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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Graduate Student Engages in Policy, Advocacy for International Human Rights through Center for Victims of Torture

This summer, through a partnership between the Humphrey School and the Center for Victims of Torture, I was fortunate enough to serve as the public policy intern in CVT’s policy office located in Washington DC. As a Master’s in Public Policy candidate and a minor in Human Rights student, this opportunity was an excellent way to fulfill my internship requirement for both programs and served as a way to get to know the work and policy efforts of this well-known and respected human rights organization even better. Growing up in Minneapolis and being interested in the field of human rights, I had heard about the great work that the Center or Victims of Torture is doing here in the Twin Cities as well as abroad through their programs both Africa and the Middle East. Learning more about this organization and its work in healing, training, advocacy, and research was a great personal and professional experience.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Students Engage in Discussion on Sustainability, Responsible Waste Management with University and Public Officials


On Thursday, November 3 2016, Sustainability Education hosted their 7th Annual Sustainability Film Series, with this year’s feature film being “Trashed” by Candida Brady. Before the screening, Sean Connaughty, a professor of art at the University of Minnesota, accompanied by a student representative of the Weisman Art Museum presented their research on trash development around campus. Through collecting and tracing the origin of garbage from the east and west banks of the Mississippi river on campus, Sean and his group of students were able to find the largest sources of garbage in our area and addressed it through an art project that is still available for viewing outside the Weisman.

UMN Interns spark policy direction for Children of Incarcerated Caregivers


The Human Rights Program partners with a new non-profit, Children of Incarcerated Caregivers (CIC) to provide unique research focused internship opportunities to advanced undergraduate and graduate students. CIC is a Minneapolis-based non-profit devoted to local, national, and international issues as they pertain to the wellbeing of children whose parents become incarcerated. On top of this important issue CIC is devoted to giving students a unique opportunity to do in-depth research, network, and advocate for real policy change.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Scribe for Human Rights Fellow Works to Support Local Latinx Immigrants


Roy Guzman, a graduate student pursuing a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Minnesota, received the Scribe for Human Rights Fellowship this past summer. Working with Centro Campesino, a Southern Minnesota based nonprofit seeking to provide care and resources along with adequate housing for migrant farm workers, Roy examined the struggles of the working class in America and how Latinx immigrants are particularly affected.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The consequences of "NO"



Taking the lives of 260,000 and leaving more than six million people internally displaced, the 52-year conflict in Colombia came to a definitive ceasefire this past year. Talks began in 2012 with President Juan Manuel Santos and leaders of FARC, resulting in a peace deal that would have required the rebel group FARC to put down all weapons, end its involvement in the drugs trade and morph into a political movement, along with the guarantee that FARC would receive ten congressional seats for the next two legislative sessions.

Students join international team addressing human rights violations in Mexico

Throughout the summer, a group of U of M students worked as members of a cross-institution team of students and researchers addressing human rights violations in Mexico. Fellow researchers are based at FLACSO-Mexico and Oxford University. As news continues to emerge regarding enforced disappearances and related impunity in Mexico, advocates and scholars are increasingly interested in collecting information that may contribute to finding, stopping and prosecuting perpetrators. Within this context, the group has formed an "Observatory on Disappearances and Impunity". The overall project is designed to systematize existing data from various sources in order to implement practical strategies to address impunity for the human rights violations taking place in Mexico. The Observatory seeks to raise public visibility and examine data that may advance justice for the victims.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Human Rights Program welcomes Fulbright Scholar Catherine O'Rourke



Dr Catherine O'Rourke is Senior Lecturer and Gender Research Coordinator at Ulster University Transitional Justice Institute, Northern Ireland. She is visiting the Human Rights Program as an Irish Fulbright Scholar 2016/17, in order to advance a monograph on international law norms for gender equality and their relationship to domestic processes of peacebuilding. Catherine researches, teaches and engages in policy work in the fields of gender, conflict and international law. As a scholar, she has a noted record of publications and research grants. Catherine holds an LLB Law with Politics from Queen's University Belfast and MSc Gender from the London School of Economics. Her PhD, from Ulster University Transitional Justice Institute, was awarded the 2010 Basil Chubb Prize for the best PhD in politics produced in an Irish university. It was subsequently published as a monograph, 'Gender Politics in Transitional Justice' (Routledge, 2013).

Ohanessian Dialogues on Mass Atrocities and Their Aftermaths receives additional funding


The Institute for Global Studies, the Human Rights Program and the Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies were recently awarded a second $150,000 two-year grant from the Ohanessian Endowment Fund for Justice and Peace Studies of the Minneapolis Foundation in support of the Ohanessian Dialogues on Mass Atrocities and Their Aftermaths, an initiative that began with the Foundation’s first award in 2014.

