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Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Law: Human Rights and Beyond

This summer school focuses on the emergence of sexual orientation, gender identity (SOGI) and intersex issues in different areas of international law, such as human rights law, refugee law, international economic law, and international criminal law. Further information for this summer course will be available in January 2025

Course information

The information on this website will be updated from time to time, also to reflect changes in the draft programme (see the weblink on the right). We aim to offer this Summer School again in 2025 and/or 2026. Meanwhile, people interested in this field can take a look at the many online video, audio and reading materials listed in the Leiden Overview on SOGIESC in International Law (see the weblink on the left).

The eleven-day summer school on SOGI in International Law is held each summer in The Hague and Amsterdam, The Netherlands (with now also one in day in Leiden). The course focuses on the emergence of SOGI and intersex issues in different areas of international law. Participants learn about the history of the rights of LGBTQI+ persons in the international sphere, about current developments around the world and about the potential for future progress on equality. While some lectures will focus specifically on sexual orientation, on gender identity/expression, or on sex characteristics (together sometimes called SOGIESC), other sessions will focus on specific regions (including Africa, and Latin America) or on specific topics.

Special attention will be given to important precedent-setting cases that have helped to achieve some international protection against homophobia and transphobia. Themes include: global and regional human rights mechanisms, recognition of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities in refugee law, protection for women and LGBTQI+ persons in international criminal law, and the role of international and non-governmental organisations. 


Why this course?

This summer school offers a unique opportunity to learn from established academics from Leiden University, as well as from world-renowned legal experts from elsewhere, many of whom have been involved in strategic litigation that has helped to achieve international protection and recognition for LGBTQI+ individuals and expressions (most speakers are already mentioned in the draft programme, see weblink). Leiden University's Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies in The Hague is home to the world's only university chair in Comparative Sexual Orientation Law. The chair is currently held by Professor Kees Waaldijk, academic coordinator of this summer school.

The summer school provides a platform to network with fellow participants and speakers from all over the world. In each of the previous editions there were participants from at least five continents. And last but not least, this summer school allows you to discover three richly vibrant Dutch cities: The Hague (“the International City of Peace and Justice”), Leiden (the main seat of Leiden University), and Amsterdam (where the annual Queer & Pride events are taking place around the dates of this summer school).

Target audience

Legal and other professionals in governmental and non-governmental organisations, as well as advanced students are invited to apply. Completion of at least one year of university education including several law courses is required, as is some knowledge of human rights law and SOGI issues. For participants and potential participants, a list of online video/audio/reading materials has been put together: the Leiden Overview on SOGIESC in International Law (see the weblink on the left). These materials (some of which are by former and future speakers of this summer school) offer a good preparation for taking part.

Class size

To ensure active participation and exchange with teaching staff and fellow participants, a maximum of 50 participants will be admitted to this course.

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