It is with great sadness that we note the passing of Professor Chandra Sriram.
She first joined UEL in 2005 as Professor of Human Rights at UEL School of Law, having completed her doctorate from Princeton University and having taught at St Andrews University. In 2006, she set up the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict (CHRC), which she directed with great dynamism, making UEL a centre of excellence in the field of Human Rights and Transitional Justice. She left the University in 2010 to join SOAS School of Law, returning to UEL in 2013 as Professor of International Law and International Relations.
Through the CHRC, Professor Sriram was involved in many projects on transitional justice around the world, including important contributions in Sierra Leone, Kenya, Sudan, Colombia and Sri Lanka. These included major projects funded by the European Union, ESRC, British Academy and the US Institute for Peace.
Professor Sriram published widely in the field of conflict resolution and transitional justice, authoring or editing some ten books, including a significant monograph on “Peace as Governance: Power-Sharing, Armed Groups and Contemporary Peace Negotiations” (Palgrave, 2008).
At UEL, she developed LLM Courses such as War and Human Rights and supervised numerous PhD students. Her presence at UEL attracted many prominent Human Rights scholars, activists and experts to the University as members of staff, as guest speakers and as research collaborators.
Her international outlook and commitment to Human Rights research made a profound impact on those around her and on the university in general. Her unexpected death at a young age is a great loss of a close colleague and an excellent scholar.
In memoriam: Chandra Lekha Sriram
10 October 2018
SOAS School of Law is saddened by the news of the sudden passing away of Professor Chandra Lekha Sriram. Chandra joined SOAS School of Law in 2011 before returning to the University of East London in 2013. Chandra was an energetic and gifted scholar whose interdisciplinary work on peace-building, transitional justice, international criminal law, and human rights is widely recognised. She leaves a rich legacy and we remember her fondly as a highly dedicated colleague who was passionate about her work. During her brief time at SOAS, Chandra was awarded a three-year ESRC grant to work on transitional justice and democratic institution building. She made a number of contributions to our research culture – we continue to produce the School of Law Research Newsletter which Chandra began and our now established annual PhD Colloquium has its roots in the doctoral research seminar series that she introduced. Chandra also encouraged her colleagues to form research development groups for the mutual discussion of our research. After she left she continued to supervise the work of one of our PhD students, Demetra Loizou. We offer our condolences to Chandra’s family members.
From 25-30 November 2018 we dedicated the OSCE ‘Transitional Justice Autumn School’ for young researchers in Tirana, Albania, in memoriam to Chandra.
Chandra and I had been jointly designing this seminar over the summer and she was very enthusiastic about it, as with all the work she liked to do in the area of Transitional Justice.
We all missed her, I missed her… but her spirit and ideas for this School have been with us during the whole week. This is to you, Chandra!
Greetings from all of us & Anja Mihr
The Human Rights Section of ISA invites applications for the first annual Chandra Sriram Human Rights Section Global South Travel Grant. This is a competitive grant based on merit and need intended to assist scholars with accepted papers at ISA 2019 with expenses related to attending the convention in Toronto. Applicants must be members of the Human Rights Section and be working or studying at an academic or policy institution in the Global South. We define “Global South” as defined by the ISA Global South Caucus Charter, Art. 4, section 5ai, which includes: Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Africa, the Middle East/North Africa and developing Eurasia.
We welcome applications from students, faculty and practitioners. We particularly welcome applications from graduate students and/or early career scholars. The selection committee reserves the right to award more than one grant in a given year, or not to award a grant if no suitable applications are received.
To apply please submit the following as a single pdf attachment:
- Name, title, institutional affiliation and contact information
- Accepted abstract for ISA 2019
- 300 word statement addressing the following:
- How will this award enhance your research or career trajectory?
- Have you applied for an ISA Travel Grant?
- Describe your efforts to secure support from your home institution and external grant support
- Indicate how much financial support you are requesting (up to a maximum of $500)
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
All application materials should be e-mailed in one file directly to the chair of the Grant Committee, Dr. Bethany Barratt, before midnight Eastern time on December 10, 2018. The committee will make its decision as soon as possible and the awardee will be informed of their award on or before January 30, 2018.
This weekend a number of us gathered in London to celebrate Chandra. There was a poignant boat ride to scatter her ashes, which others can talk about, and a gathering of celebration on Sunday. As we are all list-consumers nowadays, here is mine from that event:
- Carolyn (aka Cha Mommy) was amazing
Now we know where Chandra got her strength from. Carolyn was brave, cheerful, charming and funny. What a role model! And she wears a sparkle well!
