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Six Questions With Deena Hurwitz

Deena R Hurwitz and Kelly Blount


  • Deena Hurwitz is Division Chair for the International Law Section’s Human Rights and Corporate and Social Responsibility Division.
  • She has held leadership roles for its Middle East Committee and would gladly hold committee meetings there if she could.
  • One of her favorite programs was Middle East Committee session at the International Law 2019 Annual Meeting on “Reining in the Rogues: Holding the Commercial Spyware Industry Accountable for State Surveillance of Human Rights Defenders.”
Six Questions With Deena Hurwitz

Deena Hurwitz is a human rights consultant based in Charlottesville, Virginia. She founded the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law, where she taught for over a dozen years. She has two bipeds: a 17 year old high school junior and a 19 year old in his sophomore gap year; and a 9½ year old quadriped, who is the best friend a gal could have.   

What was your first leadership post in the Section, and what’s a favorite Section memory you’d like to share?

My first leadership experience was in 2019-2020 - Vice-Chair for Policy of the Middle East Committee under formidable co-chairs, Judge Lisa Ridgway and Jennifer Ismat.

A favorite section memory – attending my first (and only) Annual Meeting in 2019 - at which the MEC organized a panel on “Reining in the Rogues: Holding the commercial spyware industry accountable for state surveillance of human rights defenders.”

What’s your favorite city to revisit, and where do you want to go most that you haven’t been to yet?

My favorite city is Paris – I lived there in 1968-1969 with my family (I was in 7th grade!)  I’ve been back many times but it never gets old.

Sort of cheating because I have been there, where I want to go is Tunis with the Section for a regional conference – as we were planning when COVID derailed everyone’s plans.  A place I’ve never been?  Somewhere idyllic like Tuscany, anywhere in Hawaii or Costa Rica.

If you could take the whole Section out for a meal, we would have … ?

Middle Eastern food. I’m partial to Zaytinya in DC (“Turkish, Greek, Lebanese”). A glass of arak (or ouzo) for all …. 

What’s one thing you do for your mental and emotional wellbeing?

I meditate daily.

What are you reading/watching/listening to that you would recommend?

I’m reading State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. I listen to a lot of books on Audible, and one of my favorites is 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.  It’s long, but good company driving up and down the east coast.  If you like magical realism, you’ll enjoy Murakami.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Besides Putin being prosecuted for war crimes?  Like many – I’m looking forward to finally meeting in person all the great Section folks with whom I’ve been working the past two years.