UCL Institute of the Americas


Dr Par Engstrom

Dr Par Engstrom


Associate Professor in Human Rights

Programme Director: MSc International Relations of the Americas
Careers Liaison Tutor


Par Engstrom (BA UCL, MSc London, DPhil Oxford) is Associate Professor of Human Rights at the Institute of the Americas, University College London. He is also Visiting Professor at the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA), at Sciences-Po, and he has been a Visiting Professor at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. Dr Engstrom is currently convening the Latin America course for the International Academy at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). He has previously held academic positions at the Human Rights Consortium (University of London), Oxford Brookes University, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Warwick University, and at various Oxford colleges.

Dr Engstrom has worked with a range of human rights organizations and as a consultant for the Association for the Prevention of Torture; the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO); and the European Parliament. He is currently a member of the Non-Executive Board of Directors at ABColombia, an advocacy project of a group of five leading UK and Irish organisations with programmes in Colombia. Prior to entering academia, Dr Engstrom worked at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva.

Dr Engstrom is inescapably Swedish by birth and upbringing, British by naturalisation, European by lived experience, and hopelessly porteño by aspiration.

Research Summary

Dr Engstrom has broad research interests in international relations, comparative politics, and human rights, with a geographical focus on Latin America. He has expertise in the Inter-American Human Rights System, transitional justice, civil society mobilization, strategic litigation, and torture prevention. Dr Engstrom is an internationally recognised expert on the Inter-American Human Rights System and the academic coordinator of an International Network on the Inter-American Human Rights System initially funded by the Leverhulme Trust. Recent publications include two book volumes: The Inter-American Human Rights System: Beyond Compliance (Palgrave, 2018) and The Inter-American Human Rights System: The Law and Politics of Institutional Change (Routledge, 2019). His expertise in the study of torture prevention, including his work as a consultant for the Association for the Prevention of Torture, has led to impact on both the policy design of international non-governmental organizations and on the practice of public and judicial officials in Chile.

Further research interests include the relationship between human rights and democracy; judicialization of politics; the international relations of the Americas; human rights foreign policy; theories of international relations, particularly relating to international law and institutions; and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of human rights. To date, his country-specific research has focused primarily on Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

Teaching Summary


AMER0062 Human Rights in the Americas (Year 3)

AMER0039 Introduction to Politics (Year 1)

Post Graduate Taught:

AMER0014 The Politics of Human Rights in Latin America: Challenges to Democratisation

AMER0015 The Politics of Human Rights in Latin America: Transitional Justice (not running in 2021/22)

AMER0018 The International Politics of Latin America

Research Supervision:

Dr Engstrom is happy to supervise students in any area of his research expertise. Any prospective student is welcome to email him with a short research proposal and a CV.

Current PhD research project supervision:

Eric Frasco (UCL Institute of Global Health), "Conflict, Mental Health and Peace in Colombia: Improving Global Health Practice Through the Integration of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) and Peacebuilding" 2021-ongoing (thesis committee member). Funded a Wellcome Trust PhD award

    Shodona Kettle (UCL Institute of the Americas), “Reparative histories and healing contemporaries: A comparative investigation into transnational movements for reparations in the Americas'' (indicative title), 2020-ongoing (subsidiary supervisor). Funded by a UCL Research Opportunity Scholarship

    Mayra Nuñez Pastor (Ghent University and the University of Deusto), "Transitional justice and economic, social and cultural rights in the Inter-American Human Rights System: an analysis focused on victims’ needs", 2021-ongoin (thesis committee member)

    Luis Orlando Pérez Jiménez (UCL Institute of the Americas), “Social mobilisation and enforced disappearances in Mexico” (indicative title), 2021-ongoing (primary supervisor)

    Cosimo Stahl (UCL Institute of the Americas), “Anti-Corruption Framing and Institutional Agency in Brazil” (indicative title), part-time, 2014-ongoing (primary supervisor)

    Pablo R. Uchoa (UCL Institute of the Americas), “Bolivarian Venezuela: Competing Models of Civil-military Relations” (indicative title), 2020-ongoing (subsidiary supervisor)

      Completed PhD students:

        Verena Brähler (UCL Institute of the Americas), "Inequality of Security: Exploring Violent Pluralism and Territory in Six Neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil", 2014 (primary supervisor)

        Jaskiran Chohan (UCL Institute of the Americas), "Between Compliance and Resistance to the Global Corporate Food Regime in Colombia: ZRCs and Prospects for Food Sovereignty", 2019 (subsidiary supervisor)

        Maria de Vecchi (UCL Institute of the Americas), "¡Vivxs Lxs Queremos! The Battles for Memory Around the Disappeared in Mexico”, 2019 (subsidiary supervisor). Funded by Consejo Nacional de Ciencia Tecnología (CONACYT), Mexico

        Mario Hidalgo (UCL Institute of the Americas), "Social Accountability Mechanisms and Controlling Corruption: the Case of Ecuador (2007-2016)”, 2021 (primary supervisor). Funded by Secretaria Nacional de Educación Superior, Ciencia y Tecnología e Innovación (SENESCYT), Ecuador

        Ivan Lobo (UCL Institute of the Americas), "Agency in collective action: the role of Afro-Colombian community leadership in community enterprise development and collective resistance in the Colombian Pacific region”, 2020 (subsidiary supervisor)

        Natalie Sedacca (UCL Laws), “Domestic Labour and Human Rights: Challenging the Exclusion of Domestic Workers", 2021 (subsidiary supervisor)

        Alejandra Serpente (UCL Institute of the Americas), "Diasporic Argentinean and Chilean identities in Britain: The traces of dictatorship in second-generation postmemory", 2014 (subsidiary supervisor)

        Juan Sebastian Smart (UCL Institute of the Americas), “Local Resistance to Extractivism: Community Mobilisation in the case of Chile, 2019 (primary supervisor). Funded by Becas Chile, Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), Chile

        Daniel Willis (UCL Institute of the Americas), "The Testimony of Space: Sites of Violence and Memory in Peru's Internal Armed Conflict", 2018 (subsidiary supervisor). Funded by London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP) AHRC doctoral training programme