American University of Central Asia - AUCA - TSPC Deputy Director (2011 - April 2013) - Michelle Leighton

Michelle Leighton

Michelle T. Leighton, LLM., J.D., Professor of Law and former Deputy Director of the Tian Shan Policy Center, American University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Ms. Leighton’s projects focus on democratic governance and human rights, migration, human security related to climate change, sustainable development in land and water management, and environmental protection. She served as the United States Fulbright Scholar in Kyrgyzstan 2010-2011 and continues to serve as Munich Re Foundation Chair on Social Vulnerability for the United Nations University-Environment and Human Security Institute, Bonn, Germany. She was formerly with the University of San Francisco School of Law as a member of the Law Faculty and the Director of Human Rights Programs for the Center for Law and Global Justice.  Ms. Leighton has been an adviser and consultant to international institutions, government, and nonprofit organizations since 1992, including Special Rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council and Commission, the U.N. Development Program (UNDP), International Organization on Migration (IOM), U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), Secretariat of the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, and the United States Congressional Commission on Immigration Reform.

She has successfully completed research grants and awards from the Fulbright Scholarship (2010-2011); Ford Foundation (2009, 2010, 2000);  U.S. Human Rights Fund (2008, 2009); John D. and  Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (2000, 2001), Summit Foundation (1998, 1999); Compton Fund (1998); Weeden Foundation (1998, 1999); Joyce Mertz Gilmore Foundation (1990-1992); and Pew Charitable Trusts (1992). Ms. Leighton teaches courses on International Law, Human Rights, Sustainable Development and Corporate Accountability. She has taught on the Faculty at the Kyrgyz Academy of Law in Bishkek; East China University of Politics and Law, Shanghai, China; Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland; University of California Berkeley’s School of Law; University of San Francisco and Golden Gate University Law Schools; and was the Acting Dean of John F. Kennedy University Law School. She has authored chapters for books, U.N. reports, and articles for legal journals, including publications in 2011 by UNESCO, the American Bar Association, and United Nations University. She received her LL.M degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, London, England, her J.D. from Golden Gate University Law School with honors, and B.A. from the University of California at Davis. In 1989, Ms. Leighton co-founded the independent policy organization, the Natural Heritage Institute,, serving as its Senior Attorney for 15 years.


Publications by Michelle Leighton

Phone: +996 (312) 915000 ext. 326, 327


Address: 7/6 Aaly Tokombaev Street, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic 720060



American University of Central Asia
7/6 Aaly Tokombaev Street
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic 720060

Tel.: +996 (312) 915000 + Еxt.
Fax: +996 (312) 915 028
AUCA Contacts