Human Rights Faculty awarded Grand Challenges Research Grant



An interdisciplinary group of faculty working collaboratively on international human rights issues has received one of the highly competitive Grand Challenges grants to support a Human Rights Research Lab focused on reducing inequalities through applied research. The two-year award of $110,000 will support a space in which faculty and graduate students will investigate and model ways in which cutting edge research can be utilized more effectively with NGOs, communities, and policy makers toward the specific goal of reducing inequality and enhancing human rights.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Local Action in Response to Migration: Sept 21-23

Next week, the Human Rights Program welcomes to campus Jill Anderson, co-author of Los Otros Dreamers, a community-published anthology of stories and photos about the experience of twenty-six youth returning or being deported to Mexico after having grown up int he United States. Jill will make a public keynote presentation about the anthology and broader project on Wednesday, September 21, 7 pm at the McNamara Alumni Center (A.I. Johnson Great Room) on the East Bank of campus. A reception open to all will precede the keynote, beginning at 5:30 pm.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Human Rights Initiative Faculty Research Funds Available

We are pleased to announce a call for proposals for faculty research projects that are designed to advance the study and protection of human rights. The Human Rights Initiative (HRI), a joint initiative of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and College of Liberal Arts, has received recurring funds from the Provost's office to support up to $140,000 each year in faculty-led interdisciplinary human rights research. The HRI seeks to support research that significantly impacts the grand challenges in human rights today.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Paula Cuellar, Human Rights Minor, recognized, supported in her dissertation research

Paula Cuellar Cuellar, Ph.D candidate in history and Human Rights Minor, has recently been awarded three prestigious awards for her human rights scholarship, from the Hawkinson Foundation Scholarship, the Shoah Foundation at the University of Southern California, and the American Association of University Women International.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Call for Papers/Convocatoria de Ponencias


Third International Conference of the "Local Action in Response to Migration" Network


With the conference just four months away, the academic bodies comprising the third international conference are seeking interested and relevant persons and institutions to submit papers for presentation.

This two-day conference is designed to share the experiences arising from local action with regard to migration. It will support the examination of key efforts in response to migration and migrants in the framework of the most recent challenges to the dynamics in the movement of peoples that unite Mesoamerica and North America as well as their transnational effects.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

University of Minnesota Hosts Black Feminism Cornerstone Event

Sponsored by the Winton Chair in the College of the Liberal Arts, this three-day event was made possible by the efforts of black feminists who sought to bring greater awareness to black cultural life and politics through poetry and performance. Using voice, storytelling, and deep collaboration, these artists, scholars, and intellectuals invigorate the meaning and practice of community. In the era of Black Lives Matter, the intensive Cornerstone event examined how black feminist queer existence and influence informs current practices and life by centering love, realness and each other. By incorporating art, discussion, interactive presentations, oral histories and singing, the conference entitled, Learning to Breathe: Black Feminism, Performative Pedagogies, and Creative Praxis, exuded creativity, innovation, and celebration. Here is an insight into just a few of the inspiring events:

Black Lives Matter and Social Justice

African American writer James Baldwin once noted, “to be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” Baldwin’s words continue to echo in American society today, where racial inequality has yet to substantially dissipate.  Despite the victories in Brown vs Board of Education, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act, schools and neighborhoods are re-segregating, and elements of the Voting Rights Act were recently stripped of substantial power. Forty-two percent of black children are educated in high-poverty schools. The unemployment rate for black high-school dropouts is 47% (for white high-school dropouts it is 26%). Black people constitute just 13.2% of the US population, yet they account for 37% of the homeless. One in every 13 African Americans of voting age is disenfranchised because of a felony conviction – a rate more than four times greater than the rest of the US population. Moreover, African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million people in jail and are incarcerated nearly six times as often as white people.

Graduate Students Take Part in Semester-Long Simulated Advocacy around Racial Justice

The human rights movement has a stake in every part of society. While we often emphasize its global or transnational dimensions, the ways in which human rights are promoted and protected locally and nationally are just as important, for they underscore what advancements we can and must all make in our very own communities. With this in mind, it is worthwhile to consider one particular group’s experience in studying racial justice in the Twin Cities. This is their story:

Undergraduates, Graduates/Professionals Lauded for their Achievements at the 6th Annual Human Rights Awards

With tremendous fanfare, the Human Rights Program and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS) hosted on April 22nd their 6th annual Human Rights Awards ceremony. It was a time of celebration and festivity as the spotlight was turned to the students and their exceptional achievements in studying and promoting human rights. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

