Dr. Tawanda Mutasah
Prominent human rights activists Tawanda Mutasah will this year grace theSpace 3rd Edition where he is expected to give a keynote address on ‘Challenging Power’. theSpace 3rd edition is scheduled on September 15 at Harare Gardens, in the capital.
The London based lawyer, administrator and human rights activist is expected to lead the conversation that will be mainly focusing on fight against inequality and poverty.
The conversation is expected to reshape the trajectory of ‘our collective future through sharing knowledge and tools that would allow for social and economic transformation as envisioned in Sustainable Development Goal’.
Dr Mutasah’s decision to attend theSpace 3rd edition will give the youths and ordinary people to interact with one of the country’s shining beacons.
Who is he?
Mutasah has had a trailblazing career which spans several decades.
He is Senior Director, International Law and Policy at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, the world’s leading human rights movement. Based in London, he heads the global movement’s formulation of human rights policies, and its interpretation and application of International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law.
He is also the Senior Leadership Team’s focal person for international advocacy, in which Amnesty systematically engages the United Nations as well as regional and other intergovernmental organisations; for strategic litigation, where the organisation uses courts and other adjudicative fora to advance and defend human rights; and for the human rights’ movement’s work against discrimination on internationally prohibited grounds including gender, race and caste.
Previously, Mutasah was Global Director of Programs for the Open Society Foundations (OSF), based at the foundations’ New York headquarters where he oversaw international thematic programs. Before that, Mutasah founded, led or served in a variety of legal, policy, advocacy, and democracy-building efforts, via a range of organisations and projects, including Oxfam GB, the Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project (AfriMAP), the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW), the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), and Impact Development Associates.
Mutasah has served as a board member for a number of organisations, including the Centre for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), and as a governor for the African Development Bank-supported Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA).
In his native Zimbabwe, having been appointed by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches as head of the ecumenical mission on justice and human rights issues (head of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Program) – at the age of 23. Mutasah spearheaded breakthrough outcomes that included the founding of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) as a broad-based constitutional advocacy platform. He also established ecumenical projects that mobilised energies in the churches across the country, in particular the projects on Economic Justice, Civic Education, and Legal Aid.
In his student days, Mutasah was elected into the office of Secretary-General of the University of Zimbabwe’s Student Union, and also as Vice-President of the Zimbabwe National Students’ Union. He survived persecution by the State as a result of his activism for justice, human rights, and democracy.
Dr. Tawanda Mutasah holds a Master of Management degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and law degrees from the law schools of the University of Zimbabwe (LL.B Hons), Harvard University (LL.M), and New York University (Doctor of Juridical Science).
He undertook his practical legal training at the High Court of Zimbabwe and at former Harare law firm DW Aitken & Partners. Mutasah is a recipient of the International Bar Association’s Rule of Law award. He teaches International Law at Sciences Po, Paris.