Veteran human rights lawyer and leader Kate Mackintosh has joined UCLA School of Law as the inaugural executive director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA Law. The Promise Institute was founded in 2017 with a $20 million gift to create a center on the West Coast for international human rights scholarship, training and advocacy.
Mackintosh has worked for more than 20 years as a lawyer, advocate and senior executive in the field of human rights, international criminal justice and protection of civilians.
She most recently served in The Hague as deputy registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Mackintosh previously served as a legal officer at the ICTY and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and has worked on human rights matters in conflict and post-conflict field situations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rwanda and South Sudan.
Mackintosh also has worked as a lawyer, executive and member of the board of directors of Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), at the organization’s Hong Kong and Amsterdam offices. For four years she was Médecins sans Frontières’ Head of Humanitarian Affairs in Amsterdam, leading advocacy on behalf of some of the world’s most vulnerable people, providing legal and policy advice on operations in more than 30 countries, and ensuring training of field staff in principles of international law, advocacy, and human rights and protection.
She has authored numerous articles and reports on the principles of humanitarian action, the protection of civilians and international criminal justice, and has carried out research on behalf of organizations including UNICEF, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Harvard University.
Mackintosh earned her first class bachelor’s degree at the University of Sussex, her law degree from the University of Northumbria and an LL.M. in Human Rights Law with Distinction from the University of Essex.
The Promise Institute is dedicated to training the next generation of human rights lawyers and leaders, generating vital scholarship, and developing programs for on-the-ground assistance to address the most pressing contemporary human rights concerns — including genocide studies, international migration and refugee crises, and post-conflict human rights. The Promise Institute collaborates with international, national, regional and UCLA partners on a variety of projects and initiatives.
The inspiration for the Promise Institute, and part of the funding from the founding gift, came from The Promise (2017) — the first major Hollywood film to raise awareness about the Armenian Genocide.