Kennedy Lecture in Global Social Issues

Please save the date Wednesday, February 7, 2024 for the 2024 Kennedy Lecture in Global Social Issues.

The Kennedy Lecture in Global Social Issues introduces the Trent and broader communities to exemplary scholars and leaders engaged in issues of social justice that have global dimensions. Founded by Trent alumnus Bruce Kennedy '66, this lecture aims to provide a focal point for discussions that can lead to a better understanding of our world, our place within it, and an examination of how to improve our engagement with key global issues.

What would Mrs. Roosevelt say? A theory of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation & gender identity 75 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Victor Madrigal-Borloz

Eleanor Roosevelt senior visiting researcher, Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program

  • calendar icon
    Wednesday, February 7, 2024
  • time icon5:00 p.m. 
  • location icon
    Enwayaang Building, Room 114, Trent University

Lecture Recording:

Lecture Abstract

The incorporation to concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity as categories protected from discrimination under international human rights law has been part of a thirty-years long process. It is however clear that it rests substantively on the human rights framework conceived and created as part of the post-war development of an international order that is currently under great strain. It is also challenged by significant political forces, from the organization of Islamic Cooperation (sexual orientation) to the Republican and the Convervative parties in the United States and United Kingdom (gender identity).The lecture examines the process and creates a working theory of how it relates to the philosophical and political framework created by the Drafters.

About Victor Madrigal-Borloz

Victor Madrigal-BorlozVictor Madrigal-Borloz, a Costa Rican jurist, is the Eleanor Roosevelt senior visiting researcher at the Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program.

In late 2017 the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Mr. Madrigal-Borloz as UN Independent Expert on Protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for a six-year period. In this capacity, he assessed the implementation of international human rights law, raised awareness, and provided advisory services, technical assistance, and capacity-building to help address violence and discrimination against persons on the basis of the sexual orientation or gender identity.

He has also served as the Secretary-General of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), a global network of over 150 rehabilitation centers for victims of torture and ill treatment and was a member of the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture. Prior to this he led technical work on numerous cases, reports and testimonies as Head of Litigation and Head of the Registry at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Mr. Madrigal-Borloz is a founding member of the Costa Rican Association of International Law (ACODI), a founding Board member of the International Justice Resource Centre (IJRC), and a founding Board member of Synergia-IDH.

Please direct any questions to