Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab last week welcomed 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Denis Mukwege as the inaugural Human Rights Fellow-in-Residence at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. Dr. Mukwege is a renowned gynecologist and activist from east Congo who has become one of the world’s leading advocates working to end sexual violence in armed conflict.
As Medical Director of Panzi Hospital, Dr. Mukwege and his colleagues have treated more than 40,000 rape victims. Despite threats on his life and an attempted assassination, he has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the grave, lasting consequences for women and girls from the decades-long war in the Congo. In 2018, Dr. Mukwege and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi survivor of rape and captivity by ISIS, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of their efforts to end the use of rape as a weapon of war.
“It is a pleasure to welcome Dr. Mukwege to the former home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt is one of history’s most passionate champions for human rights, and Dr. Mukwege has devoted his life to that same great cause,” said President Raab at a Roosevelt House ceremony. “As one of the world’s most powerful voices denouncing sexual violence, Dr. Mukwege’s courage and compassion make him an exceptional teacher and role model for Hunter’s human rights students. We are so honored that he has joined us as the college’s first Human Rights Fellow-in-Residence.”
The Human Rights Program at Roosevelt House—where Eleanor Roosevelt lived for 25 years with her husband—was created both as a tribute to the Roosevelts’ memory and a means to build on Eleanor’s lifelong dedication to advancing human rights. The new Human Rights Fellow-in-Residence initiative was launched in part to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Eleanor helped to write and shepherd to adoption. Fellows will have the opportunity to stay at Roosevelt House, where they can take advantage of its proximity to the United Nations and, with the help of the Human Rights Program, convene advocates and world leaders to address critical human rights challenges. Fellows will also engage with Hunter students and faculty and help educate the wider public through lectures and educational programs.