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Joel Oestreich PhD

Joel E. Oestreich, PhD

Department of Politics
Department of Global Studies and Modern Languages


  • PhD, Political Science, Brown University, 2001
  • MPhil, International Relations, Oxford University, 1990
  • BA, History and Government, Cornell University, 1987

Curriculum Vitae:

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Research Interests:

  • Human rights
  • Economic development
  • United Nations
  • Sustainable Development
  • International Ethics
  • Rights-based Approach to Development


Joel E. Oestreich is a professor of Politics and Global Studies at Drexel University, specializing in International Relations. His primary areas of research include international organizations, international finance, development and human rights.

He has published four books: on the changing nature of the UN Secretariat, on how U.N. agencies design and implement human rights policies, on the conditions of independence for international organizations, and on the rights-based approach to development. He has also published on the rights of indigenous peoples, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the meaning of “equity” among development experts, among other topics. He teaches classes on international relations, theory and practice, human rights, international organizations, and ethical issues in international affairs.

His current research focuses on how the Universal Periodic Review process can inform U.N. development policy, and other aspects of the UN development and human rights system. A forthcoming article in the International Journal of Human Rights will discuss the role of the UN Sustainable Development System in promoting rights in developing countries. He is also using a data set of United Nations development plans to study the implementation of rights through the rights-based approach to development.

Professor Oestreich has been a visiting Research Scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and a visiting Teaching Fellow at the University of Abomey-Calavi, in Benin; both fellowships were financed by the Fulbright Foundation. He is the former Chair of the International Organization Section of the International Studies Association (ISA), one of the oldest interdisciplinary associations dedicated to understanding international, transnational and global affairs. He founded and directed the “ISA at UNAI” program, which brings together ISA scholars with their counterparts at the U.N. for discussion of important issues. From 2007-2018 he served as the director of the International Area Studies/Global Studies major at Drexel.

When not teaching, reading or writing, he enjoys rowing on the Schuylkill River and is a member of the Vesper Boat Club.