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ISBN: 9781487002008

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In Search of a Better World

A Human Rights Odyssey

A work of memoir, history, and a call to action, the CBC Massey Lectures by internationally renowned UN prosecutor and scholar Payam Akhavan is a powerful and essential work on the major human rights struggles of our times.

Renowned UN prosecutor and human rights scholar Payam Akhavan has encountered the grim realities of contemporary genocide throughout his life and career. He argues that deceptive utopias, political cynicism, and public apathy have given rise to major human rights abuses: from the religious persecution of Iranian Bahá’ís that shaped his personal life, to the horrors of ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia, the genocide in Rwanda, and the rise of contemporary phenomena such as the Islamic State. But he also reflects on the inspiring resilience of the human spirit and the reality of our inextricable interdependence to liberate us, whether from hateful ideologies that deny the humanity of others or an empty consumerist culture that worships greed and self-indulgence.

A timely, essential, and passionate work of memoir and history, In Search of a Better World is a tour de force by an internationally renowned human rights lawyer.

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Payam Akhavan

Payam Akhavan is a Professor of International Law at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, a Member of the International Court of Arbitration, and a former UN prosecutor at The Hague. He has served with the UN in conflict zones around the world, including Bosnia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda, and Timor Leste, and as legal counsel in landmark cases before the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the European Court of Human Rights, the Supreme Courts of Canada and the United States. His prior academic appointments were at Oxford University, University of Paris, the European University Institute, University of Toronto, and Yale Law School. He earned his Doctor of the Science of Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School, and his widely cited academic publications include Reducing Genocide to Law from Cambridge University Press. He served as Chair of the Global Conference on Prevention of Genocide, is a Founder of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre, and his groundbreaking human rights work has been featured on BBC World’s Hardtalk, CBC Ideas, Maclean’s magazine, Brazil’s TV Globo, and the New York Times. In 2005, he was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. Payam Akhavan was born in Tehran, Iran, and migrated to Canada with his family in his childhood.

Chapter Title Abstract Contributors Pages Year Price


In this reading, human rights lawyer Payam Akhavan begins by recounting his own experiences coming to Canada from Iran as a result of the upheval of the 1970s. He interweaves personal … 76 $9.12


In this reading, human rights lawyer Payam Akhavan begins by recalling his experiences as a human rights lawyer in The Hague. He describes notable cases he was involved in and how it shaped his … 85 $10.20


In this reading, human rights lawyer Payam Akhavan discusses efforts by the international community to respond to human rights abuses an atrocities. He provides a history of UN peacekeeping … 61 $7.32


In this reading, human rights lawyer Payam Akhavan discusses the efforts of people to come together and fight human rights abuses. The chapter includes a discussion of human rights in Afghanistan … 70 $8.40


In this reading, human rights lawyer Payam Akhavan discusses the bonds that unite humans and the ways in which we can use those bonds to protect human rights. Please Note: A collection can … 70 $8.40