Leiden University appoints Mikiko Otani as Rotating Honorary Chair in Enforcement of Children's Rights
Leiden University is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Mikiko Otani as the Rotating Honorary Chair in Enforcement of Children's Rights 2023/2024 at the Department of Child Law, a prestigious position that highlights Leiden University's commitment to the advancement of children's rights research and education globally.
The Rotating Honorary Chair in Enforcement of Children's Rights is a distinguished academic position established to promote the study and advocacy of children's rights. This unique initiative at Leiden University invites renowned experts in the field of children’s rights to contribute their knowledge, experience, and insights globally. The rotating professorship has been established with the support of the Kroese-Duijsters Fund and the Leiden University Fund. This rotating honorary chair has previously been held by two eminent scholars in the field of children's rights: Professor Ann Skelton (now the Programme Director of the Master of Laws Advanced Studies in International Children's Rights) and Professor Ursula Kilkelly. Their contributions have enriched the department's commitment to advancing children's rights, and Dr Otani's appointment continues this tradition of excellence.
Dr Mikiko Otani is an international human rights lawyer who has been a practising lawyer of family law in Japan for over 30 years, with a focus on women's and children's rights. She is a member and the former Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. She has broad academic and extensive practical knowledge and experience in the areas of international human rights law, including child rights, international family law, and the United Nations system. Among her areas of interest, she is currently focusing on children and armed conflicts for her research and activities. Dr Otani brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her new role.
'We are excited to welcome Dr Mikiko Otani to Leiden University as the Rotating Honorary Chair in Enforcement of Children's Rights 2023/2024', says Professor Ton Liefaard, Head of the Department of Child Law and UNICEF Chair in Children’s Rights at Leiden University. 'Her deep commitment to the protection and promotion of children’s rights, combined with her extensive legal expertise, aligns perfectly with our department's mission. Dr Otani's contributions will undoubtedly inspire our students and researchers, and her work will leave a lasting impact in our department and Leiden Law School.'
Professor Ann Skelton, the first Rotating Honorary Chair ‘Enforcement of Children’s Rights’ and the successor of Dr Otani as the Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, shared her thoughts on the appointment, saying, 'Dr Otani is a distinguished expert with a profound dedication to children's rights. It's especially meaningful to see her taking on this role as Rotating Honorary Chair ‘Enforcement of Children’s Rights’, building upon the foundation of her vast experience in the Asian region as well as with the wider UN system, the International Criminal Court and the Hague Conference on Private International Law, in addition to her work at the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. I look forward to working together with her at Leiden University.'
During her tenure, Dr Otani will engage in a range of activities, including lecturing, conducting research, and collaborating with fellow faculty members and students. In particular, she will teach in the courses, Interaction Between Children's Rights And Other International Legal Systems, Child And Family In Private International Law and Enforcement And Monitoring of Children's Rights. Her presence will provide a unique opportunity for students to learn from one of the foremost experts in the field of children's rights.
Dr Otani expressed her enthusiasm about her appointment, stating, 'I am grateful and humbled to accept with great pleasure the nomination from the prestigious and internationally renowned research university with a long tradition in international law. I am excited to join the esteemed Department of Child Law at Leiden University as the Rotating Chair on Children’s Rights for the upcoming academic year. Children's rights scholarship is fundamental to the protection and promotion of children’s rights. I am eager to lecture, research and supervise students at Leiden, through which we further advance our collective understanding of children’s rights with practical ideas for their realisation, especially in the context of armed conflict.'
Dr Mikiko Otani’s appointment underscores Leiden University’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of legal scholarship and promoting and protecting children’s rights worldwide.