Human rights conference

Gonzaga Law Human Rights Conference

2024 Human Rights Conference

Cultural Heritage as a Human Right

May 23-25, 2024




The 2024 conference theme is Cultural Heritage as a Human Right. One of the major goals of the conference is to consider the complex link between human rights and international cultural heritage law. We are hoping that this conference will be able to explore the interconnections between human rights and cultural heritage by examining the ways in which international human rights laws have contributed to the growth and maturity of international cultural heritage as its own distinct field of international law and how cultural heritage has increasingly been integrated into the human rights legal regime. Further, the conference hopes to explore how international human rights law intersects with and can enhance protection, accountability and transitional justice efforts.

The conference is scheduled for May 23-25, 2024. It will begin with an evening keynote reception at the beautiful Palazzo Budini Gattai in central Florence on Thursday, May 23, followed by full-day programs on May 24 and May 25 on the Gonzaga in Florence campus. This will include multiple panels, keynote luncheons, and a closing aperitivo dinner.

Presented by Gonzaga University School of Law and its Center for Civil and Human Rights; Gonzaga In Florence, Cultural Heritage Partners, PLLC; The Soufan Center; and the Special Human Rights Interest Group of the Asian Society of International Law (Singapore).

Call for Papers

Gonzaga University School of Law invites proposals for paper/panel presentations at its 2024 Human Rights Conference in Florence, Italy. Prior conferences have showcased distinguished academics and lawyers from over a dozen countries and five continents. Select papers presented at the conference will be offered publication in a special joint edition of Gonzaga Law Review and the Gonzaga Journal of International Law.
The deadline for priority consideration of proposals is December 15, 2023.

2024 Keynote Speakers

Headshot for Marion Werkheiser

Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Cultural Heritage Partners, Marion Forsyth Werkheiser is an award-winning lawyer and internationally recognized trailblazer in the cultural heritage field. Her well-established practice is firmly rooted at the intersection of preservation and development. She has a proven track record of convening diverse stakeholders to identify shared values, solve tough problems, and scale solutions.

Marion advocates for increased support for the national historic preservation program at the federal level, including common sense improvements to make the federal permitting process established in Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act more efficient and effective. Marion also advocates on the federal and state level for the rights of Indian tribes and other underrepresented communities. Marion serves as general counsel to multiple federally recognized tribes, handling a wide array of issues including governance, economic development, federal funding compliance, sacred site protection, and child welfare.

A natural extension of Marion’s work for her Section 106 clients in the United States, she leads the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practice area of the firm. She works with investors, financial institutions, and companies to conduct due diligence, assess project risk, and improve internal governance to reduce the impact of infrastructure and other projects on indigenous peoples and cultural heritage worldwide. An experienced practitioner on ESG aspects related specifically to cultural heritage and indigenous peoples, Marion leverages her experience and knowledge to help clients and their legal teams develop policies, provide training, and draft reporting language consistent with the Equator Principles, the IFC Standards, and other investor requirements. For American Indian tribes, she advises on developing their own consultation and engagement protocols to promote free, prior, and informed consideration of project impacts.

Marion earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School and is licensed to practice law in California, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University, where she was a Wells Scholar and earned her B.A. degree in political science and classical civilization with an emphasis in art and archaeology.

The Register of Professional Archaeologists honored Marion with the John F. Seiberling Award for her significant and sustained efforts in the conservation of archaeological resources, and she is a recipient of the 2023 Albert Simons Medal of Excellence in Historic Preservation.


Greg Werkheiser

Founding Partner of Cultural Heritage Partners, Greg Werkheiser is an award-winning lawyer and social entrepreneur tackling complex challenges in the fields of cultural heritage preservation, economic development, leadership development, politics and government, and civil rights. Cultural Heritage Partners is the world’s premier law firm in its field. Through this law firm, Greg serves clients worldwide who are committed to addressing complex challenges related to the preservation and protection of artifacts, art, architecture, landscapes, sacred places, and living traditions. Greg’s mission is connecting the lessons of our past to the leadership of our future. He believes this is achieved by protecting, conveying, and applying wisdom gleaned from history and diverse cultures to solve modern challenges and build a better society. Greg’s advocacy has achieved significant victories, particularly in the realm of Indigenous and Black cultural heritage and civil rights.


In addition, Greg is Co-founder and CEO of ARtGlass, the global leader in bringing augmented reality to cultural tourism. ARtGlass groundbreaking software and insights empower iconic museums, historic sites, and cultural attractions to provide AR tours to millions of visitors, conveying wisdom through intellectual and emotional immersive storytelling.


Greg has also pioneered influential new methods of leadership education. Greg spent over two decades establishing and leading five national centers. These groundbreaking institutions include the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, which focuses on bipartisan civic engagement and civic capacity engagement among youth; the Phoenix Project, promoting social entrepreneurship and civic capacity-building in distressed communities; the George Mason University Center for Social Innovation; the Presidio Institute, specializing in cross-sector leadership; and the ARCUS academy, providing emerging leaders with training in heritage preservation. The Carnegie Foundation for Teaching recognized Greg as one of America’s top civic educators.


Greg is an alumnus of the College of William and Mary, his education made possible thanks to a stranger who learned of Greg’s financial situation and helped fund his tuition, in return for Greg’s pledge to continue the cycle of generosity. Greg earned his law degree from the University of Virginia.


In October 2023, Greg and Marion Werkheiser received the prestigious Albert Simons Medal of Excellence in Historic Preservation.

Florence conference