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Ari Kohen

Schlesinger Associate Professor of Political Science,
Director of the Forsythe Family Program on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs,
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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Summary

In this podcast, Alistair Edgar is joined by Ari Kohen, Schlesinger Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Forsythe Family Program on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, to discuss the US approach to international human rights. Edgar and Kohen reflect on the legacy of the Obama administration, and look ahead to what may change when President-Elect Trump is in office. As Kohen addresses, President Obama made some significant improvements to human rights—citing, for example, the Executive Order on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. However, the current government also failed to accomplish all of its human rights goals, and has introduced some troubling campaigns such as the large-scale use of drone strikes as a military tactic. It is unclear, however, how the US approach to human rights may change under the new administration. Kohen notes that there is no way to predict what Trump will do in office, because of how regularly his views change. While some of these changes may be favourable from a human rights perspective, uncertainty is generally bad for international affairs. Such uncertainty extends to the Trump administration as some appointments call into question what it means to have expertise on an issue.

Biography

Ari Kohen is Schlesinger Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Forsythe Family Program on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. His new book, Untangling Heroism: Classical Philosophy and the Concept of the Hero was published by Routledge in 2014. His first book, In Defense of Human Rights: A Non-Religious Grounding in a Pluralistic World, also from Routledge, was published in 2007. Recent articles have appeared in Human Rights Review, Journal of Human Rights, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Social Justice Research, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Politics, and Polis. He is presently at work on a multi-year empirical study of the impact of social justice education on student engagement.

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Recorded November 2016