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The Papers of George Lister: "Mr Human Rights"

  The Papers of George Lister > Lister's Legacy

Lister's Legacy

Human Rights, Democracy and U.S. Foreign Policy

   

Former Assistant Secretary of State Harold Koh refers to George Lister as the ''institutional memory of the human rights bureau.'' Lister was there from before the beginning, and his life's work-documented in part by his papers-provides us the opportunity to enhance our understanding of the bureaucratic mechanisms through which the United States government has deployed its understanding of human rights and democracy in U.S. foreign policy.

Lister never rose beyond the middle level of the bureaucratic machinery, which is part of what makes his papers so useful. His work spanned six decades and multiple administrations. He worked closely with both Democrats and Republicans, inside and outside the State Department. Lister played an active role in developing and documenting a pre-human-rights foreign policy that promoted democracy, as well as a foreign policy deployed through the institutionalization of human rights past the end of the Cold War.

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Selected Documents:


   
     
Lister offers his trademark salute to
Lister offers his trademark salute to "Our Hopeless Cause," 1988

Video Clips:
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What George Lister Meant by Human Rights

Diane La Voy
Diane La Voy Transcript (pdf)


Elliott Abrams
Elliott Abrams Transcript (pdf)


Richard Schifter
Richard Schifter Transcript (pdf)


Edmundo Vargas Carreño
Edmundo Vargas Carreño Transcript (pdf)


Joseph Eldridge
Joseph Eldridge Transcript (pdf)


Harold Hongju Koh
Harold Hongju Koh Transcript (pdf)


Democracy and Human Rights

Claudio Grossman
Claudio Grossman Transcript (pdf)


Harold Hongju Koh
Harold Hongju Koh Transcript (pdf)


Elliott Abrams
Elliott Abrams Transcript (pdf)


“To Our Hopeless Cause”

Diane La Voy
Diane La Voy Transcript (pdf)


Harold Hongju Koh
Haro Hongju Koh Transcript (pdf)


George Lister Conference Clip

Streaming Video of George Lister's Legacy