John Packer is an Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa.
He has previously taught at the Fletcher School (Tufts University) and the University of Essex, held Fellowships at Cambridge and Harvard Universities, and has lectured at academic and professional institutions around the world. He also serves on the boards of a number of NGOs and is a Member of the Expert Advisory Panel for the Shared Societies Project of the Club de Madrid comprising over 100 former Heads of State or Government of democracies.
Before taking up his position at the University of Ottawa in 2014, John was the Constitutions and Process Design Expert for the UN’s Standby Team of Mediation Experts advising in numerous peace processes and political transitions around the world focusing on conflict prevention and resolution, diversity management, constitutional and legal reform, and the protection of human rights including minorities. In a 30-year career, John has contributed to processes in over fifty countries and has advised numerous inter-governmental organisations, governments, communities and other actors. From 1995 to 2004, he was Senior Legal Adviser and then the first Director of the Office of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities in The Hague working across Central and Eastern Europe and throughout the former Soviet Union. From 1987 to 1995, he worked for the ILO, UNHCR and then the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights mainly investigating serious violations of human rights in Iraq, Afghanistan and Burma/Myanmar.
John’s strength in the practice of international law and relations underpins his vision for applied research and problem-solving in international public policy and domestic conflicts. His teaching, training, research and writing, as well as advocacy, have contributed to the development of the evolving field of international peace mediation.