The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

April 3, 2003

Human Rights Expert To Speak At UI April 8

Elliot J. Schrage, an expert in human rights investigation, will speak at the University of Iowa about "Private Voluntary Initiatives to Promote Respect for International Labor Rights: Soft Law or Corporate Spin?" at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 8 in Room 245, Boyd Law Building. The presentation is sponsored by the UI Center for Human Rights and is free and open to the public.

The center commissioned Schrage, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, to research and prepare a report to the U.S. Department of State on the effectiveness of voluntary corporate codes of conduct in combating sweatshop labor. His lecture, which is part of a law school seminar on "Human Rights and Child Labor," taught by Burns Weston and Chivy Sok, will reflect the findings of his research so far. Weston, an emeritus law professor, is director of the UI Center for Human Rights, and Sok is deputy director.

With more than 15 years' work promoting respect for international human rights and environmental protection, Schrage has broad experience in public interest advocacy. He has worked with such groups as the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in Africa, Asia, Central America and Eastern Europe and is the author/editor of numerous reports on the administration of justice and human rights conditions in Yugoslavia, Peru, El Salvador and Haiti.

In 2000, Schrage joined Gap Inc. as senior vice president of global affairs. In this role, he led the company's 45-person Corporate Communications Team, with responsibility for government affairs, crisis management, corporate branding, media relations, internal communications, and corporate correspondence. He also directed the company's Global Compliance organization, an integrated team of more than 80 professionals in 20 countries charged with inspecting working conditions at factories that manufacture products for the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic brands.

Prior to joining Gap, Inc., Schrage served as Managing Director of the New York office of Clark & Weinstock Inc., a public policy and management consulting firm. Since 1990, he has served as adjunct professor at Columbia University Business School, where he teaches a seminar that explores the social consequences of economic globalization. He has written and spoken widely on this and related topics before corporations, foundations and trade associations, including the Royal Institute for International Affairs, Carter Presidential Center, the Ford Foundation, Business for Social Responsibility, the National Coffee Association and the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry.

In 1992-93, Schrage created and served as the first director of the Liaison Office on Human Rights and Environment, an initiative of the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Schrage has represented a variety of U.S. and foreign corporations in international transactions and served as consultant to several multinational corporations and trade associations, helping them draft corporate human rights "codes of conduct," or ways to monitor their compliance and evaluate the effectiveness of monitoring programs.

In 1996-97, he helped organize a partnership of the international sporting goods industry, UNICEF, Save the Children and the International Labor Organization to end child labor in soccer ball production in Pakistan. He also worked on a team with the American Apparel Manufacturers Association to develop the "Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production (WRAP) Certification Program," a global program to certify apparel factories as meeting fundamental human rights standards.

For more information, contact the UI Center for Human Rights at 319-335-3900 or uichr@uiowa.edu

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, mary-kenyon@uiowa.edu Program: UI Center for Human Rights, 319-335-3900, uichr@uiowa.edu