Fellow Since 2008
Conectas Direitos Humanos
This profile was prepared when Lucia Nader was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
As Brazil has increasingly taken on a leadership role among Southern countries, its clout and influence have grown accordingly. Indeed, thanks to the inherent legitimacy afforded by its own history under colonialism and emergence as a democratic power, Brazil, along with other leaders in the global South, holds enormous untapped potential to influence the decisions and human rights developments occurring in today’s developing world. A pioneer within Brazil and the Global South as a whole, Lucia is encouraging Southern countries to follow the path of rights advocacy found within the developed world. Housed within Conectas—Brazil’s leading human rights agency run by Ashoka Global Fellow Oscar Vilhena—Lucia’s Citizen Diplomacy initiative signifies the first attempt to pressure the Brazilian government for the advancement of human rights outside its borders. Lucia has adopted a three-pronged approach that begins with in-depth reporting of Brazil’s role within the United Nations and other influential global institutions. She and her team produce regular reports that examine how Brazil's actions—or lack thereof—have impacted human rights developments in other countries within the global South. She then conducts an extensive lobbying campaign, involving direct outreach and enhanced media coverage. Finally, Lucia works to secure formal mechanisms to improve transparency and democratic processes within the UN system itself; to give greater voice to citizen organizations (COs) in foreign policy formulation. Taking full advantage of her position within Conectas, Lucia has built a powerful coalition of national human rights organizations and encourages them to exercise their influence on the Brazilian Foreign Ministry. Having begun less than two years ago, Lucia’s program has produced powerful results: She has strengthened the formal mechanisms of civic participation in Brazil’s foreign policy for human rights and has developed an unprecedented dialogue between Brazil’s government institutions and other COs involved in the field. In the coming years, Lucia plans to disseminate her work throughout Africa and Asia via Conectas’ Global South Program, and to open a rotational office in Geneva for several international and national partners that play a role in the U.N. system.