Professor Penelope Simons Appointed Gordon Henderson Chair in Human Rights

Posted on Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Professor Penelope Simons has been appointed as the new Gordon F. Henderson Chair in Human Rights. Associate Professor and Vice-Dean Research at the Common Law Section, Penelope Simons is an esteemed and valued professor among her colleagues and a long-term member of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC).

“Professor Simons is a distinguished scholar, mentor and communicator whose research agenda continues to advance the research clusters within the University of Ottawa’s Strategic Areas of Research. Her work contributes to furthering the position of our institution in terms of research excellence and increased competitiveness on the international scene”, former Dean Adam Dodek said.

Interim Dean Alain Roussy added, “Professor Simons is an outstanding scholar and advocate who has distinguished herself as a global leader in the field of business and human rights. The Common Law Section is exceptionally proud of her appointment as the Gordon Henderson Chair in Human Rights, and we look forward to supporting her ongoing research and advocacy on corporate accountability and access to justice for victims of corporate-related violations of human rights.”

During her three-year mandate as Gordon Henderson Chair in Human Rights, Professor Simons will focus on access to effective remedies for those affected by resource extraction within Canada. The research will build on her deep expertise in resource extraction and human rights, and regulatory responses to extractive-related human rights violations, including the gendered impacts of resource extraction and gendered nature of such regulatory responses.

Knowledge mobilization, through scholarship, collaborations with civil society organizations, expert testimony and other formal and informal presentations to policy makers, strategic interventions in court cases, opinion editorials and proposals for policy and law reform, will ensure the dissemination, accessibility, and impact of her research beyond academic audiences.

The Gordon Henderson Chair in Human Rights was created in 1991 in honour of Gordon F. Henderson, a long-term supporter and adviser of the HRREC and former Chancellor of the University of Ottawa. The endowment that supports the Chair’s work was established to strengthen the HRREC’s ability to fulfil its mandate and further enhance its capacity to act as a leader in the field of human rights.

Penelope Simons has a long history of collaboration with the HRREC. She has served on its Management Committee for many years and was Interim Director for five months in 2013-2014. She is also currently the Academic Advisor to the Business and Human Rights in the Americas Project of the HRREC Human Rights Clinic.

The names of previous chairholders can be found on the Centre’s website.

Congratulations to Professor Simons on this prestigious and well-earned distinction!

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