ALBANY, N.Y. (October 19, 2015) — The University at Albany’s Global Institute for Health and Human Rights (GIHHR), with distinguished faculty from UAlbany’s School of Criminal Justice and Albany Law School, has been awarded a $1.6 million federal grant to improve international health laws through human rights considerations.

The two-year project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, will focus on creating an online distance-education program for Middle Eastern trainees involved in fields relating to law, health and civil society.

“This project marks the first major academic grant in which UAlbany and Albany Law School are working together to advance the synergies and affiliation existing between our two institutions,” said UAlbany President Robert J. Jones. “This is a wonderful example of the impact of our faculty collaborations to leverage federal funding and influence critical areas of law and public policy—even on the international level.”

The project will merge essential concepts from international human rights law and health law to provide trainings that address the health needs facing the Middle East. The grant represents the first major academic award UAlbany and Albany Law School have received together since it announced its affiliation in late September (the affiliation is contingent upon ABA approval).

“This is exactly the kind of work we intended to collaborate on through the affiliation of our two schools,” said Alicia Ouellette, Albany Law School’s President & Dean. “This is a grant that requires the resources and expertise of both schools, affirming that our sum is larger than our parts.”

The Global Institute for Health and Human Rights was founded by Drs. Kamiar Alaei and Arash Alaei in 2012, with the mission of generating a deeper understanding of the intersection between health and human rights, and promoting innovative solutions to contemporary challenges in this arena. Through research, education, policy, advocacy and development, the GIHHR seeks to advance the understanding and protection of health and human rights in a theoretical, academic, practical, and ethical context. It strives to be interdisciplinary in both analysis of global health issues and in approach to addressing them.

Renowned human rights activists, the Alaei brothers are committed to generating a deeper understanding of the intersection between health and human rights, and promoting innovative solutions to contemporary challenges in this arena. In May 2015, Kamiar was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Founded by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, the awards pay homage to the immigrant experience and the contribution made to America by immigrants and their children. Additionally, the Iranian brothers have praised for their work by the World Health Organization.

Along with the three partners, international scholars from McGill University and Oxford University will also participate in the project.

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