Nandini Ramanujam

Full Professor (Professional)
Co-Director & Program Director,
Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism

New Chancellor Day Hall
3644 Peel Street
Room 605
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H3A 1W9

514-398-3577 [Office]
nandini.ramanujam [at] (Email)

Portrait: Nandini Ramanujam
Image by Lysanne Larose.


Focus online, Dec. 2011 -  The Fight Against Corruption
McGill Reporter, Sep. 2010 - Entre nous with Nandini Ramanujam
Website: Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism
Website: Rule of Law and Economic Development

Professor Nandini Ramanujam is the Co-Director and Director of Programs of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism at McGill University's Faculty of Law. She also directs the International Human Rights Internship Program as well as Independent Human Rights Internships Program. She is the McGill representative for the Scholars at Risk Network and served on the Steering Committee of the Scholars at Risk Network, Canada section from 2016-22.

Nandini Ramanujam’s research and teaching interests include Law and Development, Institutions and Governance, Economic Justice, Food Security and Food Safety, the role of civil society and the Fourth Estate (Media) in promotion of the rule of law, as well as the exploration of interconnections between field based human rights work and theoretical discourses.

She was appointed Associate Professor (Professional) in the Faculty of Law in April 2014, and then appointed to the rank of Full Professor (Professional) in June 2020. She was named co-director of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism in 2021.

Before joining McGill's Faculty of Law, Dr Ramanujam was involved in the successful systemic reform of higher education in the former communist countries of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, including Aga Khan’s Central Asian University and Smolny College in St. Petersburg. She has sat as Director of the Higher Education Support Program of the Open Society Institute in Budapest and Regional Director of Baltic and Eurasian Programs of Civic Education Project. She also has extensive experience in human rights issues, strategic planning, governance and programming, with a particular focus on education and civil society. She has been involved in the development of strategic planning for human rights institutions such as the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights and the Open Society Institute’s Disability and Law Network. She served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Human Rights Foundation (Equitas) from 2001-2008, and was President of Board between 2003-2008. She served on the Board of Directors of Centreaide Greater Montreal from 2016-2022.  She has been appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of Welcome Collective, Montreal in 2022.

Nandini Ramanujam received her Doctorate in Economics from Oxford University for her dissertation on Price Mechanism in Russia: Its role in the Old Planning and the New Markets. She holds a M.Phil and a M.A. in Economics with 1st class honours from Bhopal University.


  • D.Phil in Economics (Commonwealth Scholar), Oxford University, England, 1996
  • M.Phil in Economics (1st class hons), Bhopal University, India, 1985
  • M.A. in Economics (1st class hons), Bhopal University, India, 1984
  • B.Sc. In Chemistry, Physics & Biology, Bhopal University, India, 1982
  • Advanced Diploma in Russian, Bhopal University, India, 1985


Independent Consultant, Representative Assignments with USAID, Aga Khan Foundation, open Society Institute, Bard College, Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, Civic Education Project, Disability Rights Initiative (2001-2005)

Director, Higher Education Support Program, Open Society Institute, Budapest (March 22 1999 – February 2001)

Director, Baltic and Eurasian Programs, Civic Education Project (Dec. 1995 – March 1999)

Development Officer, Institute of Slavonic Studies, Oxford University (May 1995 - November 1995)

Visiting Lecturer and Program Coordinator, Faculty of Economics, Lithuanian Academy of Agriculture, with Civic Education Project (August 1993 - May 1995)

Research Associate, Indian Council for Research on International Relations (ICRIER)  (Sept. 1987-Sept. 1990)

Young Professional, Bureau of Industrial Costs and Prices, Ministry of Industry, Government of India (Oct. 1986-Sept. 1987)

Teacher of Russian, Baliga Institute of Russian Studies, Bhopal (1984-1985)

Areas of Interest

Rule of Law and Development, Critical Engagement with Discourses in Human Rights, Economic Justice, Comparative Perspectives on Corruption across Brazil, Russia, India and China, Role of Civil Society and the Fourth Estate (Media) in promotion of Rule of law, Exploration of interconnections between field based human rights work and theoretical discourses.


The Transformative Impact of Experiential Pedagogy: Shifting Norms through Legal Education and Global Engagement, Nandini Ramanujam, Bianca Braganza and Julia Green, in “Interrupting Sexual Violence : The Power of Law, Education, and Media » Eds. Shaheen Shareef and Christopher Dietzel, Peter Lang Publications, 2023

Nandini Ramanujam and Francesca Farrington,Market- Engaging Institutions: The Rule of Law, Resilience and Responsiveness in an Era of Institutional Flux. Hague Journal on the Rule of Law, April 2023

Ramanujam, Nandini and Agnello, Alexander. "Repeating the Mistakes of the Law and Development Movement in Afghanistan" Law and Development Review, 2023.

