One of the perks of having two SUNY schools, Binghamton University and SUNY Broome, in the same community is that our proximity to one another often results in the sharing of resources and academic talent. This is especially true this year as SUNY Broome and Binghamton University are proud to jointly host Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Professor, Jaime Godoy, for the 2021-2022 academic year. Professor Godoy, a Chilean attorney, is a Senior Consultant for the South America Regional Office of the High Commissioner of United Nations for Human Rights. He will be dividing his time between teaching at SUNY Broome in the Sociology department and teaching at Binghamton University’s Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocities Prevention (I-GMAP) at the graduate level on the subject of the role of businesses as enablers and preventers of human rights abuses.
Professor Jaime Godoy is participating in the “Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence (S-I-R) Program. This specialty branch of Fulbright was designed to foster academic collaborations between U.S. colleges and universities and scholars from other countries. The primary goal of the (S-I-R) Program is to promote the internationalization of U.S. academic institutions.
The Fulbright Program, which like SUNY Broome is also celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, connects scholars through global learning experiences. Over the past three quarters of a century, the program has had over 400,000 scholars participate from over 160 countries.
Born in Antofagasta, Chile, Godoy studied law at Antofagasta University, followed by a master’s degree in law and technology of information/communication from Versailles University in France. As an attorney, Godoy primarily focused his practice on family law and the protection of minors from domestic violence. Though he thrived in the legal world, he realized that he wanted and needed to make a bigger impact.
“I learned that in order to make change, you need to influence the decision makers. So I decided to focus more on working to establish and maintain human rights policies and push the government to take action,” said Godoy.
After earning another master’s degree in international human rights from Paris-West University in France and volunteering with both the French and Chilean branches of Amnesty International, Godoy began working in the Human Rights Division of the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, heading the department dedicated to the United Nations until 2019.
Since that year, the country of Chile has been engaged in a series of large-scale, nation-wide demonstrations highlighting the need for major reform. Citizens in Chile have been mobilized to be agents of change of a social movement after feeling oppressed by the social inequalities perpetuated since the civil-military dictatorship (1973-1990) and by subsequent democratic governments. The people have spent the past two years taking to the streets to push for decent living conditions and wages to end the social inequalities that a neoliberal model exacerbated. They are demonstrating to highlight their core human needs for quality healthcare, for accessible welfare and education, for mechanisms of direct democracy and greater political participation, against militarization and the use of police force to address social conflicts, for full recognition of indigenous peoples, and, above all, a new constitution founded in democracy. Godoy shares these human rights based ideals and demands, that have been in the center of the movement since its infancy.
Discussions about bringing Godoy to Binghamton University started several years ago, but a combination of the mounting political unrest in Chile and the global Covid-19 pandemic halted the process. This delay ended up being for the best, as it allowed Godoy to enter via the Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence program and teach at SUNY Broome in addition to Binghamton University.
Godoy is no stranger to the classroom setting. Throughout his career, he has taught courses in international human rights, political science, and international law at the Catholic University of Chile, Diplomatic Academy of Chile, and Mayor University, all of which are in Santiago.
“Most of my teaching has been at the graduate level, but coming to SUNY Broome has really made me think about how we are introducing the topic of human rights to college students. My courses were always taught to students who were already studying the subjects of law, political science, and human rights, but I think that it is critical that we mobilize human rights knowledge in every academic discipline. Teaching a sociology class at SUNY Broome is allowing me to implement this in a hands-on fashion. I include human rights messages into the curriculum through a practical lense. My goal is to select subjects that are current societal topics and identifiable situations and develop the discussions from there,” shared Godoy.
The community college system is not something that Professor Godoy was overly familiar with prior to his Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence. “Community colleges were new to me, but there is so much about them that I love. I love the universal access to education and the diversity of a community college class. My class is comprised of students of different ages, cultures, exposures to life, and motivations for taking my class. This diverse make-up really enhances the classroom conversations. We find topics that are of interest to the group and examine and discuss why,” said Godoy.
Not only will Professor Godoy be spending the 2021-2022 academic year instructing at SUNY Broome, but he will be residing with us as well. “I have been living in an apartment in the Student Village since my arrival in August. I think it’s great to live amongst the students and be so close to everything on campus. I recently purchased a bike, so I am excited to use that to get around. I also am taking full advantage of all of the cultural experiences that are offered in the area. I love going to concerts and performances,” said Godoy.
Keep an eye out for special lectures and presentations on the topics of human rights awareness given throughout the academic year by Professor Jaime Godoy. An example of one of Professor Godoy’s upcoming speaking engagements is at the Frontiers of Prevention Conference hosted by Binghamton University’s IGMAP on April 8-9, 2022. Professor Godoy will be leading a panel discussion on “Business, Human Rights, and Atrocity Prevention.” Learn more about the Frontiers of Prevention Conference!