University of Minnesota
Human Rights Program

Human Rights Program's home page.



Barbara A. Frey
Human Rights Program

Barbara A. Frey is Director of the Human Rights Program in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota. The Program, established in 2001, provides academic, research and internship opportunities for students in the field of international human rights.

Frey is well known as an international human rights teacher, advocate and scholar. She served from 2000-2003 as an alternate member of the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, a body of independent experts who advise the United Nations on human rights policy. From 2002-2006 Frey served as Special Rapporteur of the Sub-Commission to conduct a study on the issue of preventing human rights abuses committed with small arms and light weapons. From 1985 through 1996 Frey was Executive Director of Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. She is a co-convener of the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights, a network of 44 organizations working to promote research and advocacy on human rights issues.

Frey is the recipient of the 2008 Don and Arvonne Fraser Award from the Advocates for Human Rights. She received the 2008 Outstanding Faculty Community Service Award from the University of Minnesota. She received the first Iustitia et Lex award from the University of St. Thomas Law School in 2003. She was named the 2001 Myra Bradwell Award winner by Minnesota Women Lawyers for promoting the interests of women in the legal profession and in the community. She is the immediate past Chair of the St. Paul-Minneapolis Committee on Foreign Relations. Frey attended the University of Notre Dame (BA, 1978) and the University of Wisconsin Law School (JD, 1982). She worked as an associate lawyer at Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis from 1983-85.


Kathryn Sikkink
Faculty Emeritus,
Human Rights Program

Kathryn Sikkink is a Faculty Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota and has a M.A. and a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.

Professor Sikkink works on the role of ideas and norms in the international system and in domestic politics, with emphasis on the origins and effects of international human rights ideas and regimes. She is especially interested in how transnational social movements and networks have developed new norms and pressured states and international organizations to change practices. Her current research focuses on the dramatic increase in international, foreign, and domestic human rights trials in the world.

Professor Sikkink's publications include The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions are Changing World Politics, winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award (2012); Mixed Messages: U.S. Human Rights Policy and Latin America (2004); Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics, co-authored with Margaret Keck, winner of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order and the International Studies Association's Chadwick Alger Award for best work in the area of international organization (1999); and Ideas and Institutions: Developmentalism in Brazil and Argentina (1991).


Program Staff

Rochelle Hammer

Rochelle Hammer has been with the Program since 2001, first as a student assistant and most recently as Coordinator. Her work with the Program is currently focused on coordinating the efforts of the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights—a network of more than 40 U.S.—based advocacy organizations and academic centers collaborating to promote and protect human rights—to address human rights issues of concern in the Midwest region. Hammer has a BA in Global Studies from the University of Minnesota and is currently working on a Nonprofit Management Graduate Certificate offered through the University’s College of Continuing Education.


Ian Allen

Program Associate

Ian Allen is the current Program Associate in the University of Minnesota Human Rights Program. He provides core operational support for the program and coordinates efforts for the Human Rights Partnership between the University of Minnesota Law School and law schools in Antioquia, Colombia.

Ian is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, having served 27 months in Rwanda. He is currently pursuing an MA in Comparative and International Development Education in the College of Education and Human Development. He hopes to continue work in the field of international education and to promote and protect Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He speaks four languages but is always looking to learn something new. He has a BA in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.


Director Barbara Frey pictured with Patricia Hampl, center, and Kathryn Sikkink, right.

Advisory Board

Ragui Assaad Professor, Public Affairs
Elizabeth Boyle Professor, Sociology
Karen Brown Co-Director, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change
Evelyn Davidheiser Director, Institute for Global Studies
Vinay Gidwani Professor, Geography
Oren Gross Professor, Law School
Patricia Hampl Professor, English
Mark Lindberg

Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies

Michael McCormick Partner, Dorsey & Whitney Law Firm
Fionnuala Ní Aoláin

Professor, Law School

Leigh Payne Professor, Political Science
Luis Ramos-Garcia Professor, Spanish and Portuguese
Joachim Savelsberg Professor, Sociology
Kathryn Sikkink Board Chair & Professor, Political Science
David Weissbrodt Director, Human Rights Center and Professor, Law School