The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the 21st Century

This Project revisits the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in the context of a world that has changed dramatically in the 65 years or so since it was passed. It provides an analytical commentary on the continuing relevance of the UDHR to our time and makes recommendations about how its goals and aspirations might be better achieved.

This particular project proceeded in two phases. In the first, a ‘Philosophers’ Committee,’ led by Jeremy Waldron, provided a detailed analytical commentary on the UDHR.

In the second phase, a blue ribbon commission of distinguished political and business leaders and academics, called the “Global Citizenship Commission” used the commentary of the Philosophers’ Committee to prepare a report that will be presented to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in April 2016.

The Global Citizenship Commission was conceived and led by Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and NYU’s inaugural Global Leader in Residence.

UPDATE: The report has now been published and can be read here.

Philosophers’ Committee

Principal Investigator: Jeremy Waldron (NYU)

  • Philip Alston (NYU)
  • Anthony Appiah (Princeton)
  • Charles Beitz (Princeton)
  • Seyla Benhabib (Yale)
  • Simon Caney (Oxford)
  • Fonna Forman (UCSD)
  • Avishai Margalit (Princeton, IAS)
  • Pratap Mehta (New Delhi)
  • Samuel Moyn (Columbia)
  • Onora O’Neill (Cambridge)
  • Michael Rosen (Harvard)
  • Michael Sandel (Harvard)
  • Amartya Sen (Harvard)
  • John Tasioulas (London)
  • Chenguang Wang (Beijing)
  • Joseph Weiler (NYU)

Global Citizenship Commission Membership

  • K. Anthony Appiah, Professor of Philosophy and Law, New York University
  • Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General Emeritus, International Atomic Energy Agency
  • Laurel Bellows, Principal, The Bellows Law Group, P.C. & Immediate Past President, American Bar Association
  • Nicolas Berggruen, Chairman, Berggruen Holdings
  • Paul Boghossian, Silver Professor of Philosophy, New York University
  • Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education; Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  • Craig Calhoun, Director, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Fonna Forman, Director, Center on Global Justice, University of California, San Diego.
  • Andrew Forrest, Philanthropist; Non-executive Chairman, Fortescue Metals Group
  • Ronald George, 27th Chief Justice of California (retired)
  • Asma Jahangir, President, Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan; Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
  • His Excellency John Kufuor, Former President of Ghana
  • Graça Machel, Political Human Rights Activist
  • Catherine O’Regan, Former Justice, South African Constitutional Court (1994-2009)
  • Ricken Patel, Executive Director, Avvaz
  • Emma Rothschild, Jeremy and Jane Knowles Professor of History; Director, Center for History and Economics, Harvard University
  • Robert Rubin, Co-Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations; Former United States Secretary of the Treasury
  • Jonathan Sacks, Former Chief Rabbi, United Kingdom
  • Kailash Satyarthi, Chairperson, Global March Against Child Labour
  • Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum
  • Amartya Sen, Thomas W. Lamont University Professor; Professor of Economics and Philosophy, Harvard University
  • John Sexton, President Emeritus, New York University
  • Robert Shrum, Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics, University of Southern California
  • Jeremy Waldron, University Professor, New York University School of Law; Chichele Professor of Social & Political Theory, All Souls College, Oxford University
  • Chenguang Wang, Professor of Law, Tsinghua University
  • Joseph Weiler, President, European University Institute
  • Rowan Williams, Former Archbishop of Canterbury