Listen to this rich discussion with Vivian Newman as we explore the rule of law and movement building in Colombia, Latin America and the Global South.

The rule of law is a necessary but insufficient condition for justice.  From the war on drugs to mass protests, the rule of law has been used to both uplift and suppress human rights and social justice.

Vivian Newman is Executive Director of the Center for Law, Justice, and Society — Dejusticia. She specializes in public law and international aid for development. Vivian has worked in the public sector with the Colombian Inspector General’s Office, in the private sector, on international negotiations at Avianca SA and in the legal department of Bavaria SA. She has also led the coordination of the public law department at the Universidad Javeriana and taught administrative law.

What you’ll learn from this episode:

  • How to understand, interpret, and implement the rule of law to advance social justice

  • Why the rule of law is important for movement building

  • How the rule of law plays a necessary role in social transformation

  • How the rule of law is used by governments and those in power to undermine justice

  • Lessons learned on building effective alliances and coalitions for greater impact

  • Why a global approach to drug policy and other social issues is important




Full Transcript

Mallika Dutt: Welcome to Leadership Moves, presented by Inter-Connected. I’m Mallika Dutt. Join us for this rich conversation on the rule of law, which is a necessary but insufficient condition for Justice. Vivian Newman and I explore the rule of law and movement building in Colombia, Latin America, and the Global South. We explore how from the war on drugs to mass protests, the rule of law has been used to both uplift and suppress human rights and social justice. Thank you Anita; thank you, thank you so much. What a wonderful way to begin this conversation with Vivian Newman, who is the Executive Director of Dejusticia in Colombia. And we really wanted to start with the music, because we’re going to be talking about the rule of law. And we’re also going to be talking about how important it is for those of us who do social justice work to remember to dance. And that’s sort of the theme of how we want to unfold this conversation. Vivian, you’ve been in the private sector, you’ve been in the public sector, and you’ve been in the human rights sector for many, many, many decades now. And I was wondering if you could begin with sharing with us why do you do what you do? Why do you care about the rule of law so much? Why is it so important to you?

Vivian Newman: Happy to be here with you. So why do I do what I do? So I think I should go back to — well, I was in law school, and after law school, I started like another life, not the life that I have right now. In my other life, I used to work for the richest person in Colombia, and he was the owner of an airline. And I was in charge of aircraft negotiation in that airline. So I would go to the different meetings with lawyers to discuss the clauses of the contracts and to try to work for this man and make the clause better for him to protect him. In another way, what I was doing was making this person richer than what he was already. So there was a moment in my life that I asked myself, what am I doing? What am I doing making a very rich person richer and seeing the world around me that requires other contributions? And I would think, so what am I going to be telling to my grandsons and granddaughters that I used to do when I was a professional lady that worked, what would I tell them that I made to enrich. So that was a very important turning point in my life, and I decided that it was the moment to switch. And I went to Spain to study international financing and cooperation and solidarity. Then I went to the public sector, and finally I came to human rights sector. And all what I had learned in law school, I’m putting it at the service of trying to have a more just world, trying to contribute to social justice and to environmental justice.

Mallika Dutt: One of the things that many of us in the social justice space struggle with is the idea of the rule of law. I’m a lawyer myself, and we are constantly challenged by systems and structures that don’t implement the law or where laws are discriminatory. We have judicial systems that are corrupt. I mean, there are so many challenges that we face with the rule of law. And yet, as you have said or so many of us have said, the rule of law is a necessary but insufficient condition for justice. I want you to reflect on that question of the place of the rule of law in movement building, particularly in the context of Columbia. Right now you are in the middle of huge social instability [indiscernible] [00:04:42] there are protests on the street that have been violent, long history of challenging the status quo, but also a long history of struggle. So Vivian, where does the rule of law play out in movement building in Colombia in your eyes right now?

Vivian Newman: So first let’s have an interpretation of what the rule of law is. It is clear general legal norms that have to be respected by individuals and authorities to avoid arbitrariness from governments and to protect individual freedom. That is what everyone really understands as rule of law. But it also implies the separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary to control abuses. It implies the respect of human rights and not only civil and political rights, but economic, social, and cultural rights. So it’s a bigger picture of democracy that we have to have in mind, why is it important and what can we do about it? And with so many troubles that we are facing, I think that to answer that question, I would have to go back to the origin of Dejusticia. Why was Dejusticia created? It was created because a group of professors of law thought that reflecting on the rule of law only in their classes and in books which would stay in bookshelves, because the academy is really slow. There are big differences between academy and between what is happening in real life – what you just mentioned, Mallika. We are in a big wave in Colombia, big wave of protests because of the pandemics, an exacerbation of inequality and non- implementation of our peace agreements.

