidarity, fortifying its impact as a driver of positive change in the arenas of human rights and justice. With its well-defined focus areas encompassing business and human rights, counterterrorism, armed conflict, and beyond, HRI remains a steadfast advocate for progressive transformation. Individuals like Tor exemplify the Institute's mission, forging a path to advance justice and uphold rights for people worldwide.