I will miss Chandra a great deal. She was an outstanding mentor, colleague and friend. Working with Chandra was more than just work; many great moments often involving good food, cocktails or a combination come to mind. I am grateful for all you taught me Chandra, and deeply disturbed that you are no longer here. Rest in peace.
Chandra Lekha Sriram was Professor of International Law and International Relations at the University of East London, where she was founder and Director of the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict. She died suddenly, far too young. Chandra was an incredibly important member of the network – she was a mentor to early career scholars as well as a contributor to a wide range of network publications, events and funding applications. We have added our recollections of Chandra to the website set up in her memory at http://lachandra.org/. Rest in peace, our sister, you will be much missed.
The human rights community has lost a trailblazing scholar, citizen of the world, and dear friend – Chandra Sriram. Twice chair of the ISA Human Rights Section, she tirelessly traveled the globe in pursuit of peace and justice and illuminated every gathering with style and mordant wit.
Chandra received her PhD in Politics from Princeton, her JD from the University of California-Berkeley, and her BA from the University of Chicago. After several years working with the International Peace Academy, she joined the University of East London School of Law as its first Professor of Human Rights and Director of the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict.
Chandra Sriram was the author of three books and over 100 articles, as well as editor of 11 volumes and special journal issues on post-conflict justice and peacebuilding. Her books include Peace as Governance (2008), Globalizing Justice for Mass Atrocities (2005), and the War, Conflict, and Human Rights textbook. Through her leadership of the Centre, grant projects, the ISA and European research networks, Chandra was an energetic collaborator, devoted mentor, teacher, ally, and inspiration to a worldwide web of human rights scholars and civil society advocates for peace and justice. A website has been established in her memory: www.lachandra.org.
It was a great privilege to know Chandra and to work with her at the University of East London. We were delighted when Chandra joined our Law School in 2005 and rapidly established the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict, of which we were very proud.
After a spell at SOAS, Chandra rejoined us and deep down I always believed that the location of John Lewis so close to the Law School played an important part in this decision! Whatever it was, we were extremely pleased to have her back.
Chandra was a person of the highest intellect and integrity. She was also a wonderfully generous, funny and very reliable friend and I will miss her very much. I send my very sincere condolences to Chandra’s mother and remember fondly our brief meeting in London many years ago.
Chandra was a great supporter of the International Journal of Transitional Justice through her insightful articles in the journal, but even more so in her selfless contribution as a regular reviewer where she regularly made extensive inputs to help nurture emerging scholars and practitioners. She was a great networker who introduced people from the north and south, linking practitioners and scholars across the globe. Thank you for a life lived to the full, a sharp wit and a generous human being.
International Journal of Transitional Justice
Chandra was my International Criminal Law professor for two full-year courses at SOAS. During this period, I learned a great deal from Chandra about the academic side of ICL, but that is not what mattered most to me during this period. She was the first person I had met in the academic world who valued me, believed in me, and made me believe in myself. In large part due to her influence, I had the courage to put myself out there and to stand up for myself in trying and difficult times.
I don’t think she realized what an impact she had on me and my life, and I hope that in some way, somewhere, she is able to realize this. I will miss her and will continue to think of her.
What is the most memorable about Chandra was her fierce independence. This was her marker both personally and professionally. She worked tirelessly. Her contributions to the field are innumerable and her productivity happened against the backdrop of all the brilliance and difficulties that being in academia can bring. Her voice and energy will be so very missed…
Still numb from hearing about the news. I might re-post later.
I was close friends with Chandra during graduate school. As honest, caring and fearless a person as I have known. Quick to offer a Merlot and some Tom Yum soup for a friend having a bad day. “Buffy” and the Simpsons will never be the same.
Given the times we live in, her sharp brand of kindness is needed more than ever. The world was better with Chandra in it, and the world needs a Chandra still.
I will really miss my friend.
When I think of Chandra, I think of a warm and caring person and a brilliant intellectual. The vanishing of both traits will leave a hole in our personal and academic worlds.
She will be sadly missed.
I remember Cha as a hearty presence, with an acerbic wit that just cracked me up in the best of ways. Her timing with the right words was impeccable.
I also consider her among my first mentors. Her model of mentoring informs mine today. Cha supported me right out of the gate. What lingers most are her intellectual generousity and overall concern for how to do research in conflict setting and with war-affected people. She practiced trust and kindness, two qualities that are often absent in conflict settings but also in the academic world. I will miss her.