So as an academic that only thinks of the rule of law are there in our crystal pyramids or in our offices, we forget what is happening in real life, we forget what is happening in the streets. Democracy right now is taking place in the streets, not only in Colombia, in South Africa, in Cuba, in Nicaragua, all over. And what happened was that if you stick only to theory and to the academy, then you forget this sense of urgency because academy is under slow speed. So even though working in the rule of law in those offices and as professors is centered in the search of truth and knowledge, it is distant from the passion of what is happening in the streets. And we need to — while we’re working on social activism, we need to transform the structures that perpetuate oppression. And for that we need passion. So what this group of professors thought was that we needed a bridge.

We needed a bridge between this academy and social activism to really be involved in those public discussions that take place daily if we want really to transform realities and to change and shift power. So we stick to the ethics and to the rigorous methodology and knowledge of the academy. But we also take the urgency and the passion and the daily involvement that day-to-day discussions would require. We try to bring scholars to reality. And I think that’s part of the merit of Dejusticia, because we materialize that idea of thinking and doing. We like to be thought as a think-and-do tank. And that’s why we consider that the rule of law is not only what is written in a constitution, what is written in a law, but how it comes to reality, how it helps us to implement the piece at courts, because we have to try to change the lives of people in communities that are most affected by the conflict that we’re living in. And we have to think also how the laws can help us fight this inequality and lack of opportunities as a result of poverty and unjust distribution of wealth.

So you can take for example, tax law. If tax law is not progressive, then you cannot fight inequity, you cannot fight inequality. If judges are not independent from the government, they cannot help you stop abuses from the governments. If the legislative is not working properly, then the laws that are created would not be for the greater benefit of the vast majority that is living under distress. Right now in Colombia, we’re having 42% of our population under the line of poverty. It means that almost half of the country is going to bed not having been nourished properly. And if the laws that are created and implemented are not made thinking in them, then this will be in the streets. They will be demanding for this in the streets, and we need to hear them. And if we’re having dozens of people killed because they’re protesting, we need to protect the right to protest. So it’s all over. I mean, I wonder why the rule of law is not in everyone’s heads because we need it.

Mallika Dutt: The rule of law just in the way in which you’ve described it, is what exists in service of movements, right. So the rule of law is not necessarily in and of itself a movement building or a part of the movement and the way in which we necessarily think about social movements, but the rule of law plays a very necessary role in social transformation and what is necessary for change. So can you give me an example of how Dejusticia has been active in the current protests and some of the things that are playing out with your role vis-a-vis the protests and what’s happening on the streets right now?

Vivian Newman: Okay. So you can consider the rule of law as a way to maintain the way things are right now, to maintain status quo but you can consider the rule of law as a way to transform society. So if right now we have 500 municipalities protesting out of 1,100 that we have in Columbia right now, they’re protesting. This is a special moment in which you have to listen to the democracy that’s taking place in the streets and use all the tools that the constitution gives you to promote the dialogue with these people so that there is consensus of what are the priorities that a country like Colombia should face right now. What are the laws that we should be passing? You know what was the sparkle of the protests in Colombia? It was a tax reform. A tax reform that was passed — that was tried to be passed without taking into consideration the situation of the poor people.

So they wanted poor and especially medium class people to pay for this, for the recuperation of economy instead of having the rich companies, the rich corporations to pay for this. So people just told the government, this is not what you should be doing. And the rule of law is the way to listen to the protest because it is a right, it is a human right to have a channel of dialogue and consensus to promote other laws that really refer to what people are asking and try to transform this level of inequality and social injustice that we’re now facing that we all know that Covid-19 contributed to but existed before, not only in Colombia but in the Global South in general. That’s why and maybe we could just think also in the Global South and in the North, I mean, I think this is a situation that we’re living in general in the world. But the Global South is suffering it more. And that’s why protests are taking place in these countries that I already mentioned.

Mallika Dutt: One of the things that Dejusticia has done really well is build alliances and networks around the world in the Global South. And we have often talked about challenges of building coalitions and building networks in that way. What have been some of the ways in which you have insured the building of those relationships with organizations around the world? And what are some of the lessons that you’ve learned around what is needed for better, more effective relationships and coalition building for greater impact?

