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Announcing Three Days of China-Related Events at Penn State - March 12-15, 2018

All Events Are Opento the Penn State CommunityAll Events Will Be Live Streamed
The 19th Congress of the Communist Party of  China (18-24 October 2017) marked a new stage in  the developmental process of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, and in the history of the People's Republic of China.

As General Secretary Xi Jinping's Though on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era begins to unfold, all those who are dealing with China or with Chinese enterprises in processes of:


digitalization, artificial intelligence, and innovationurban development and smart citiestrade and investmenteducationcountry to country relations find themselves haunted by the most diverse questions. Sometimes, separating stereotyped representations of China from the facts on the ground can be difficult. Yet the ability to distinguish  robust predictive approaches from guess-work, facts from fiction, reality from stereotypes, has become a key asset for all those who are interacting with China…

Form and Function in International Human Rights Instruments - Part 2

This is the second part of a commentary I published on February 7, as a follow-up to a commentary on the Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment co-authored with Larry Catà Backer.
The goal of the first part of the commentary was to engage constructively with the work of Professor John Knox (UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment). This goal called for going beyond the merits of what have now become the Framework Principles on Human Rights and the Environment (Draft here). One not too far day, the Framework Principles may become a binding treaty.

The process whereby a set of non-binding principles (which already exist at the time of writing, and can be adopted by all those with a stake in protecting the environment) becomes a treaty  is a process involving the relationship between what, in the first part of my post, I called "form" and "function". This is a much broader relationship that highlights a fault-line running beneath the e…

Form and Function in International Human Rights Instruments. An Attempt to Work Constructively on John Knox's Vision on Human Rights and the Environment (Part 1)

In October 2017, Professor John Knox, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment circulated the Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment, soliciting views about them. The Draft Guidelies drew on his work over his mandate. Their goal was summarizing the basic human rights obligations of States on environmental matters.

In November 2017, I had the honor to be able to produce and submit a commentary on the  Draft Guidelines on Human Rights and the Environment. The commentary was written together with Professor Larry Catà Backer under the auspices of the Coalition for Peace and Ethics, and can be found here
On February 1, 2018, as his mandate comes to an end, Professor Knox circulated the Framework Principles on Human Rights and the Environment. The full text of the Framework Principles, preceded by a description of the enourmous amounts of work that went into researching them is available here.
The Framework Principles were created through mo…