Chidi Odinkalu is senior legal officer for the Africa Program of the Open Society Justice Initiative. Based in the Abuja office, Odinkalu is a lawyer and advocate from Nigeria and currently also Chairs the Governing Council of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission. Odinkalu received his Ph.D. in law from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Prior to joining the staff of Open Society Justice Initiative, Odinkalu was senior legal officer responsible for Africa and Middle East at the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights in London, Human Rights Advisor to the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone, and Brandeis International Fellow at the Centre for Ethics, Justice and Public Life of the Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts.
Odinkalu is widely published on diverse subjects of international law, international economic and human rights law, public policy, and political economy affecting African countries. He is frequently called upon to advise multilateral and bilateral institutions on Africa-related policy, including the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, and the World Economic Forum.
Odinkalu has extensive networks across Africa built up over several years of working for human rights and social justice on the continent. He is associated with several non-governmental and academic institutions within and outside Africa. Among other affiliations, Odinkalu is a member of the Human Rights Advisory Council of the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, of the Boards of the Fund for Global Human Rights and of the International Refugee Rights Initiative. He is also the founder of the Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) at the Nigerian Bar and member of the Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association.