Vivian Newman: We’ve learned so much, and we really have done it with Ford on our side. Ford Foundation has been with Dejusticia since the very beginning. Since the law professors decided to create a bridge between Academy and reality, the Ford Foundation was there, and that was a very important push at the beginning. But then we have a second moment in which Ford told us, why don’t you go beyond Colombia and Latin America? Why don’t you share what you’ve learned and learn from what others have achieved and go to the Global South? And that was a second moment in the history of Dejusticia in which we started looking for other similar organizations to Dejusticia. And even though the context you can think that the context is different because of the geography, because of social and cultural differences, we have some commonalities. And we’ve been working, I would say, in three different geographies. We worked in the MENA region. we’ve worked in Latin America, and we’ve been working in drug policy alliances in a more open geography.

So in those three, I would say that — and in Africa also, we worked a lot with Kenya Human Rights Center in transitional justice. But what are the lessons that we’ve learned in those different collaborations – transnational collaborations that we’ve been able to make part of? We’ve learned that horizontality is key to the relationships, to share all our experiences, that trust. You need to create a relationship of trust with the different organizations. And for that of course you need time. You also need to have to be ready to change yourself, to learn – to learn a lot and to collaborate. You have to recognize and accept all the mistakes over and over and over. You also have to understand that what is important is the legitimacy of authority and not power. So that you create an environmental justice movement and a robust social movement that is more balanced, more inclusive, is more sustainable. I’ll give you a couple of examples of this.

So we worked with Legal Agenda, Legal Agenda is like Dejusticia of the MENA region. And we’ve collaborated with them in Lebanon and Tunisia with learning experiments that reveal despite different contexts, many issues about the Global South. We worked in migration, for example. We examined different rule of law in Lebanon and Colombia because we’re both facing unprecedented migration crisis in Lebanon with a case of Syria and in Columbia with the case of Venezuela. And we have various common grounds. So we have joined our voices to request radical refugee reform because the amount of refuge seekers is enormous and only 0.3% receives resettlement. And also because a great majority of the refugees – around 70%, almost 72%, are received by the Global South, that are countries that have barriers and meanwhile other countries have no accountability for not complying with all their obligations under the general agreement to protect migrants and refugees. So that was an important work that we did together. We worked for MENA for strategic litigation together so we could bring lessons from Colombia and Lebanon. The other example is Venezuela. Although Venezuela is a country with which we share a lot of geography and cultural context, it is important for us to collaborate with the different challenges that the Venezuelan civil society is facing.

We also have a lot to learn from them. So we developed two programs: one is the solidity with the human rights movement in the Global South, and in that program, we have brought sustainable collaborations. And we also brought a Global South fellowship program bringing Venezuelan, and in general, Global South researchers to Dejusticia. So for a period of time they would do a research for six months, do a research in Dejusticia in Columbia and they could take a deep breath and think with perspective about what is happening in their own country and then they would go back. This program is still working in case anyone thinks in their fields that they have this need for a respite, to think thoroughly of what is happening in their country. And we would receive them and learn from what they’re doing and then they would go back. About the Drug Policy Alliance, that’s another issue that’s important that we’ve learned a lot. And I’ve also contributed a lot. It’s a long story, but to make it short, we need to work in drug policy reform because drug policy, the way it is driven in the world now is causing a lot of suffering to many people that do not have another way of surviving.

So what we do is we work in Geneva, we also work in Vienna. Those are two separate, important poles of power regarding this drug policy. But what happens is that they’re not connected among themselves. So what happens in Vienna is just about policy reform, and what happens in Geneva is just about human rights. And what we’ve done is we brought human rights to the policy reform discussion and we brought policy reform discussion to human rights. And that we’ve done with a big network of organizations called IDPC that represents legal organizations of people that understand the suffering of other people, for other reasons, are involved in situations because situations related to drug policy and we are advocating for reform to avoid the harms of prohibition. That’s a general view of how alliances — transnational alliances have contributed to social justice in general in the Global South.

Mallika Dutt: Well, the war on drugs has certainly had a huge cost in the north as well. I mean, certainly in the United States, we have seen large numbers of people of color, particularly African American people being incarcerated. Our criminal justice system has been incredibly cruel and unequal in its meting out of punishment around drug related issues. We’re seeing some major shifts happening in the United States as we speak around some of these issues right now. And so it’s really helpful to hear you talk about how a global approach to drug policy issues is so essential and so important. What do you wish you had more support around in the work that you do? And I don’t necessarily mean financial support, I mean, if there were conditions that could be addressed and met to really uplift and support the rule of law as a strategy for transformation, for change, for evolution, what might those be?

