United States nominee and Howard Law Professor Justin Hansford elected to United Nations permanent forum on people of African descent

"Professor Hansford’s decades of experience and commitment to racial justice will be pivotal in shaping and sustaining this critical new body," said the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, an African American woman.

United States nominee and Howard University Law Professor Justin Hansford was on Thursday elected by the United Nations General Assembly to the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent (PFPAD) as an independent expert for the inaugural 2022-2024 term.

“Professor Hansford’s decades of experience and commitment to racial justice will be pivotal in shaping and sustaining this critical new body,” said the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, an African American woman.

Earlier this year, the United States strongly supported the PFPAD’s creation as part of a commitment to advancing racial equity both at home and abroad.

“In our pursuit and support of the PFPAD’s critical mission, the United States was extremely proud to nominate Professor Hansford, an esteemed scholar, activist and advocate for racial justice issues worldwide,” added Thomas-Greenfield. “His decades of expertise, extensive scholarship, and relentless commitment will be an enormous asset in the PFPAD’s pursuit of real and meaningful progress on racial equity for people of African descent in the United States and around the world. Today, the fight for racial justice took a historic step forward.”

The United States Department of State on its website describes Professor Justin Hansford as “a leading scholar and activist in the fields of racial justice, human rights, and law and social movements.”

He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center and a law professor at Howard University School of Law. Professor Hansford was previously a Democracy Project Fellow at Harvard University, a Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University, and an Associate Professor of Law at St. Louis University. 

His interdisciplinary scholarship has appeared in academic journals at various universities, including Harvard, Georgetown, Fordham, and the University of California at Hastings. Professor Hansford is also a member of the Stanford Medicine Commission on Justice and Equity.

Professor Hansford holds a Bachelor of Arts from Howard University and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University. He also earned a Fulbright Scholar award to study the legal career of Nelson Mandela and served as a clerk for Judge Damon Keith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  Professor Hansford served as a policy advisor to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. His advocacy for marginalized groups, commitment to human rights, leadership in civil society, and innovative research on racial justice, attests to his ability to effectively advance the work of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent.

Professor Hansford has visited Europe and Canada as an activist and scholar, specifically exploring how racial justice issues like police violence and reparations manifest in diverse environments. If elected, Professor Hansford will draw upon his deep experience, expertise, and passion to help ensure the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent is impactful as a platform for improving the safety and quality of life and livelihoods of African descendent people globally.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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