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In Pursuit of Global Justice with Irwin Cotler

The Honorable Irwin Cotler is an international human rights lawyer and an expert on international law. Cotler served for over 15 years as a Member of the Canadian Parliament, and from 2003 until 2006 as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. Cotler has served as counsel to a number of political prisoners and dissidents globally including Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Jacobo Timmerman in Latin America, and Natan Sharansky and Nobel Peace Laureate Andrei Sakharov in the former Soviet Union. Since stepping down from academia and from government he has remained actively involved in human rights cases around the world, and founded and leads the Montreal-based Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, one of the global leaders in the pursuit of justice. Cotler is a past president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, and in November 2020 was named Canada’s special envoy on preserving Holocaust remembrance and combating anti-Semitism. Earlier in his career Cotler was a professor of law at McGill University and the director of its Human Rights Program. He has also been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Yale Law School, and is the recipient of fifteen honorary doctorates. Cotler received his B.A. (Hons.) from McGill University, his B.C.L. from McGill University Faculty of Law where he was president of the Law Student’s Association and Senior Editor of the McGill Law Journal, and graduated from Yale Law School with an LL.M. The Open University of Israel is the largest university in Israel, educating over 49,000 students on its state-of-the-art online higher education learning platform and at its 70 physical campuses spread all across Israel. The Open University's core values are based on academic excellence, an open admissions policy, social justice and the inclusion of all citizens of Israel. Not only does the Open University include the most diverse student body in Israel - Haredim, Arab Israelis, Ethiopians, Druze and the handicapped - but it also educates active duty IDF soldiers at campuses located at top IDF intelligence bases and also has a program for Israel's best and brightest high school students who wish to enter academia at an early age. It is also the largest educator of STEM students in Israel. Among Israel's most vital institutions, the tremendous positive impact of the Open University on Israeli society is immeasurable. American Friends of the Open University of Israel is a registered 501c3 organization that provides critical support to the Open University of Israel. For more information, visit our website, or contact us at


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