Vivian Newman: We are living in a very polarized world. We’re not listening to each other. We think we’re right in this side and the others think they’re right on the other side. So I wish that we could have an effective dialogue with power. It is important that we open up our minds and understand what are the roots that are causing all those suffering and all the distress. While you mentioned what would I wish, I was thinking that very recently we received a visit from the Inter- American Commission of Human Rights because we’re facing this wave of protests and we have dozens of killings and disappeared and injured. And the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights paid us a visit to — so that I think this would deescalate violence. But after they paid a visit and they shared their report, the government didn’t change a small bit of their considerations of what was happening in the streets. What we were talking about reform in drugs policy, we all know the suffering that it has been causing. We all know the suffering that prohibition is causing, not only in the Global South, understood as the countries, because other places in north countries are also considered Global South, but all the suffering that there is being caused, and we know that we need this reform.

But there are some people that benefit from the situation, benefit from maintaining the situation the way it is, and they don’t listen to the changes that need to be done. So what I wish is that we take advantage of this moment. We are in a constituent moment because Covid-19 has drawn the curtain so that we see what is really happening. So I want us all to open our eyes, open our ears to new ways of transforming the situation, because if we continue the way we are, then not only human rights, but in general, environmental rights that are at stake will put us in a situation that has no return.

Mallika Dutt: What are some of the ways in which that understanding and that learning are being applied within Dejusticia? How do you take care of yourselves? How do you listen to each other? How do you make sure that in this time of great transformation and great challenge, that the people who are on the front lines of doing the social justice, organizing and work are also receiving the care or accessing the care that they need?

Vivian Newman: I appreciate that a lot. I’ve heard you before because it is important, we tend to forget our own team. I use an analogy with airplanes since I was an aircraft negotiator I think of aircraft very often, and I think that when the airplane has a problem, there might be an accident. Then this mask fall out and you need to breathe. They always tell you that if you are with someone next to you, you need to use the mask first so then you can help the others to use their own masks. And that is a good representation of what I think we should do with our own team. Our own team needs to be protected from what is happening so they are strong enough and they can face all these challenges that the human rights movements have to face. So we try to meet often and discuss what is happening internally with the teams – in small teams but in big group as well. As I mentioned to you in the beginning, we like to share nice things with the group.

And last year, the Christmas present was a hammock for everyone. So you can work from your hammock in your own home. It’s good for your back, it relaxes. So we’re thinking of how they are feeling. The feelings are very important to us. And we have some yoga classes in Dejusticia as well. We had dance classes in Dejusticia in a period as well. It’s also a way of connecting with each other and sharing our feelings in a scenario that is not the working scenario, because it’s strict and because we need to be thorough with our objectives. But we have some spaces for people to get along to say what they’re feeling. Very recently we had a very nice meeting when this wave of protests started and people — we were all worried because we were in the midst of Covid and we didn’t know if we should go to the protest or not, if we should be more creative with ideas of protest without going to the streets.

And we met and we all just shared what we were feeling. We were feeling strange, we were feeling insecure, we were feeling that we didn’t know what to do. But we felt very strong about the fact that the claims in the protests were just, they were fair and you could not stop the protests. So we all shared them, we all cried, starting by me. I cried with the team, and it was a nice moment, a nice moment to share with everyone and to be closer with them, to be closer among ourselves, even though it was in a screen because we had not got back to work since the pandemic started but it helped, I think.

Mallika Dutt: That’s really important. And along with many other lessons of Covid-19, I hope that the idea of care within organizations is something that will be here to stay for the longer term. Kathy, since you’re going to jump off in five minutes, I just wanted to know if you wanted to add anything to the conversation, share anything, or ask anything in the remaining time that you have.

Kathy Reich: Well, I do have a question for Vivian. Thank you so much. And it’s really wonderful to hear you talk about how you approach the work and how you see the importance of upholding the rule of law and the right to protest specifically within that rule of law. I guess the challenge that I have is that in a lot of places around the world, including the United States right now, there are people who are using the right to protest as a way to actually subvert democratic institutions, democratic processes and the rule of law. Sometimes you can’t — sometimes the street isn’t actually behaving in ways that sustain democratic norms and people’s freedom. I’m thinking specifically about the protests in the United States around Donald Trump in the Stop the Steal election in the rise of the far right in the United States. So how do you protect the rule of law when there are people who would use it to actually subvert it? And how are you approaching this in Latin America right now?

