Skip to main content

Nicole De Silva

Associate Professor, Political Science

Nicole De Silva
Photo Credit: David Ward
Availability: On sabbatical leave July 2024-June 2025


DPhil in International Relations, University of Oxford
MPhil in International Relations, University of Oxford
BSocSc in International Development & Globalization, University of Ottawa

Teaching activities

Courses Taught

  • POLI 214 Human Rights: An Overview
  • POLI 486 Advanced Seminar in International Relations
  • POLI 603/802 International Relations Theory
  • POLI 687/812 Special Topics in International Politics ("Human Rights in International Politics")

Supervision Interests

I am interested in supervising any MA or PhD students whose research interests focus on international cooperation, international institutions, international law, human rights, and international criminal justice. If you are focusing on African regional human rights, I may be able to fund a graduate fellowship.


  • President's Excellence in Teaching Award (2023)
  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching (2022)

Research Activities

Research Interests

My interdisciplinary research broadly concerns how institutions and laws promote human rights and legal accountability. Within this focus, I mainly explore the role of international institutions (e.g., international courts) in global and regional governance, especially in Africa. I also research Canada’s human rights engagement through international institutions and domestic human rights commissions. 

For more information on my academic research, please see my website.

Selected Awards

  • International Studies Association Best Human Rights Paper Award (2023)
  • International Studies Association Stephen C. Poe Award (2017)
  • British International Studies Association African Affairs Prize (2016)
  • International Studies Association Lawrence R. Finkelstein Award (2014)

Selected Publications

De Silva, Nicole, and Anne Holthoefer. "Hidden Figures: How Legal Experts Influence the Design of International Institutions." European Journal of International Relations 30, no. 1 (2024): 52–77.

De Silva, Nicole, and Misha Plagis. "NGOs, International Courts, and State Backlash Against Human Rights Accountability: Evidence from NGO Mobilization at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.” Law & Society Review 57, no. 1 (2023): 3660.

De Silva, Nicole. “International Courts’ Shadows Effects and the Aims of Judicialized International Cooperation.” American Journal of International Law Unbound 115 (2021): 394–98.

De Silva, Nicole. “A Human Rights Approach to Emergency Response? The Advocacy of Canada's Human Rights Commissions during the COVID-19 Crisis.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 53, no. 2 (2020): 265–71. doi:10.1017/S0008423920000438.

De Silva, Nicole, and Misha Plagis. “A Court in Crisis: African States’ Increasing Resistance to Africa’s Human Rights Court,” Opinio Juris, May 19, 2020,


De Silva, Nicole. “Individual and NGO Access to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights: The Latest Blow from Tanzania,” EJIL: Talk! (Blog of the European Journal of International Law), December 16, 2019,

De Silva, Nicole. “African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.” In International Law’s Objects, edited by Jessie Hohmann and Daniel Joyce, 95–105. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. doi:10.1093/oso/9780198798200.003.0007.


De Silva, Nicole. “International Courts’ Socialization Strategies for Actual and Perceived Performance.” In The Performance of International Courts and Tribunals, edited by Theresa Squatrito, Oran R. Young, Andreas Follesdal, and Geir Ulfstein, 288–323. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. doi:10.1017/9781108348768.010.


De Silva, Nicole. “Intermediary Complexity in Regulatory Governance: The International Criminal Court’s Use of NGOs in Regulating International Crimes.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 670, no. 1 (March 2017): 170–88. doi:10.1177/0002716217696085.


Concordia Affiliations


  • Board of Directors, Canadian Political Science Association (2021-2024)
  • Advisory Board, St Antony's International Review
  • Mentor, AuthorAID

Media Interviews



Took 1 milliseconds
Back to top

© Concordia University