Key takeaways​​​​​​

  • UCLA Law’s Promise Europe in The Hague furthers the groundbreaking work of the school’s Promise Institute for Human Rights, broadening the international platform for UCLA’s research, teaching and advocacy.
  • The institute will collaborate with policymakers, practitioners and academics in the international human rights community and offer new and unique opportunities for students in the field.
  • Promise Europe will be led by UCLA Law’s Kate Mackintosh, an international lawyer and human rights activist.

UCLA School of Law has launched Promise Europe, an institute dedicated to advancing the study, teaching and advocacy of international human rights policy and law at a time when the world needs it most. Located in The Hague, Netherlands, long the home of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, Promise Europe is the next step in the global growth of the 5-year-old Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA Law.

Promise Europe is led by executive director Kate Mackintosh, a veteran human rights activist and international lawyer who served as the inaugural executive director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights from August 2018 to July 2023. Under her leadership, the institute rapidly earned a global reputation for engaging in groundbreaking work at the intersection of human rights and accountability, the environment, technology, migration, and race and indigeneity.

“Promise Europe will further the Promise Institute for Human Rights’ mission and impact around research, teaching and advocacy, bringing our work to a hub of international human rights policy and law,” Mackintosh said. “We will continue in our established approach, being both critical and ambitious through the human rights frame, with a focus on urgent contemporary issues.

Now more than ever, we must claim the authority of international law to protect civilians and remedy injustice, redoubling our efforts to train the advocates and generate solutions to human rights crises around the globe.”

Promise Europe is ramping up with an ambitious mission. It will provide significant and unique training opportunities for UCLA students interested in international law, advance collaborations on the international stage as a leader in emerging fields and play an important role as a global convenor of academics, policymakers and practitioners. Through these activities, Promise Europe will meaningfully build upon the impact of the Promise Institute for Human Rights and broaden the global reputation of UCLA Law as a leading voice in human rights law and policy.

“We are excited about the founding of Promise Europe,” said Michael Waterstone, dean of UCLA School of Law. “The Promise Institute for Human Rights is a preeminent voice in the field of human rights law and policy. So, this next step is a natural expansion of our efforts, and I cannot wait to see the positive impact that we will make from this new base in the international human rights community.”

Promise Europe launches with the support of Dr. Eric Esrailian, the philanthropist, UCLA faculty member and lead producer of the movie “The Promise,” who led the effort to establish the Promise Institute at UCLA Law in 2017.

“As one of the top universities in the world, UCLA truly has a global impact even beyond the teaching and research across so many of our schools, and the School of Law is the perfect platform for such an international presence,” Esrailian said. “The Promise Institute was founded in the memory of the genocide against the Armenian people to contribute to a world in which those horrors would not be repeated. Given what is happening across the globe including what has happened to Armenians in Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh over the last few years it is clear what we risk when the perpetrators of human rights violations feel emboldened by the lack of consequences.

This Institute is needed now more than ever. Promise Europe will build on the success of the Promise Institute for Human Rights, and UCLA students will now have the benefit of having even more unique opportunities in the field.”

UCLA Chancellor Block welcomed the opportunities the institute’s international expansion presents.

“Promise Institute scholars have contributed a great deal to the advancement of peace, justice, equality and basic freedoms throughout our global society,” Block said. “With the launch of Promise Europe, we are building on a strong record of human rights scholarship and expanding the reach of this crucial work.”

Promise Europe will launch a series of programs and initiatives that will continue UCLA’s work in the broader international human rights community. UCLA Law has concluded an agreement for academic collaboration with the University of Amsterdam, which also provides classroom space for UCLA Law students at its Asser Institute in The Hague. Through Promise Europe, students have already secured externships at a number of international organizations, such as the International Court of Justice, the International Development Law Organization and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. Each semester, students will be placed in full-time positions in an expanding group of organizations, and will participate in coursework and organized events, including a field trip to Geneva, Switzerland.

Other initiatives include:

  • Partnership with the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office on accountability for environmental damage caused by war and conflict, and expansion of the reach and impact of Promise Europe’s Ecocide Project.
  • Collaboration with the U.N. high commissioner for human rights and input on the agenda-setting events in Geneva to mark 75 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December.
  • Signature events, including an annual conference in Europe on a timely human rights law subject and a regular speaker series offered both in-person and remotely.
  • Unique curricular opportunities for students that will include a January-term class in either The Hague or at UCLA.

At UCLA Law, the Promise Institute for Human Rights is now led by executive director and professor from practice Hannah R. Garry, who has been teaching, researching and practicing human rights law for two decades in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. She most recently founded the first human rights clinic at the USC Gould Schol of Law.

Máximo Langer, UCLA’s David G. Price and Dallas P. Price Professor of Law, is the faculty director for both institutes. The sister institutes offer important opportunities for students, faculty and advocates to partner on cutting-edge projects and amplify each other’s work.

“People the world over look to UCLA Law’s Promise Institute as the center of inspiring thought leaders and change-makers who advance human rights,” Garry said. “I am thrilled for the ways our reach is expanding, and collaborating with Promise Europe will be an important part of addressing systemic injustice.”

Promise Europe is UCLA’s second international affiliate after UCLA Congo Basin, an outgrowth of the Congo Basin Institute, which UCLA operates in partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture.