Interview with Gay McDougall: Minority Rights Advocate

| 7/3/2014 1:47:00 PM


As a lawyer and minority rights advocate, Gay McDougall’s career has spanned four decades and reached every continent. She has been dedicated to furthering the breadth of marginalized voices through a number of posts with the United Nations, and in partnership with international organizations, and was recently appointed chair of Minority Rights Group, an organization which supports minority rights through education, litigation, and advocating for sustainable development policies. Utne Reader recently had a chance to catch up with McDougall and discuss her accomplished and ongoing career: 

You grew up during in the U.S. with segregation and then you went to college through integration so I wanted to know how this has informed your career?

It’s been the core motivation of my career and it’s also been the thought of a lot of my intuitive knowledge about how discrimination works, the many forms it takes, and how it impacts both individuals and communities.

That led you into your career as a lawyer and being involved with many organizations. Can you go through some of the highlights of your work in different countries and with different institutions?

I would name as one of the highlights of my career of working on racial discrimination issues in the United States including being in one of the early crews of people who registered black voters throughout the south after the Voting Rights Act in the early 60’s. That was a little bit before my career got started because I was a college student.

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