Vivian Newman: It’s very important because you need to be clear on how the rule of law can help you, because the rule of law, as I mentioned earlier, includes human rights and democracy. And you have to be clear as what are the human rights protecting. And while you mentioned this case, I was thinking of another case that we had also because there’s always tension among the rights. And you need to find a good way to test how to think of the most vulnerable and the most marginalized when you make a decision of what is the best way of balancing the rights that are intentioned. So when you mentioned that I thought of a case that we had in a rural area in Colombia of victims of the conflict, they didn’t want journalists to be present in a burial scene of their victims, and they had their own right to privacy. And at the same time, the journalists have the freedom of expression and the need to access information to inform society what was happening with the victims, because it was a public interest to know how this was taking place.

So they were kept between a hard place, how do you call that, a rock and a hard place because there was a tension between those two rights. And we finally found a way to protect the right to privacy of victims because victims were the most vulnerable and marginalized in this situation. Society could learn about what was happening later on with the respect of the privacy of the victims. It was hard because the rule of law required — it required another law for journalists not to be present, and we have to find that law somewhere. We found it finally. But I mean, if we understand the rule of law as a way to transform ways of oppression, then we’ll try our ways to look for the best way out having marginalized populations in our mind and in our heart.

Mallika Dutt: Urvashi, are you still here? I’m going to ask you to join in to the conversation because god knows, questions about the rule of law are major issues in the Indian context as well.

Urvashi Butalia: I was actually thinking of the situation in India. Here it’s not really a question but more of a comment that the rule of law becomes real implementable when you have institutions that are committed to protecting it or institutions on which you can rely. And what we have found here increasingly in the last several years has been that those institutions themselves are deeply compromised, including, say for example, our Supreme Courts which have been in many ways which have stood by the rights of citizens. And the other thing that is quite worrying, I think, is when the state increasingly creates legislation which is violative of human rights, the Constitution, all of that, and the state in its political power is so powerful because it works in a majority and there is [indiscernible] [00:36:06] that the rule of law itself becomes subverted. So I’ll give you a quick example. Recently — I have a young woman who works in my house as a domestic worker. She lives on the outskirts of the city on a piece of land which where she and her family have purchased a small piece to build a house. It turns out after 10 years of their living there that that land is at the foothills of a small, hilly range that encircles Delhi and is therefore environmentally protected and has been sold to the poor through fraud with the connivance of the police. And now the Supreme Court has ordered that all of those people be removed and their houses be broken down.

And so when the police and the army come together to break down the place, obviously people will protest because it’s their homes, it’s their lives. They are poor, they have nowhere to go to, it’s the time of Covid. As you’ve said inequalities have been deeply exacerbated. But they are arrested by the police for obstructing the rule of law because there is a law that says you can’t obstruct a civil servant doing his duty. In a sense, I mean, I’m in theory totally in agreement with what you’re saying, how important it is to uphold that rule of law, and how important it is for it to work for people, the citizens. But I think states across the world are making it increasingly difficult for their citizens to have in front of them a fair rule of law that recognizes citizen’s rights. It’s like the state is at war with its citizens. It’s a bit despairing to say that. But Mallika knows the situation here well, and I never thought — I never thought I would say this about India because all of us who have my generation of people who have grown up in the new India when it was just independent, have actually lived the majority of our lives with the rule of law, and have believed in it deeply, now we are faced with this very strange situation.

Vivian Newman: As you were speaking, I remember those good old times of the Supreme Court of India. I remember we had Harsh Mander, I don’t know if you’re aware of Harsh Mander. He came to Columbia twice and we learned a lot from him on the right to food and important decisions based on the rule of law that were made by the Supreme Court in India that were a model to be followed by our constitutional court in Colombia and in the Global South in general. So it is very sad to hear that the people in power can twist the rule of law and use it against the marginalized populations. I always think that if you go to the constitution, you will find the basic principles that have dignity in the center, because that’s what human rights are. I mean, you cannot apply the formal laws if you are affecting human rights laws, because human rights laws belong to a higher hierarchy, and other laws regarding relationship with the civic servants or with the police are important for order.

But if they’re not taking into account the situation of humans, I mean, the dignity that is in the center of these people that cannot be displaced because of Covid and because there is no other place to give them, then you are misusing the rule of law. And unfortunately sometimes we have people in power that misuse the rule of law, and that’s why we have to subvert that and try to contribute to having a representation in power that really understands the rule of law with its original sense of being. If the rule of law is not done to protect the people, then there’s something wrong with that regulation, with that norm, and we need to challenge it before the courts. We need to change it because it’s just a means for the people, and the people should be always in the center.