- Chandra’s friends/family all loved her with a passion
Chandra had a big impact on us all – from expanding our food palates to guiding our approaches to Research Ethics to showing us how to be a good mentor. She taught by example across the span of her activities. Funnily enough though, no one said they had been influenced by her distinct fashion choices…
- Chandra seems to have been mellowing
Despite her loudly and oft stated dislike of children, she was bringing presents for the kids of her dear friends and even agreeing to be in the same room as their progeny. This was a shocker!
- I have never been to a life celebration featuring a Drag Queen act before
This was probably true for most everyone in the room (please tell us more if that was not the case…) Watching Johnny Woo – knowing that Chandra appreciated her so much – was a real treat! And she worked the room so well, supported Carolyn, made us all laugh, and got everyone dancing. A Class Act.
- The celebration drew lovely friends from far and wide – Singapore, America, Continental Europe and elsewhere
What an international gathering we were! Others who could not make it sent messages or were acknowledged. We all made new friends that night; and connected some gossip!!
- The friends who organized the evening were amazing
They knew what Chandra deserved and we all needed and gave us the space to laugh, cry, remember, understand. They deserve our profound thanks.
- As we are in an age of (millennial) self-realization…
I admit I can never be as fine a person as Chandra (or wear heels as high as Johnny Woo). We are all both broken and comforted by the celebration of Chandra’s too-short life.
I first met Chandra in October 2010, on our first day as new members of staff at SOAS, University of London – together with Amanda Perry-Kessaris. The three of us immediately bonded over the slightly haphazard induction to a new workplace, and Chandra continued to provide droll commentary on the ups and downs of working at SOAS. She was a firm and principled colleague – and a great companion to share cocktails with. Reading the other testimonials reinforces my sense of Chandra’s capacity for deep and sustained friendships, and also how committed she was to supporting – and bringing the best out in – others’ research.
Amanda and I have had an exotic cocktail in Chandra’s honour and memory, which we hope she would approve.
Chandra was one of the most giving people I ever worked with – always keen to read a draft, organise a panel, involve you in a grant application, assemble an edited collection – thankless roles that benefited others. She was generous and gregarious – always in the thick of the action (long after the conference had ended and the real conversations started in some dingy bar in Nairobi, Sarajevo or east London). Her warmth and zest and love of community will be massively missed.
I met Chandra in our very first days of law school. I was part of a nerdy group of young women, who took law school and the politics of law school and, for me, awakening into a new kind of academic experience very, very seriously. Chandra moved on the edges of our little clan, standing out for many reasons. It wasn’t just the crazy hair or velvet purses or the scandalous leggings that said “f—k” all over them, worn to seminars taught by storied old men. It wasn’t just that she was so young (I remember after our final first-semester exam, we couldn’t go to a bar for drinks; Chandra may have already had a master’s from Chicago, but she wasn’t yet old enough to drink legally). What made her stand out most was that while she was serious, she didn’t take the crazy, artificial self-importance of law school seriously. She was going to engage with it on her own terms, and call bullshit when she saw it.
I love that about her. I think one facet of her bullshit intolerance became her complaining shtick, one she elevated to near high-art stand-up comedy. Another was channeled into battles with academic bureaucracy. But most was channeled into her work. It didn’t feel from the outside like a passion so much as an innate drive to do the work she was doing. I simply can’t imagine her doing anything else.
I’m still haven’t fully absorbed that she’s gone. I’ll miss the wonderful conversations, hearing about her impossibly life-absorbing work. I’ll miss visiting her in London, where she always took such wonderful care of me: took me to the best food shopping, the latest restaurants, cooking together for and with her always-amazing friends (Wayne, remember that meal so beautiful we photographed it, years before that was a thing?) the nights out. I never felt so cosmopolitan as when I was with her.
Her intensity. Her silliness and irreverence. The eyebrow arched over the rim of the martini glass. I will miss her so, once her departure becomes real to me.
The Editorial Board of Peacebuilding is very saddened by the passing of Chandra Lekha Sriram. Chandra was a much valued colleague, contributor, and friend to many of us and always impressed with her academic brilliance. She will be greatly missed professionally and personally.
I am stunned to learn of Chandra’s sudden passing. I got to know her when we both worked at the International Peace Institute. At the time, I was a newly minted Ph.D. Chandra’s already-growing list of accomplishments were inspiring. At the same time, she was generous with her time and insight. Her contributions to human rights, transitional justice, and peacebuilding are lasting legacies. She will be sorely missed.
