Posted by: Through the Eyes of Women | October 19, 2015

October 19, 2005 Host Corinne Frugoni Interviews Shanti Sattler, International Activist


Graduating from  Eureka High School in Humboldt County, Shanti Sattler made the globe her itinerary.  While majoring in  international relations and peace and justice at Tufts University, Shanti  found her passion for national and international social and economic justice. During the summer of 2005, she worked with renowned author, psychologist, and former commissioner on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Dr. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, in Cape Town, South Africa, assisting with her research on perpetrator remorse and reintegration into post-apartheid society. In 2006, she served on the international student planning committee of the second Women as Global Leaders conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Shanti joined the International Center for Conciliation in January of 2006, where she worked for two years in Phnom Penh developing and implementing historical conciliation projects with rural Khmer Rough 10474206_712472522121910_3168486995383335204_nsurvivors around the country.   She writes “I gained profound inspiration and perspective from all of the incredible people I met in Cambodia.”

After Cambodia she lived in Central Mexico working with an organization that is developing agriculture related social and environmental projects.  Somewhere between then and now and in between she has traveled to Malawi, Burundi, Northern Uganda, Southern Thailand, East Timor always working on and participating in projects to promote social and economic development, cultivating participatory dialogue between historically antagonistic parties and honoring individual and group identities.

Shanti is a 2011 graduate of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Her Master’s dissertation focused on the development of international criminal law based on the work of the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC). The United Nations War Crimes Commission was a little-known United Nations agency which was created in 1943 to classify and identify Axis war crimes and to assist in the prosecution of war criminals.

For some unknown reason, the United Nations War Crimes Commission’s records documenting the birth of modern international criminal law have been neglected for nearly 70 years.  Shanti and her advisor, Dr. Dan Plesch uncovered many of these documents and the information that they have disseminated is most relevant to the current discussion of torture. The documents show that the United States’ definition of torture in World War II, when it was used by Germany and Japan,  was very different than the one the Central Intelligence Agency has been using since 9/11. Shanti and her advisor found that the UNWCC archive had multiple examples of the United States charging Japanese soldiers and prison guards with war crimes for waterboarding prisoners “Today, nearly 70 years later, the concept of torture has become a debate in the United States,” says Sattler. “The United States must recognize the principles of international humanitarian law that we as a nation helped to develop.” Shanti is the assistant director of the War Crimes project.  For more information you can go to

Here’s what Shanti lists as her areas of expertise: Agriculture, conflict resolution, development, dialogue, diplomacy, human rights, organizational development, peacebuilding, social entreprenuership.

I never did get to ask her what she packed when she traveled and how she avoided traveler’s fatigue.

For all that Shanti has done, she claims that “I’ve received more than I’ve given.”

To listen to and/or download this segment click the following link: 20001_TTEOW 10-19 Shanti Sattler_feature

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