Dr Orly Maya Stern is a researcher, consultant and human rights lawyer from South Africa. She is an authority on gender issues, human rights, rule of law and security, particularly in countries affected by conflict and instability. Over the past decade she has worked and conducted research in numerous countries including Iraq, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Jordan, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa.
Research + Writing
Orly conducts rigorous, in-depth field research in some of the world’s most embattled environments. She has led research projects and designed methodologies and research tools for various humanitarian organisations, research institutions and NGOs. She has published extensively – from articles, reports and desk reviews, to a co-edited book documenting the lives of women in South Sudan. Her next book, which conducts a feminist critique of the laws of war, is due for release in early 2018.
Orly works as a consultant to humanitarian organisations, NGOs and other development entities. This work includes everything from the development of strategies and standard operating procedures for programmes, to evaluations and assessments, to the writing of policy documents and guidance, as clients require.
Training + Facilitation
Much of Orly’s work involves conducting training for teams in the field, on topics such as human rights law, protection and sexual and gender-based violence. She has extensive experience training government employees and police, as well as civil society actors, in a range of countries. She also runs workshops and facilitates discussions and strategy sessions.
As an authority in her field, Orly is a speaker and presenter at numerous international conferences and events.
Orly is currently a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, through the Harvard School of Public Health. Orly has a PhD from the London School of Economics, for which she conducted a feminist critique of international humanitarian law (the laws of war). She holds an LL.M in international human rights law from Harvard Law School. Trained as a lawyer and admitted as an attorney in South Africa, she also earned degrees in law and in psychology from the University of Cape Town.
- Senior Fellow – Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
- PhD – London School of Economics and Political Science
(International humanitarian law)
- LL.M – Harvard University
(International human rights law)
- LL.B – University of Cape Town (Law)
- BA – University of Cape Town (Psychology)
FOCUS AND EXPERTISE
Orly’s expertise spans international law (in particular international humanitarian law and international human rights law), armed conflict, gender and gender-based violence, human rights, and access to justice and security.
Thematic areas include the following:
- Armed conflict
- Gender and SGBV (sexual and gender based violence)
- Access to justice / rule of law
- Security sector reform (police reform, disarmament demobilization and reintegration)
- Human rights and international human rights law
- International humanitarian law
- Qualitative research
- Monitoring and evaluation
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
- World Bank
- UK Department for International Development (DFID)
- Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA)
- World Economic Forum
- International Rescue Committee
- American Refugee Committee
- Social Development Direct
- Adam Smith International
- Small Arms Survey – Human Security Baseline Assessment
- Institute for Security Studies
- Institute for Justice and Reconciliation
- Media Legal Defense Initiative
- Medica Mondiale
- Nonviolent Peaceforce
- Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone
- Sonke Gender Justice Network
- Treatment Action Campaign
- Safety and Violence Initiative, University of Cape Town