Minerva Annual Lectures

Below is a complete list of the Annual Minerva Lectures on Human Rights (in reverse chronological order).


Annual Lectures

The Twelfth Annual Lecture on Human Rights:

Prof. Mayo Moran, University of Toronto

December 10th, 2019, Room 307

The Problem of the Past

The past has always been a problem - but not a legal problem.  All of that has changed however.  Though once unthinkable, claims for legal redress of historic wrongs are now increasingly common.  Colonial torture, wrongful sterilization, sexual violence and involuntary servitude—these are but a small sample of the cases of historic injustice that have recently resulted in compensation.  From Holocaust-related litigation to the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal to redress for victims of institutional abuse, the past has come to be among the vexing problems faced by contemporary courts.

For the legal system, which long avoided dealing with the past, extending compensation for historic wrongs is unfamiliar and difficult terrain. Scholars and commentators have recently begun to grapple with the more-novel tools for responding to historic wrongs such as truth commissions. However, consideration of redress itself has often been left relatively unexplored.  Yet the redress claims are critical to this new problem of the past--they are the means of demanding judicial attention and they force the settlements that among other things create truth commissions, prompt apologies and require commemoration.  It is the redress claims that so often inspire survivors and that simultaneously pose such serious challenges to institutions.   My aim is to explore why so many of these apparently far-fetched redress claims have proven surprisingly successful and what light this understanding might cast on how best to respond to the problem of the past.

The lecture can be viewed here.

The Eleventh Annual Lecture on Human Rights:

Prof. James Loeffler, University of Virginia

December 10, 2018, 18:00, Room 307

The Small End of the Shofar: Reimagining Human Rights History

Contemporary international human rights law positions the particular as the enemy of the universal. Global justice requires transcending tribalism. Identity is the enemy. In this lecture, James Loeffler will challenge this view by retrieving the lost twentieth-century Jewish history of human rights and atrocity law. Drawing on his recent book, Rooted Cosmopolitans, he will explore alternative historical models for thinking beyond the universal/particular and individual/group binaries that continue to define and constrain international legal thought and practice today.

The lecture can be viewed here.


The Tenth Annual Lecture on Human Rights:

Prof. Ana Filipa Vrdoljak, Technology University Sydney

June 20, 2018

Self-Determination and Genocide

Respondent: Dr. Elliav Lieblich, TAU.

Prof. Vrdoljak has extensively researched genocide and cultural restitution in international law and the linkage between them. Prof. Vrdoljak’s lecture was the culmination of the one-day symposium on Archival Activism. In her lecture, Prof. Vrdoljak explored the development of the definition of self-determination and genocide, their application, and relationship to each other in order to expose the drivers and blockages in international law and the role of the state in this dynamic.


The Ninth Annual Lecture on Human Rights: 
Prof. Samuel Moyn
Wednesday, March 18th, 2015, 17:00-19:00

In 2014-2015, the project will include: the Annual Minerva Lecture, to be given by renown historian of Human Rights, Prof. Samuel Moyn; an international conference titled "Jewish Rights, Minority Rights, Human Rights?" to be held at TAU on March 17-19, 2015; a research group and research grants for LL.M, doctoral and postdoctoral students working on the history of human rights; courses taught by visiting professors; and a book grant to Prof. Nissim Mizrachi for his research on "Human Rights and Liberal Justice in Israel: A View from Below." ​


The Eighth Annual Lecture on Human Rights: 
Prof. Jennifer Nedelsky
Thu-Fri, June 6-7, 2013

Tel Aviv University's Minerva Center for Human Rights held its 8th Annual Lecture on Human Rights. The lecture: "A Relational Approach to Rights: Reflections on Responsibility for Rights Violations" was delivered by the University of Toronto's Prof. Jennifer Nedelsky - an internationally-renowned legal theorist, and was followed by a two-speaker Colloquium by TAU Faculty of Law's Dr. Avihay Dorfman and Dr. Yofi Tirosh. The following Colloquium was devoted to Prof. Nedelsky's article: "Two Faces of Judgment" which analyzes Immanuel Kant's Critique of Judgment through the works of Hanna Ardent, Sarah Hoagland, Barbara Herman and more.



The Seventh Annual Lecture on Human Rights:
Prof. John Milbank

Mon, May 14, 2012

The 7th Annual Lecture on Human Rights was jointly held by Tel Aviv University's Minerva Center for Human Rights and the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science. The lecture:  "Do Humans Have Rights?" included a keynote address by the University of Nottingham's John Milbank - Professor of Religion, Politics and Ethics and Director of the Centre of Theology and Philosophy. The event was held entirely in English and took place at the Malka Brender Hall of Justice, on the 3rd floor of the Trubowicz Building. Prof. Milbank led a workshop with a group of doctorate students from the Law Faculty and the Faculty of Humanities.



The Sixth Annual Lecture on Human Rights:
Prof. Ulrich Beck
Tue, March 29, 2011

Tel Aviv University's Minerva Center for Human Rights hosted, along with the Heinrich Boell Stiftung Foundation, its 6th annual human rights lecture. The lecture: "Global Inequalities and the Human Rights Regime" was held Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 at the Malka Brender Hall of Justice, on the 3rd floor of the Trubowicz Building and included a keynote lecture by Ulrich Beck, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Sociology at Munich University. The talk was followed by a symposium led by various law and sociology professors of Tel Aviv University. The event overlapped with the publication of Prof. Beck's new book in Hebrew. On the following day, Prof. Beck led a workshop with a group of doctorate students from the Law Faculty and the Department of Communications.


The Minerva Annual Lecture Series on Human Rights, established 2003:

Prof. Jürgen Habermas, “Three Versions of Liberal Democracy.” (Academic year 2003/4)


Prof. Michael Walzer, “Beyond Humanitarian Intervention: Human Rights in Global Society.”(2004/5)


Prof. Jon Elster, “Terrorism and Civil Liberties.”(2005/6)



Prof. Joseph Raz, “Human Rights without Foundations.”(2006/7)


Prof. Seyla Benhabib, “Another Universalism: On the Unity and Diversity of Human Rights.”​(2007/8)

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