“Centering economic inclusion in policy for realizing disability rights in India” with Nicholas Caivano,, Published online, 18 Apr 2023, Taylor & Francis, Disability and Society, Rutledge. 

“Sustainable Development Goals and Human Rights” in International Affairs Forum,  Centre fro International relations (Washington D.C.),  (March 2023), with Ellen Spannagel.

“Recalibrating the Food Security Paradigm: Exploring the Relational Dimension” Nandini Ramanujam and Sarah Berger Richardson,  Canadian Yearbook of Human Rights, Volume 3, 2019-201, pp.155-159

“The Rule of Law, Governance and Development” Nandini Ramanujam and Francesca Farrington, in Handbook on Governance and Development, editors, Wil Hout and Jane Hutchison, Edward Elgar Publishing House, 2022

Crossing the “Redline”: Engaging Russia in the Multilateral Order Nandini Ramanujam and Vishakha Wijenayake in Reclaiming Human Rights in a Changing World Order, Wed. Christopher Sabatini, Brookings Institution Press, October 10, 2022 

The Bidirectional Relationship Between Academic Freedom and Rule of Law: Hungary, Poland and Russia, Nandini Ramanujam and Vishakha Wijenayake, The Hague Journal of the Rule of Law, Volume 13, Issue 2-2, December 2021 (on-line version)

With Alexander Agnello. "Recalibration of the Sustainable Development Agenda: Insights from the Conflict in Yemen." [.pdf] McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law, vol. 16:1 (2020).

With Monika Berenyi. "Shifting Norms and Creating Shared Values in Post-Secondary Institutions: The Role of Human Rights Education and the Creative Arts" in Bergeron, M., Paquette, E., Ricci, S., Rousseau, C. et St Hilaire, M. (dir.) . Proceedings of the Canadian symposium on sexual violence in post-secondary education institutions. Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Montréal (QC), Canada : Chaire de recherche sur les violences sexistes et sexuelles en milieu d'enseignement supérieur. pp 50-56 (2019)

With Nicholas Caivano and Alexander Agnello. "Distributive Justice and the Sustainable Development Goals: Delivering Agenda 2030 in India." Law and Development Review, Vol. 12, no. 2, 2019.

With Sarah Berger-Richardson. "Ending child malnutrition under SDG2: the moral imperative for global solidarity and local action." Social Alternatives, Vol. 37, no. 1, 2018. 

With Alexander Agnello. "The Shifting Frontiers of Law: Access to Justice and Underemployment in the Legal Profession." Osgoode Hall Law Journal (Special Issue: Creating Opportunities: A Vision For the Future), 54:4 (2017)

With Nicolas Caivano. "The BRIC Nations and the Anatomy of Economic Development: The Core Tenets of Rule of Law." Law and Development Review, Vol 9, No 2 (December 2016)

With Stephanie Chow. "Towards a Human Dignity Based Approach to Food Security: Lessons from China and India."  [.pdf] Frontiers of Law in China, Vol 11, No 2 (June 2016) (read online)

With Miatta Gorvie. "Shifting Ground, Solid Foundations: Imagining a New Paradigm For Canadian Civil Society Engagement." [.pdf] 32 Windsor Y B Access Just (2015)

With Nicholas Caivano and Semahagn Abebe. "From Justiciability to Justice: Realizing the Human Right to Food." JSDLP Online, Volume 11:1 (2015).

With Siena Anstis. "Legal Empowerment, Social Movements and Fostering Equitable Economic Development in Cambodia" – Special Issue of Canadian Journal of Poverty and Law. Vol. 2 No. 1 (2013).

Rule of Law and Economic Development: A Comparative Analysis of Approaches to Economic Development across BRIC Countries - (2012).

Price Mechanism in Russia: Its role in the Old Planning and the New Markets – D.Phil Dissertation, Oxford University (1995).

"Liberalization of Industrial System in China – A Review." In Development Experience in China and India, Editors, S.P. Gupta, Nicholas Stern, Athar Hussain, William Byrd, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations and London School of Economics, Allied Publishers Limited, 1991.

Podcasts and audiobooks

  • Academic Freedom and the Rule of Law - RevDem Podcast, 8 March 2021. CEU RemDev Podcast - Review of Democracy. Professor Nandini Ramanujam (McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism) discusses the connection between academic freedom and the Rule of Law, contemporary and historical challenges, and prospects for the future with Professor Oliver Garner (Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law). The RemDev podcast is an initiative of the Review of Democracy, Democracy Institute, Central European University. Listen on Spotify
  • In Small Places Close to Home To the Righthouse. Podcast, 14 March 2022. Listen on Spotify. 
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