Per Fugelli lecture 2017: The Existential Vulnerability of the Rohingya

Open guest lecture by Jennifer Leaning, Harvard University: “The Existential Vulnerability of the Rohingya: Stateless, Expelled, and Stranded in a Homogenizing World”. The seminar is an annual event in honour of professor Per Fugelli.

Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh

The Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh is inhabited mostly by Rohingya Muslims that have fled from religious persecution in neighboring Myanmar.

Photo: John Owens/VOA


15.00 Introduction Espen Bjertness

The Existential Vulnerability of the Rohingya: Stateless, Expelled, and Stranded in a Homogenizing World

Jennifer Leaning

15.50 Invited discussants

Johanne Sundby, Naomi Tschirhart and Malcolm Langford

16:15 Comments and questions


Anne Kveim Lie and John Arne Røttingen

Invite friends to the event on Facebook

About Jennifer Leaning


Jennifer Leaning, MD, SMH, is director of the Harvard FXB Center and FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at Harvard School of Public Health. 

Her research interests focus on issues of public health and international law in response to war and disaster, early warning for mass atrocities, and problems of human security in the context of forced migration and conflict.

She has field experience in assessment of issues of public health, human rights, and international humanitarian law in a range of crisis situations (including Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Kosovo, the Middle East, Pakistan, the former Soviet Union, Somalia, the Chad-Darfur border, and the African Great Lakes area).  She has published widely on these topics and submitted reports and policy briefings to US and UN agencies, the International Criminal Court, and major NGOs.

She has served on the boards of Physicians for Human Rights, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Oxfam America, and currently is a member of the Global Health Advisory Committee for the Open Society Foundations, the Steering Committee of the Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes, the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of the United States and the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross of the Massachusetts Region. 

Mahmood, Wroe, Fuller and Leaning: "The Rohingya people of Myanmar: health, human rights, and identity", The Lancet 2016

About Per Fugelli (1943- 2017)

PortrettAs a general practitioner, Per Fugelli was an independent critic of his own profession for many years. He opposed the bureaucratisation of Norwegian health care institutions. Fugelli took a humanistic approach to health and social policy, focussing on the entire individual. He showed that the best "social medicine" is to build up and share dignity with vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities, the poor and those who are physically challenged.

Through countless lectures and fearless participation in a large number of important debates, he was a prominent contributor to Norway's public space fora for a long time. He was awarded The Freedom of Expression Prize 2013.

Event Committee

  • Espen Bjertness
  • John-Arne Røttingen
  • Anne Kveim Lie

"In each new generation of doctors, ..... this branch of medicine attracts not only analytical minds, but also people who feel a strong vocation to improve health in society by attacking plain injustice. They are impatient with the distant attitude of science." Jan P. Vandenbroucke.

Previous lectures

  • 2016: Paul Farmer: "“Structural interventions to address structural violence: Global health equity in Haiti and Rwanda”.
  • 2015: Sir Andrew Haines: "Planetary health -   human health and global environmental change"
  • 2014: Richard Horton and Anthony Costello
    • Horton: "The Seeress's Prophecy: a 21st century retelling"
    • Costello: "The fundamental concept in social science is power" (Bertrand Russell). How can this idea help us build a global social medicine to tackle sustainable development challenges?

The patient earth

The topic of this seminar is based on an article from 1993: In search of a global social medicine (pdf). After publishing the article, Fugelli and a group of students established a forum called "The patient earth". The forum inspired students and researchers at the Faculty of Medicine to focus on global health.

Published Nov. 17, 2017 1:16 PM - Last modified Aug. 4, 2022 12:45 PM