Diane Desierto

Professor of Law and Global Affairs
Faculty Director of the Master of Laws Program in International Human Rights Law

“Notre Dame Law School's mission of educating a different kind of lawyer, the University's wider Catholic mission and the promotion of human rights law education for all students of the University are what continue to inspire my work and service at Our Lady's University, fully aware of being in the rare position of being a woman law professor and international lawyer originally from the Philippines – a developing country in Asia with its own share of human rights, governance, and development challenges. Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., created the Human Rights LL.M. Degree Program for human rights defenders besieged in their own countries, such as South African jurists threatened during apartheid. For almost half a century, we have supported and taught the best and most courageous human rights lawyers, judges, and policy practitioners from every continent in the world, working in defense of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights in the most challenging authoritarian regimes, post-conflict societies, and all spaces where human rights law is under fire and in retreat from state and non-state violations. 

“Leading our Human Rights LL.M. Program  – shaping the curriculum, teaching, and practice of international human rights law, and working with colleagues in the formation of the next generation of human rights defenders – is a serious trust and urgent responsibility I chose to accept in 2020, under the vision of Dean Marcus Cole at Notre Dame Law School. The same mission motivates my continued teaching of international law and human rights to undergraduates and non-law graduate students through my joint appointment at the Keough School of Global Affairs, and through policy and academic engagement with the five institutes (Klau Institute for Civil & Human Rights, Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, Pulte Institute for Global Development, and Nanovic Institute for European Studies) where I actively serve as faculty fellow. In these times, we need even more collaboration, cooperation, courage, and deeply cultivated expertise among human rights defenders, students, and broader populations to help advance and reclaim the protective reach of international human rights law for the world's most vulnerable. I am grateful to serve this mission in and through Notre Dame.”


Learn more about Diane Desierto's work