Chandra was an academic of the very highest quality, in every sense. She was driven by care and conviction, and her work exposed political grandstanding and challenged academics and policy makers alike to attend to the needs of those affected by conflict. She knew more than many specialists on a remarkable range of cases, but wore her incredible breadth of expertise lightly. She supported students and early career researchers energetically, and took her teaching as seriously as her research. She was dynamite company over a cocktail and an invaluable participant on conference panels and roundtables. I realise now she’s gone that I had taken to inviting Chandra to just about every academic event I organised over the last few years, so insightful were her contributions. Rest in peace, Chandra. You will be much missed.
I was shocked and saddened to hear the news. Chandra was always such an engaged participant at the many conferences and workshops where we met – her passing still feels unreal. She was a remarkable scholar and her work made (and will continue to make) an important contribution to the transitional justice field. She will be missed.
In addition to being a prolific scholar, Chandra was a generous colleague, and a kind and genuine human being. I’ll miss not only her insights into transitional justice and peacebuilding, but also her sense of humor and ability to bring people together. Thank you, Chandra, for being supportive of me in my early years as a scholar and beyond. You will be missed.
The first time I saw Chandra was at our induction day as new members of staff at the School of Oriental and African Studies in 2010. It was chaos, and she was on the phone sorting it out with an intoxicating combination of patient tone and dramatic facial subtext. I was smitten.
I have got so much from reading the other testimonials on this site—several times actually—and getting a deeper hint of all the different types of relationships that Chandra nurtured across space and time.
I know that the future holds endless instances of me passing through St Pancras Station, and realising that it will never again be to meet her; receiving a text and knowing it will never again be from her, or include a photo of her hotel breakfast so that I can play guess the mysterious food item; and teaching research methods while, rather than laughing with easy delight as I explain why Chandra is my research ethics hero, a lump forms in my throat and tears well in my eyes.
I also know that I’m going to continue to check my decisions against what Chandra would think for the rest of my life.
Chandra was a force of nature, whose work always aimed to address the needs of those in conflict situations. Her scholarship was lively and critical and forthright – in the best possible ways. I valued her as a friend and colleague and will greatly miss her.
Dr. Chandra Lekha Sriram was a vibrant personality and inspirational trail-blazer in scholarly advocacy for human rights, justice and peace. We first met at an event in Kathmandu on the eve of Nepal’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement. I was in awe of her sheer articulate brilliance, and then we went for momos in town and it turned out she was a wonderful person as well. Subsequently it was my good fortune to work with her on several projects and we would meet up not just in London, but in Nuremberg, Geneva and latterly Nairobi as well.
Chandra was stunning in her iconic black and red. She had a wry sense of humour and was often self-deprecating. She could pack people (comfortably!) into her flat for home cooked hotpot with flair, and was a loyal friend. Her work output was prodigious and she held herself to a high standard always in scope and detail, a serious professional with intellectual rigour and a conscientious work ethic in the extreme. She did burn the proverbial ‘midnight oil’; her health did at times suffer, but no one would have imagined her leaving us so soon. We shared transatlantic roots and universalist concerns. I miss her terribly, already.
She leaves behind an impressive and ground-breaking collection of work – let’s use it, and let her values, insights and vision live on. Miss ya Chan.
I was Chandra’s roommate in political science grad school in the 1990s and she was a hilarious demolisher of the myriad varieties of nonsense which that entailed.
We used to try to crack each other up during what seemed like endless meandering classes, and although I could never quite get to her, I’ll never forget the time she rolled up her sleeve, subtly rotated her forearm, and looked at me pointedly to make sure I understood her implication, i.e., “this lecture is so boring I’m going to slit my wrists.”
I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard or so long, and even though this was a course I was supposed to be TAing, I eventually had to leave the lecture hall…
She was one of my favorite people in the world. It’s hard to imagine her being gone.
Chandra was one of my very first friends in the academic world. What a blessing to have met her so early on this journey, in that her humor, creativity, irony and insight added a lot of levity and perspective to life. I will miss her. I have such fond memories of dinners and cocktails with her in scattered cities: Amsterdam, London, New Orleans, Nuremberg, Las Vegas, New York, Washington. But her spirit lives on, and can grow in our own work and in how we interact with each other: to demonstrate acts of kindness and wit in our lives, to laugh more, to be supportive – genuinely supportive – of others, and to take seriously the act of not taking it all too seriously. My deepest sympathies to her mother.
It is with heavy heart that we learn of the passing of Professor Chandra Lekha Sriram. Chandra was a leading scholar in the field of human rights, transitional justice and conflict and a significant contributor to the work of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy. She recently contributed to the Nuremberg Forum 2017 conference report focusing on “10 Years after the Nuremberg Declaration on Peace and Justice: The Fight Against Impunity at a Crossroad”, with a paper on the relationship between transitional justice and security. Her work was also significant to our complementarity project that the Nuremberg Academy is leading together with the Netherlands-based Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies. She was one of the experts designing the methodology framework, in addition to mapping the context for national responses to international crimes. She was an invaluable part of the team and she will be missed dearly.
