jaykumar menon
external collaborator
international human rights lawyer, self-fancied giant killer, social entrepreneur, dreamer, writer
jaykumar's Bio

An international human rights lawyer, scholar, and social entrepreneur, Jaykumar is currently a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute, a Visiting Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a Research Fellow at the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law. His research, teachings and practice focus on creative approaches to realizing basic human rights for a billion or more people. 

He is a founder and the chair of the Open Source Pharma Foundation, which aims to generate affordable new cures in areas of great health need and to create an open source ecosystem for drug discovery. OSPF is currently in Phase 2B clinical trials for a new therapy for tuberculosis, having reached that phase with 99% cost savings and 50% time savings versus classic pharma approaches. He is also a founder of The India Nutrition Initiative, which is developing salt double-fortified with iron and iodine (“DFS”), to help address the world’s the most widespread form of malnutrition, iron deficiency, which afflicts 2 billion people, disproportionately women and children. DFS is currently reaching over 10 million people.

Previously, Jaykumar led the international development program at the X PRIZE Foundation, an innovation group dedicated to achieving "radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity." As a human rights lawyer at the New York City-based Center for Constitutional Rights, he won a string of victories in high profile cases. His work includes representing student leaders of Tiananmen Square against the ex-Premier of China, freeing a man from death row in Indiana, helping win a $4 billion judgment on behalf of victims of the Bosnian genocide, helping represent the family of Nigerian environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa against Royal Dutch Shell, and helping free an innocent man (David Wong) serving life for murder in New York, by hunting through the toughest prisons of New York for the real killer, as the 15th lawyer to take up the case. As a scholar, he has written articles in top peer-reviewed international human rights law journals and reference books. He has also co-founded a tech company with seven-figure revenues and worked as a strategist at McKinsey.

Jaykumar and the Bosnia trial team were finalist for Trial Lawyer of the Year from Trial Lawyers for Public Justice. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a winner of the William Rogers Award, the Brown Alumni Association’s highest honor, given to one graduate annually, for “leading a life of usefulness and reputation”; other winners include the architect of the Bosnian Peace Accords, a former President of the World Bank, a US Senator, a dual Academy Award/Pulitzer winner, a Vice Chair of Citibank, and the creator of cognitive behavioral therapy.

Jaykumar holds a JD and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University along with a BA degree and one year of medical school at Brown. Through his creative and strategic approach, he hopes to bring about large-scale social change in the communities he works with.