Andrew Tirrell

International Relations
BA, Brandeis University
MALD, PhD (expected, 2014) Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
JD, Columbia Law School


Initially trained as a human rights attorney, Prof. Tirrell focuses his research on rights-based approaches to natural resource management, sustainable development, and climate change adaptation. Before returning to academia, his legal practice was predominantly in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and New York City on issues of development, environmental protection, education, and human rights. As a scholar, he has continued to study those regions and issues, but recently he began a dissertation project examining the effectiveness of fisheries management regimes in several communities in Arctic Norway, New Zealand, and New England. A large part of this research relates to the durability, change, and interplay of cultural, social, and political institutions, and how these impact governance across various scales. In a similar vein, he is currently working on a project comparing and contrasting changes in religion and secularism in Europe and the United States over the past several centuries (and specifically how institutions have promoted or hindered the growth of secularism in differing socio-cultural and political contexts).

Over the years, in addition to legal practice with human rights organizations and commercial law firms, Prof. Tirrell has consulted for and advised various NGOs and non-profit organizations in the areas of sustainable development, child rights, and educational development. In 2008, he helped to found an educational advocacy organization and was featured as a guest columnist in The New York Times on the subject of educational rights. He has previous teaching experience in environmental politics at Boston College and Harvard University, and he especially enjoys supervising undergraduate research and theses. He is a current doctoral candidate at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and his research is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Henry J. Leir Foundation.

Teaching Experience

  • Boston College (Lecturer) - International Environmental Science and Policy; Indigenous Rights and Natural Resources
  • Harvard University (Teaching Fellow) - Critical Analysis of Environmental Systems


  • "Development and Indigenous Rights: Case Studies from Panama," Resilience Journal (forthcoming).
  • "Regional Integrated Land Management: A Proposal for Confronting Global Environmental Degradation," in Papers on International Environmental Negotiation, Volume 18 (PON-Harvard Law School Press, 2011).
  • "Reflections on the Hague Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change," IDEAS Journal, Volume 7 (2011).
  • "Ask About the Rights of Students and Parents," The New York Times (March 10, 12, and 17, 2008).
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