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LJD Week 2021 | Ending Racism: Current Challenges and Solutions

November 8, 2021

Virtual | Live Broadcast & Recorded



A session co-organized with the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Racism and racial inequities still permeate everyday life in our societies. Several specialized mechanisms and instruments have been established at the international, regional and national level to address this global scourge and foster racial equity. Some examples include the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent established within the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the appointment of a Race Discrimination Commissioner within the Australian Human Rights Commission and an Anti-Racism Coordinator for the European Union, or the adoption of the Inter-American Convention Against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance.

Although these mechanisms and instruments may have different scopes, they all share the specific focus on racial issues. Why is this degree of specialization necessary? How does the approach vary based on each institution’s mandate, forum, and focus (e.g., international versus regional or state-led approaches)? How do these efforts promote development? What milestones in the journey towards ending racism have been met?

Taking stock of their own experiences, the panelists will discuss the current challenges that the world faces to achieve racial equity and end racism and racial inequity, and suggest solutions to promote access to equal opportunities in the development context.

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    Sandie Okoro

    Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, Vice President for Compliance, World Bank

    Sandie Okoro is Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the World Bank Group, and Vice President for Compliance at the World Bank. She is also Chair of the World Bank Group Anti-Racism Task Force. A British national and the first black woman to hold this role, Sandie is the principal advisor and spokesperson on all legal matters for the world’s leading development finance institution. She also heads the Compliance Vice Presidency that is responsible for developing and overseeing the World Bank data privacy framework based on the World Bank Group Policy on Personal Data Privacy. The two Vice Presidencies are separate and distinct. In her role as Chair for the World Bank Group Anti-Racism Task Force, Sandie is bringing the topics of race and racial equity at the forefront of Bank Group staff and operational matters, convening discussions and proposing action steps to help ensure racism and racial inequalities have no place in the institution, its operations, and the countries it serves.


    H.E. Luis Almagro Lemes

    Secretary General, Organization of American States

    Luis Almagro was re-elected for a second term as Secretary General of the OAS on March 20, 2020. He was first elected as Secretary General of the OAS on March 18, 2015, with the support of 33 of the 34 member states and one abstention. Upon taking up the leadership of the OAS, he announced that the central theme of his administration would be “more rights for more people” and that he would work “to be the voice of the voiceless.” His priority at the helm of the General Secretariat is to put the Organization in touch with people’s needs and the new realities in the Hemisphere, as well as helping to ensure greater democracy, more rights, more security, and more development and prosperity for all. A career diplomat, he has extensive regional and international experience. Almagro was Uruguay’s foreign minister from March 1, 2010 to March 1, 2015.


    Michaela Moua

    Anti-Racism Coordinator, European Commission

    Michaela Moua is the first EU Anti-Racism Coordinator. She held a number of senior roles in NGOs in her native Finland combatting racism and discrimination. For the last few years, she has worked at the Non-discrimination Ombudsman’s office and at the Ministry of Justice in Finland. She has extensive experience and expertise in combatting racism and ethnicity-based discrimination and in promoting an ethnically equal and diverse society on the local and member state level. In addition, she is a solution-focused brief therapist and her expertise is on the effects of racism and discrimination on mental health.


    Chin Tan

    Race Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission

    Chin Tan commenced his term as Race Discrimination Commissioner on October 8, 2018. He is a recognized and established community leader and is a strong, passionate advocate for a successful multicultural Australia. Prior to joining the Commission, Chin spent three years as the Director for Multicultural Engagement at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. Chin was the Chairperson and Statutory Head of the Victorian Multicultural Commission from 2011 to 2015. Previously, he enjoyed a successful career of more than twenty-four years as a practising lawyer that included partner roles at a number of Melbourne firms.


    Dominique Day

    Chair, UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent

    Dominique Day is a racial equity and justice accelerator. She leads DAYLIGHT - Access to Justice - Advocacy, an access to justice platform that uses training, mapping, and advocacy as tools to help organizations, communities, and individuals build intersectional racial justice globally. Dominique is the Chair of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, a fact-finding body mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate and report on the situation of people of African descent globally. She also is a member of the 2020-22 Global Future Council on Human Rights of the World Economic Forum and the WEF’s Advisory Council for the Partnering for Racial Justice in Business initiative. Internationally, Dominique’s policy and capacity-building work focuses heavily on racial justice. She is a civil rights and human rights attorney with extensive criminal and civil litigation experience on behalf of individuals and communities within the Black diaspora, including in post-conflict and transitional States. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University (cum laude) and a juris doctor from Stanford Law School.


    Bonny Ibhawoh

    Independent Expert, United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development

    Bonny Ibhawoh is Professor of Legal History and Senator William McMaster Chair in Global Human Rights at McMaster University, Canada. He is a member of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development in the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva. He is also the Director of McMaster University’s Centre for Human Rights and Restorative Justice. With over 30 years experience as a human rights educator, policy maker and practitioner, he has taught in Universities in Africa, Europe, the United States and Canada. He was previously a Human Rights Fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs, New York, and Research Fellow at the Danish Institute for Human Rights, Copenhagen. He is the Project Director of the Confronting Atrocity Project, and Participedia, a global scholarly network on democratic innovation. His recent books include: “Imperialism and Human Rights”; “Imperial Justice” and “Human Rights in Africa.” He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada which is Canada’s National Academy of distinguished scholars.


    Irina Kichigina (moderator)

    Deputy General Counsel, World Bank

    Irina Kichigina is Deputy General Counsel, Operations, in the Legal Vice-Presidency of the World Bank. In addition to serving as a deputy to the Sr. Vice President and General Counsel, she directly oversees legal operational support in all six regions of the World Bank. Before assuming this position in March 2017, she served as Chief Counsel for the Africa Region where she was responsible for providing legal and policy support for Bank’s financing operations and country engagements in the region. Prior to her work on Africa, Irina held positions of Chief Counsel in three other regions of the Bank: Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa and Latin America. During her tenure in Europe and Central Asia Region, she led preparation and implementation of a number of legal and judicial reform projects in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Ms. Kichigina holds a PhD in International Law from the Moscow State University (Russia), and a Master’s Degree in International and Comparative Law from the George Washington University (US).


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