Mallika Dutt: That reminds me of the conversation we had earlier about the rule of law being necessary but insufficient condition of transformation. And the rule of law, honestly, for us in the social justice space, has always been a paradox. If I think about the women’s movement, for example, we are just marking the 25th anniversary of the UN Conference on Women that happened in Beijing in 1995. And I remember when we had to organize across the world to demand the recognition of women’s rights as human rights, it was only in 1995 that we were able to get a recognition of gender-based violence, of domestic violence as human rights violations. That was the time that we even got the UN Commissioner for Human Rights has a role at play within the UN system. And 25 years later, when we look at the demands that were made in Beijing and where we are now, we see great progress on many fronts, and we see us moving backwards in other areas. And we’ve just seen generation equality finish a few weeks ago marking that trajectory.

And so for me, as a lawyer, I really feel — I have felt deeply ambivalent about law as a tool and as a concept. And yesterday I was in a conversation with another group of lawyers, and somebody said, “You know, the law is like a lineage.” We talk about ancestral lineages that we have to heal and many other kinds of lineages. As lawyers, we are invoking the lineage of the law. And within that there is all of the paradox of humanity, all of the ways in which we create things to oppress and discriminate, and all of the ways in which we create things to liberate and transform, and where we are aligning ourselves on that spectrum of how we relate to law then determines the youth that we put it to. So to that extent, I feel like remembering that this is an iterative emergent moving process. Like all culture, there is nothing that is fixed, that we are in the process of creation, of culture change all the time. And then within that, to remember where the rule of law can be located in this broader agenda of transformation is, I think the work that we are all trying to do.

Vivian Newman: Definitely, definitely Mallika. It’s a matter of time also. We’ve had other periods in our history where law was misused as well. We remember the Nazi regime in which the laws were not — they were misused. So it’s part of insisting and trying to modify what really is in the wrong direction and try to insist and put pressure in the implementation of what has been agreed and really has dignity and human rights in the center. But we have to deal with things that are not proper along the line as well. It happens with democracy as well. Sometimes we are really fighting because we don’t believe that democracy has brought us to power and we have to be patient, but work against it and then have things changed. I believe in many authoritarian regimes it happened. They’re electing in power some of the governors that would be leading the nation wrongly, and then we have to fight for that and try to change the situation as well. It’s not always a bed of roses, but it’s an important tool.

Mallika Dutt: I’ve been noticing all of the ways in which the pinging is punctuating what we’ve been talking about. We are at time. And so I will bring this conversation to a close. Any last words, either of you?

Urvashi Butalia: Yeah. I just want to say thank you. I mean, it was really good to listen to you. I don’t mean to be despairing, because I agree that the work is really, really important and there is hope at the end of the tunnel, that’s why we keep fighting. But it’s just that these new developments also make one think of how complex the whole business is getting; really that’s what, but thank you.

Vivian Newman: I agree that sometimes things are not as we expect them to be, but I think we are on the right side and on the bright side as well. I just wanted to remind us that we all have a lot of expertise, and that we can use all the tools to bring it to our causes and to our just causes. The advocacy campaigns, especially litigation, I think judges can help us to understand, interpret, and implement the rule of law correctly. And we are also working with all sets of audiences that include activists, academics, the judges, the grassroots communities are very important, vulnerable populations, journalists, policymakers. If we continue on that direction, we can continue being centered on the search of truth and knowledge, which is what academy and the rule of law can bring us to, but always carrying this sense of urgency in involving ourselves in the public discussions to transform these realities based on ethics and rigorous methodology. We’ll have some obstacles and some barriers along the way, but we are on the right path.

Mallika Dutt: Thank you so much, Vivian. We will schedule another session where we actually learn how to do the bachata when we have a larger group of people. I think we should just have like a whole separate session where we play music and we learn dance moves from around the world, and starting with you, because as we have all said, if we can’t dance, then what’s the point of this revolution really. So let’s make sure that we find the time to find the joy and the pleasure in this incredible world and this incredible life that we have. I’m especially feeling that as I stare at the ocean beckoning me from across the room. So thank you all so very much.

This series of Leadership Moves is supported by the BUILD Program of the Ford Foundation. Stay connected at, that’s

This series is supported by the BUILD program of the Ford Foundation.

“Inter-Connected Theme” composed by Devadas, (c) Mallika Dutt, LLC 2021.

Production team: Mallika Dutt, Devadas Labrecque, Ambika Pressman.