Chandra was a trailblazing scholar, a tireless and generous colleague, and an inspiration to the academic and human rights community – but she was so much more. I cannot remember the year, but she introduced herself to me some time in the early 2000’s at an ISA conference, and from then on, she became one of my global tribe of soul-sisters. Over almost two decades, we organized panels, visited each others’ workshops, and from time to time had transformative conversations (usually Skype but sometimes over glorious dinners) about life, love, and learning. I felt honored to be included in her rolling transnational salon of ISA meet-ups, and came to know her circle of talented collaborators. Chandra had an esprit, a consciousness, and a way of walking in the world that illuminated us all. She was a presence. The last time I saw her, this past spring, she was hosting cocktails at the Redwood Room, and that is how I will remember her – raising a glass to the republic of letters.
I am truly saddened to hear that Chandra has passed away. Chandra was an amazing mentor for women; a woman other women could look up to – so kind, so smart, so wise; she had achieved so much but was down to earth and humble, and in a world in which we currently live this is a loss which can genuinely be felt.
My thoughts are with Chandra’s family, her friends, and anyone who had been graced with Chandra’s bright and cheery presence.
I am stunned at this news. Chandra was an important colleague in the development of our International TJ Workshop devoted to bringing academics and activists from the Global North and South together to explore the issues of power and powerlessness. Her critical insights and enthusiasm for the work made working with her a joy. She was smart, funny and always engaged. Her contributions to the development of transitional justice as a field were many and important. What an incredible loss! My sympathies to her family and all who loved her.
Chandra was a beacon of light, reason, calmness and humour during my PhD studies. I remember meeting her back in 2011. I entered SOAS for the first time, both anxious and excited that I was about to meet my PhD supervisor. And I remember even more clearly how calm and reassured and even more excited about my PhD I felt after our first meeting. I regret that I didn’t tell her when I had the chance how much I appreciated her as a person, an academic, a researcher, a supervisor and as an advisor during my PhD and beyond… Words are too poor to express the loss to her family and friends in academia and beyond.
Bulleit Bourbon and Halo Pub ice-cream. These were a few of our favorite things.
Thanks for blurbing Remaking Rwanda, including me in one of your (prodigiously many) edited collections, defending my right to law-review-style footnotes, introducing me to ISA, and helping me see the links between TJ and peacebuilding more clearly.
There are really no words. Chandra will be much missed as a scholar, a fierce critic, and a fabulous dining/drinking partner. As someone who only started working with Chandra over the last 3 or 4 years, I want more than anything else to note and pay tribute to her incredibly generous spirit. There are other great scholars out there, but no one more committed to both crossing disciplinary and intellectual borders while maintaining absolute academic integrity. And I absolutely do not know other scholars as willing to go out of their way to generously help the work of those lucky enough to cross her path. I was very lucky indeed in that respect, and so very sad at the loss. We are all lesser for that.
Anthony Tirado Chase
This is terrible, unfair, heart-breaking news. It is such an awful loss to so many of us personally, to academia, and to the world. I am very fortunate to have attended many of the same conferences and workshops as Chandra over the years, and to have met some of her students when I gave a seminar at UEL. I learned so much from her. She was amazingly prolific, generous with her time and intellectual energy, incisive in her criticism and feedback, and unafraid to use her voice. Her work dealt with difficult choices and difficult circumstances and she managed to convey her ideas clearly and powerfully.
Every time we met I was struck by her strong sense of humour and her healthy irreverence. I would always leave smiling, thinking about one of Chandra’s observations about scholarship, people, politics, good (or bad) food, and good (or bad) places. She had low tolerance (and high detection capabilities) for arrogance, bullshit and injustice, but she also always knew when it was time to go for a cocktail. I will really miss her.
I am still struggling to accept that Chandra is no longer with us. She was so unique in so many ways and left an indelible mark on everyone she knew both personally and professionally. I first met her at the International Peace Academy when she led IPA’s program on conflict prevention in the early 2000s, contributing in important ways to the UN’s early work on conflict prevention long before the recent revival of the prevention agenda. Her post-IPA work as a professor, scholar and researcher reflected her many talents and growing professional interests. I greatly enjoyed our encounters at ISA and other professional gatherings over the years and considered her an invaluable colleague. It was a great privilege to get to know her professionally and personally. Chandra will be greatly missed by her many friends around the world.
