Jaykumar Menon is an international human rights lawyer, scholar, and social innovator. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute, a Visiting Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a Research Fellow at the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, which is based at McGill University. His research, teachings and practice focus on innovative approaches to realizing basic human rights for a billion or more people. He is a founder and the chair of the Open Source Pharma Foundation, which aims to generate affordable new cures in areas of great health need and to create a new open source innovation model for drug discovery. OSPF commenced, with lead partner NIRT, Phase 2B clinical trials for a new adjunct therapy for tuberculosis, at less than roughly 1% the cost and 10% the time of a conventional model. He is also a founder of The India Nutrition Initiative, which is developing salt double-fortified with iron and iodine (“DFS”), to help address the world’s the most widespread form of malnutrition, iron deficiency, which afflicts 2 billion people, disproportionately women and children. DFS has been included in over 1 billion meals.
Previously, Jaykumar led the international development program at the X PRIZE Foundation, an innovation group dedicated to achieving "radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity." As a human rights lawyer at the New York City-based Center for Constitutional Rights, he won a string of victories in high profile cases. His work includes representing student leaders of Tiananmen Square against the ex-Premier of China, helping win a $4 billion judgment on behalf of victims of the Bosnian genocide, freeing a man from death row in Indiana, helping represent the family of Nigerian environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa against Royal Dutch Shell, and hunting through the prisons of New York for the real killer to help free an innocent man (David Wong) serving life for murder, as the 15th lawyer to take up the case. As a scholar, he has written articles in top peer-reviewed international human rights law journals and reference books. He has also co-founded a tech company with seven-figure revenues. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a finalist for the Tallberg Global Leadership Prize from Sweden. Jaykumar is a winner of the William Rogers Award, the Brown Alumni Association’s highest honor, given to one graduate annually. Jaykumar holds a JD and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University along with a BA degree and one year of medical school at Brown. Through his creative and strategic approach, he hopes to bring about large-scale social change in the communities he works with.
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