International Nuremberg Principles Academy
I am still in shock. I cannot believe that she has been taken away from us so soon. We have lost a beautiful person and a beautiful mind. My heartfelt condolences to her mother and all her dear friends.
I met Chandra in St Andrews some 15 years ago. I was working on my PhD when she arrived as lecturer in the same department. She was fascinating, smart, witty and kind. We instantly bonded in the need to complain to each other about anything and everything – and responding with a line to make the other laugh. This, of course, mostly done over fine wine and excellent dinner always cooked by Chandra. I have always been so impressed with her intelligent and calm way of being able to express herself. She was a tremendous help during my PhD – where whenever I felt stuck (research-wise or with life more generally) she would make a comment or ask a question which would get me thinking and be able find a relevant solution or direction.
We were in touch over the years after St Andrews – but it was not often enough and I wish we had spoken and seen each other more. Speaking to her was mostly over Skype while I was out on a mission with MSF – where after catching up and having complaining sessions, we would end up laughing and gossiping. Our countries of research/intervention often overlapped, although sadly we never saw each other in the field.
There are so many memories running around in my head right now. I am hoping she is somewhere close and sharing them with me.
Chandra my dear friend, you have accomplished so much in your life – you are an inspiration to me and I will miss you so much. You left us all too soon.
Like others I am devastated at the loss of such an energetic and passionate scholar who was committed to making research matter. I have worked with Chandra since 2005, including being co-director with her of the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict between 2013-2015. She represented the very best of the academic community: she aimed high and sought to inspire students and colleagues to do the same. She was a brave researcher going to conflict zones armed only with the desire to tell the truth about what was taking place. Her work remains central to the literature on transitional justice and will be cited for years to come. We were all privileged to have known and worked with her.
In memoriam: Chandra Lekha Sriram
The Board members and staff of Conciliation Resources are saddened to learn of the sudden passing of our friend and former trustee Professor Chandra Lekha Sriram.
Chandra was a member of our Board of Trustees from 2009 until 2012, and brought intellectual rigour and commitment to asking challenging questions that contributed to the development of the organisation. Andy Carl was Executive Director of Conciliation Resources at the time:
As a member of Conciliation Resources’ Board, Chandra brought her intellect, wit and politics to bear, helping to give us a strategic steer on our work on peacebuilding and human rights. I will never forget how generous she was with her insights, which were always delivered with a sardonic humour and an eye to what our work on transitional justice, peace and democratisation could mean for people living with violence and conflict. We will miss her.
Chandra was a Professor in Law at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, and founded and directed the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict at the University of East London. She also provided support and advice to the United Nations Development Programme, and led the development of a guidance note on governance, conflict prevention and early recovery. Chandra was twice the Chair of the International Studies Association Human Rights section and was co-Chair of the London Transitional Justice Network. Executive Director of Conciliation Resources, Jonathan Cohen said:
Chandra’s intelligence, audacity and energy were a great tonic. We benefitted enormously from the questions she posed, honed through experience of researching in conflict contexts and navigating the corridors of diplomatic institutions. This is a shocking loss to a community that held her in high esteem.
Chandra also authored and edited various books and journal articles on international relations, international law, human rights, conflict prevention and peacebuilding, and co-edited a book series on law, conflict and international relations. She also authored a chapter in Conciliation Resources’ Accord publication on Lebanon.
I was so shocked to hear the news last Thursday afternoon – just a few minutes after I emailed Chandra without knowing what happened. It is still difficult to believe that she passed away. I am so devastated. She was an amazing, distinguished colleague, whom I greatly admire and respect as a person as well as a great scholar. Her untimely death is a great loss.
In commemoration of Chandra, I am sharing my Facebook link and the UCL website, which capture her brilliance:
(i) Chandra as Respondent to Professor Michael Ignatieff’s lecture: ‘The Refugee as the Invasive Other’ – https://www.facebook.com/terri.kim/posts/10155352962893939?hc_location=ufi
(ii) Chandra’s excellent keynote, ‘Engaging with truth claims and the pursuit of justice’ at the Professor Jagdish Gundara Memorial Symposium: Global Challenges to Social Justice and the Future of Intercultural Education in honour of Professor Jagdish Gundara (1938-2016) – https://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Play/11488
RIP. With my heartfelt thoughts and deepest condolences,
Chandra patiently instructing me to make rosemary chicken, probably repressing howls of laughter on the inside because I am staring at the oven like it is a nuclear reactor, is my favorite memory of her.