University of Minnesota
Human Rights Program

Human Rights Program's home page.

About HRP


Human Rights Program, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota

-Mobilizing Knowledge to Advance Human Rights


The Human Rights Program, based in the Institute for Global Studies, is a hub of interdisciplinary research, teaching and outreach at the University of Minnesota in the field of human rights. The Human Rights Program has a threefold mission:

  • Advancing human rights scholarship through support for research and publications;
  • Educating the next generation of human rights scholars and professionals; and
  • Engaging with serious human rights issues through timely and meaningful projects, public programs and internships.

International human rights is by its very nature an interdisciplinary subject, engaging many fields of academic study including the humanities, law, social sciences, public policy, business, education and public health. The HRP therefore encourages faculty and students from all these disciplines, and others, to contribute to understanding the causes and consequences of human rights violations, and to use their abundant skills and curiosity to undertake research, analysis and strategic advocacy to defend the fundamental human rights of all persons.

Collaborations: The Human Rights Program works closely with a cluster of related programs at the University including: the Human Rights Center at the Law School; the University of Minnesota Human Rights Library; the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies in CLA; the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights, administered by the Human Rights Program; the Program in Human Rights and Health in the School of Public Health; among others.

Degrees in Human Rights: The Program supports and strengthens educational offerings in human rights including the undergraduate concentration in Human Rights and Justice for Global Studies students, the Graduate Minor in Human Rights, and an LL.M. offered at the Law School.  The Human Rights Program is proposing a new interdisciplinary Master’s Degree in Human Rights to be awarded jointly by the Humphrey School for Public Policy and CLA.

Colombia partnership: The Human Rights Program coordinates a major human rights initiative funded by a $1.25 million grant of the Higher Education for Development of USAID, entitled the “Minnesota-Antioquia Human Rights Partnership,” to strengthen the capacity of four universities in Antioquia, Colombia to teach, research and provide clinical legal representation toward the promotion of international human rights and the rule of law.  The Partnership is funded through July 2015, employing staff in Minnesota and Medellin, Colombia.

Leadership: Barbara Frey, J.D., Director since the HRP’s inception in 2001, is an international advocate, teacher and scholar.

Funding: The College supports the Director’s salary and benefits, part-time administrative staff, and technical support through the Institute for Global Studies.  Individual donors support two critical programs:  the Scribes for Human Rights Fellowship and student internships.  The Program raises funds from private and public foundations and internal University grants to support additional scholarships, projects and programs.


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