Who We Are
The Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) is overseen by faculty co-directors Professors Brook Baker, Martha Davis, Lucy Williams and Margaret Woo, and staffed by Director Elizabeth Ennen and Distinguished Scholar in Residence Alfred Brownell. PHRGE hosts affiliated faculty, research fellows, research assistants, co-op students, and interns.
Elizabeth Ennen, Director
Elizabeth Ennen began working at PHRGE in September 2016 and has been serving as its director since September 2018. She specializes in asylum law and the rights of noncitizens. Ennen is currently working on a “Safe Communities” project, with the Massachusetts ACLU and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), in which she monitors and analyzes “sanctuary city” or “safe community” initiatives in municipalities throughout Massachusetts.
Ennen holds a PhD in philosophy from McGill University and a JD from Northeastern University School of Law. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Justice Margot Botsford ’73 at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), served as a pro bono asylum attorney and technology consultant at Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSACC) in Cambridge, and volunteered as a research associate at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic. In 2015 the SJC Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services honored her with an Adams Pro Bono Publico Award for her work at CLSACC and at Harvard. Ennen currently serves as the chair of the SJC Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, and as an ex officio member of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission. She is also a member of the Immigration Coalition of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.
Alfred Brownell came to the School of Law from Liberia in December 2016. He has been re-appointed as a Distinguished Scholar in Residence for a second year, through December 2018. His faculty sponsor is Lucy Williams. One of Africa’s leading environmental and human rights defenders, Brownell works in the area of indigenous land rights.
As a founder, CEO, and Lead Campaigner at Green Advocates, Liberia’s first public-interest environmental law and human rights organization, Brownell has worked for almost twenty years as researcher, legal counsel and advocate for impoverished rural communities to ensure them a voice in decisions affecting their natural resources. In his field research, Brownell has established the serious human rights impacts of large agribusiness activities, including the destruction of sacred sites, burial grounds, farmlands, forests and wetlands that serve as a primary source of food for local communities. He has also documented the deleterious impact on food security and on traditional subsistence farming practices prompted by the introduction of monocrop agriculture.
Brownell co-authored Liberia’s first comprehensive framework environmental legislation and legislation related to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and Liberia’s progressive land rights policy, which establishes customary land as a category of land ownership with the same status as private property rights. He is also widely recognized for his leadership in the field of natural resource rights. Mr. Brownell serves on the Steering Committee of the Corporate Accountability Working Group of the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net) and coordinates inputs from African civil society organizations into to the drafting of a UN treaty on business and human rights. He is a Steering Committee member of the ETO (extraterritorial obligations) Consortium, Coordinating Committee member at OECD-Watch, a founding member of the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition and former international board member of the EITI. Regionally, he serves as Head of Secretariat and Facilitator of the Mano River Union Civil Society Natural Resources Rights and Governance Platform, which is bringing a multi-state lawsuit at the ECOWAS Court against seven African governments for their failure to protect the rights of local communities.
Brownell is a 1994 graduate of the University of Liberia, College of Agriculture and Forestry (Bachelor of Science in General Agriculture). He is a 1999 graduate of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia (JD/LLB) and a 2002 graduate of Tulane University Law School, New Orleans, LA (LLM in Environment and Energy Law).
Maria Green’s work focuses on human rights and development, with an emphasis on economic, social and cultural rights and on practical implementation of human rights standards as part of development or anti-poverty policy and practice. She also writes and teaches on issues relating to law, literature and human rights.
Gillian MacNaughton was the inaugural Executive Director of the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (2010-2012), and is now a senior fellow with the program as well as an affiliate of the Program on Health Policy and Law at Northeastern University. Gillian is an international human rights lawyer who works on economic and social rights, particularly the rights to health, education, and decent work, and their relationship to equality rights. She is also involved in developing human rights-based methodology and tools, including human rights impact assessment and indicators.