PhD Candidate discusses narcotics and drug violence in Latin America

On April 21, Marie Jose Mendez Gutierrez, a PhD. candidate from the Political Science department presented her research regarding “Narcocorridos” and drug war violence in Latin America at the biweekly Holocaust, Genocide, and Mass Violence Studies workshop. This portion of her dissertation explores the violence in Central America and Mexico through what she calls Narco culture. This realm consists of art, songs, and literature, which carry the political consciousness of Latin America.  Previously, these spaces were largely dominated by the language of repression and autocratic rule, where as now, drug trafficking permeates such forms.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Human Rights and Memory in Post-Franco Spain

How has Spain addressed its history of grave human rights abuses under the Franco Regime? In which ways does the memory of these atrocities affect present-day society and politics?

On February 25, 2016, Ofelia Ferrán of Spanish and Portuguese and Lisa Hilbink of Political science presented findings in their forthcoming book, Legacies of Violence in Contemporary Spain: Exhuming the Past, Understanding the Present, at the biweekly Holocaust, Genocide, and Mass Violence Studies workshop. 


Migration and Human Rights

In its efforts to address timely issues in the human rights community, the Human Rights Program has decided to bring attention to the pressing concerns of transnational and transcontinental migration around the world today. Included herein are just four major focal points: the Middle East, Europe, Southeast Asia/Australia, and Central America.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Women and Human Rights

The first World Conference on the Status of Women convened in 1975 in Mexico City to coincide with International Women’s Year. Held to remind the international community of its duty to prevent discrimination against women, the summit kicked off worldwide discussions on the status, rights, and role of women at the local, national, and international levels. “A process was set in motion—a process of learning—that would involve deliberation, negotiation, setting objectives, identifying obstacles, and reviewing the progress made” (5th Women’s World Conference).

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

“Staying Alive: Human Rights and the Performance of Life Support in Post-Soviet Belarusian Theater”

How do theatrical practices across nation-state borders mediate the cultural practices of citizenship and human rights? How can we observe this in contemporary theatrical practices?

On Thursday February 11, Rita Kompelmakher, a fifth year PhD candidate in the Department of Theater Arts and Dance, presented at the biweekly Holocaust, Genocide, and Mass Violence Studies workshop a chapter in her dissertation, which attempts to address these questions across time and space.

"What Before Why: Taking Descriptive Inference Seriously in Quantitative Conflict Studies"

Databases have growing importance in human rights studies.  Researchers rely on databases that count human rights violations and violence, such as homicides, sexual assaults and other crimes.  Yet just how reliable are these counts? 

On February 15, the Minnesota Political Methodology Colloquium and the Human Rights Program co-hosted Amelia Hoover Green, Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Politics at Drexel University, where she discussed her work regarding quantitative conflict studies.  After observing a trend of inconsistent findings between various data sets studying the same phenomena, Green began a project to critically assess these inconsistencies.  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Climate Change and Human Rights

Observations of the effects of greenhouse gases on the world have been documented for over 100 years. It was in 1896 that Swedish Chemist Svante Arrhenius first concluded from his research that the natural greenhouse effect that sustains life on Earth might be enhanced by industrial-age coal burning by humans. According to his findings, the consumption of such energy sources has a considerable effect on the natural heating process of the planet by producing more carbon dioxide than may be consumed by plants, which as a result retains more thermal energy in the atmosphere and re-radiates it back towards Earth.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Expert Links Environmental Destruction and Modern Slavery

According to Kevin Bales, if slavery were a country or state, it would have the population of Canada or California with the GDP of Angola or Kansas. And that “country” of more than 27 million would have a per-capita emission level roughly eight times that of the United States.

Kevin Bales, Professor of Contemporary Slavery at University of Hull, spoke February 4 to students, faculty, and the public at the University of Minnesota about his latest book, Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World.

Monday, February 1, 2016

2016 Human Rights Awards, Support, and Internships

As a part of its commitment to recognizing the achievements of students in human rights, the Human Rights Program is pleased to announce its array of awards, financial support, and internships available for students in 2016. Whether you are an undergraduate, graduate, or professional student, the Human Rights Program is excited to support the work you are doing in promoting human rights:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Children of Incarcerated Caregivers to Broaden its Work on Children, Family in the Criminal Justice System

Founded just this past year, Children of Incarcerated Caregivers (CIC) is a Minneapolis-based non-profit organization led by a team of local lawyers, scholars, and activists and staffed by a dedicated group of university students. With an initial focus on the relationship between parental incarceration and early childhood development, CIC has expanded its work.