Laurier granted $1.4 million for research

Canada Research Chairs, a federal program dedicated to funding research in universities across the country, recently granted Laurier $1.4 million in support of Rhoda Howard-Hassmann, Laurier’s Chair in International Human Rights.

Howard-Hassmann’s position as a Tier 1 Research Chair was renewed, allowing her to pursue another seven years of funded research.

“I was very happy when I got the Chair originally and I’m very happy to have received the renewal. It means I don’t have to apply for research grants continually, I have enough money to support my research,” said Howard-Hassmann, who has been working in human rights since the 1980s.

For her first seven years as a Tier 1 Chair, Howard-Hassmann wrote two books, “Reparations to Africa”, which questions whether the Western world should pay reparations to Africa for the slave trade and colonialism and “Can Globalization Promote Human Rights?” which will be released in August 2010.

Over the next seven years, Howard-Hassmann plans to use the new funding to cover the costs of travelling to conferences and research sites. Howard-Hassmann’s research will focus on state induced famine, which is when governments deliberately starve their own citizens as a political tactic.

“I want to look at what is being done about it and examine how the international community can protect people from governments like this, and whether they have used all possible avenues to protect people.”

Howard-Hassmann explains that legal scholar David Marcus believes that state induced famine should be considered an international crime and not just a crime against humanity, an initiative she hopes to promote through her research.

“I’m hoping that the work I do will help advance the idea to help people when their governments are starving them.”

Howard-Hassmann also plans to use the research funds to support her graduate students, as she will continue to send students to Europe to attend a two week legally oriented program on human rights.