Necla Tschirgi, Kroc School of Peace Studies, University of San Diego
Before I met Chandra, she was already the most cited scholar in my research on transitional justice and post-conflict peacebuilding. Then she read my PhD dissertation as my external examiner and gladly accepted to be my mentor in the Justice, Conflict, and Development Network. Over the past two years we attended four workshops together and Chandra read and commented on every paper I have published and still working on. She was my true mentor and supervisor, always there to provide insightful advice and constructive feedback on my work. Whenever we met for lunch or dinner, I had a bonus – her great sense of humor.
Chandra, your mentorship was brief (and I was hoping for more), but it’s an indelible mark in my academic and professional life.
You have gone when we needed you most. Rest in eternal peace, my dear mentor!
The President and Staff of the International Peace Institute mourn the passing of Chandra Lekha Sriram. From 2000-2003 she was an excellent colleague contributing numerous articles to the Africa program in addition to serving as co-editor with Adekeye Adebajo of Managing Armed Conflict in the 21st Century (London: Frank Cass), as well as other journals. Chandra brought a sharp intellect as well as excellent editing skills to all these projects. She encouraged other staff members to share their insights through these edited volumes. Chandra has passed away far too young; she will be sorely missed.
John L. Hirsch
I am writing to you after hearing the passing of Chandra. I was one of her students and she supervised my PhD when she worked at SOAS up until 2016.
I am very shocked by the news. She was a great teacher. Without her, I would not have been able to finish my studies, let alone to believe what I have achieved.
She was a really impressive professor and marked me by both her intelligence and humanity.
I live in Morocco now work in an NGO and teach at a university. Her work and personality still influence me today. I do hope her family and friends will find comfort.
She will be missed.
It is with great sadness that the Editors of the European Journal of International Relations have learned of the death of our colleague and member of the Editorial Committee of the journal, Chandra Sriram. We had recently asked Chandra to join our Editorial Committee, valuing and hoping to rely on her energy, generosity and intellect, the breadth of her knowledge across international law and politics, and her extraordinary academic citizenship. She had just begun reviewing for us, and we were looking forward to getting to know her better through many years of collaboration. She will be truly missed as a member of the academic community. The Editors extend their most sincere condolences to Chandra’s surviving family and friends.
Ursula Daxecker, Annette Freyberg-Inan, Marlies Glasius, Geoffrey Underhill and Darshan Vigneswaran
This obituary was published in the European Journal of International Relations, vol. 24, no. 4 (December 2018), p. 739.
Chandra’s passing is an incredible loss to the world of scholarship. We were together at the International Peace Academy in New York for four wonderful years and co-edited a book on Managing Armed Conflicts. She invited me to deliver a lecture at the University of East London, and edited a ground-breaking book on Transitional Justice in Africa in 2009 while I was directing the Centre for Conflict Resolution in Cape Town. As others have noted, she was the ultimate professional: thorough, rigorous, and calm. Even during the tough times at SOAS, she tried to maintain her good humour. She was always a loyal and dedicated friend and colleague, and meals in London were always interesting. Despite her Ivy league pedigree (Chicago, Berkeley, Princeton) she had no airs or graces and always kept it “real”. The fact she wanted to move to be closer to her mother was characteristic of her selflessness.
Gone too soon, but rest in peace, dear sister.
We are very saddened by the untimely passing of Prof. Chandra Lekha Sriram. She was a keynote speaker for a student-led conference “Contesting Transitional Justice” organised by the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University in September 2017. As well as an insightful and inspiring keynote lecture, she took time during the conference to speak to young researchers and PhD students and was interested to learn about their projects. Prof. Sriram’s contribution to human rights, transitional justice and post-conflict peacebuilding is deeply valued and we will miss her immensely.
“Contesting Transitional Justice” conference organisers at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University
It is with great sadness that the Leuven Institute of Criminology – Human Rights and Transitional Justice Research Line learned of the sudden passing of Chandra Lekha Sriram. Chandra was a highly respected and prolific scholar on transitional justice and peacebuilding, who we greatly valued as a wonderful colleague. We had the honour of welcoming Chandra at the University of Leuven in September 2015 as a keynote speaker at the symposium on ‘Human Rights, Development and Transitional Justice’, and our paths crossed regularly at various conferences across the globe. For some of us, she was also a close collaborator and friend. She will be greatly missed, for her sharp and creative intellectual contributions, her mindboggling ability to juggle multiple projects, her dedication to supporting fellow (junior) scholars, her often irreverent attitude towards the idiosyncrasies of academia, and her off-beat humour. We send our deepest condolences and sympathy to her mother and close friends and will forever remain inspired by her life and work.
Valerie Arnould and Stephan Parmentier, on behalf of the Research Line on Human Rights and Transitional Justice, Leuven Institute of Criminology, University of Leuven