BY: Communications | DATE: Feb 28, 2024

Davis to develop policy position on gender persecution


Lisa Davis headshot

(NEW YORK, NY) Lisa Davis, a professor at the City University of New York School of Law, has been seconded to the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Criminal Justice (GCJ) for 2024. Davis, formerly the Special Adviser on Gender Persecution to the International Criminal Court, is the Co-director of the Human Rights & Gender Justice Clinic and a Co-founder of CUNY’s Institute on Gender, Law and Transformative Peace. As an academic, Professor Davis is an expert in developing programs and strategies for handling complex international criminal cases involving gender crimes in atrocities. Davis also has practical experience at the intersection of human rights, international criminal law, and foreign policy.

The Office of Global Criminal Justice advises the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights on issues related to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. In this role, Professor  Davis will serve as an expert on transitional justice, accountability in armed conflicts, and atrocity tribunals and utilize their expertise in mixed methods training and their research and writing at GCJ. Davis will help draft a policy position on gender persecution.

“As a women’s and LGBTQI+ rights advocate who has worked with people and movements directly affected by conflict, it is a privilege to serve as a Senior Policy Advisor for Ambassador Van Schaack and help make a difference enhancing transitional justice for those affected by atrocities,” Davis said.

The Law School continues to be a leader in addressing gender-based violence on the international stage.

“We are incredibly proud Professor Davis will assume this important post,” said Sudha Setty, dean of CUNY School of Law. “I have no doubt that Lisa will contribute significantly to transitional justice, as they have been a champion for many years of gender justice as central to human rights.”

With the year-long appointment at GCJ, Davis will gain firsthand experience working for the lead foreign policy agency of the U.S. government, which will help Davis train the next generation of experts in the field at CUNY Law, as well as create a pool of knowledgeable CUNY Law graduates from which the U.S. government may draw its staff in the years to come.

Human Rights Lawyering on the International Stage

Serving as the first Special Adviser on Gender Persecution to the International Criminal Court Prosecutor, Davis drafted the first-ever policy on the crime of gender persecution. Professor Davis’ work has been covered by numerous media outlets, such as CNN and Buzzfeed and cited widely, as well as cited by the UN Security Council, UN Human Rights Council, and the Supreme Court of India. In 2022, Lisa was a Fulbright Scholar, teaching at the University of Leiden School of Law in The Hague, while also serving on the accountability working group for the W7 (Women 7) of the Group of Seven (G7) Process, the official “engagement group” on women and LGBTQI+ issues for the G7 government discussion forum.

Professor Davis graduated from CUNY Law and served as Editor-in-Chief of the CUNY Law Review. Davis joined the faculty in 2010 and serves as a faculty advisor to the CUNY Law Review. Davis also serves as the faculty representative for the CUNY LGBTQI+ Council, a CUNY-wide committee of faculty and staff dedicated to supporting the intersectional LGBTQI+ communities across the university system. Professor Davis also served on a faculty committee working with the Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice from 2014-2023.

Professor Davis will be on leave from duties at CUNY Law with plans to return in 2025.



CUNY School of Law is the nation’s No. 1 public interest law school; its dual mission to practice law in the service of human needs and transform the teaching, learning, and practice of law to include those it has excluded, marginalized, and oppressed make it a singular institution. As the only publicly funded law school in New York City, CUNY Law increases access to excellent legal training through this mission.