University of Minnesota
Human Rights Program

Human Rights Program's home page.


The Human Rights Program, in the College of Liberal Arts, is a hub of interdisciplinary research and program activities on human rights at the University. Housed in the Institute for Global Studies on the West Bank of campus, the Program provides academic, research, and internship opportunities in human rights for students at the University of Minnesota in order to prepare them as effective policy-makers and advocates of international human rights. To accomplish this goal, the Program teaches several courses in human rights for undergraduates and graduate students, including International Human Rights Law, Human Rights Advocacy and Theoretical Approaches to Human Rights. The Program administers a Graduate Minor in Human Rights, which allows any graduate student at the University to gain special expertise in the study and application of human rights standards.

Pangea visit

(Barbara Frey's Human Rights Internship class learns about the importance of theater and performing arts in the field of human rights from Meena Natarajan and Dipankar Mukherjee from Pangea World Theater)

The Human Rights Program has attracted great interest because of its hands-on pedagogical approach to human rights as a field of study and practice. Involving undergraduates and graduate students directly in human right project work offers them an invaluable opportunity to develop their knowledge and skill. The Program’s groundbreaking work on the Save Yar Campaign, related to inter-tribal child abduction in Southern Sudan, is an example of the impressive work students can accomplish under the guidance of faculty and expert consultants. The Program supports important academic opportunities for faculty and students, and raises funds to support fellowships, internships and program work. The Program hosts the “Scribes for Human Rights Fellowship,” supporting a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) student from the Creative Writing Program to work as a writer-in-residence in human rights. Each Scribe is supported to write a publishable work under the guidance of the Human Rights Program and the Creative Writing Program in the Department of English.

save yar group

(Members from the Save Yar Campaign)

In addition to these academic endeavors, the Human Rights Program links the University with advocacy and research organizations in Minnesota, the United States and the world. We sponsor policy seminars and conferences bringing together human rights professionals in the field with faculty, graduates and undergraduates from the University of Minnesota.

IWD 2009

(Left to Right: Cheryl Thomas, Fahima Vorgetts, Barbara Frey, Fionnuala Ni Aolain )