University of Minnesota




Location of Organization/Basic Contact Information:

University of Minnesota

Human Rights Program
Institute for Global Studies
University of Minnesota
214 Social Sciences Building
267 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Tel: (612) 626-7947
Fax: (612) 626-2242

Organization Mission Statement:

The Human Rights Program (HRP) at the University of Minnesota educates students by connecting them with academic and real-world experience in the field of international human rights. The program serves as a connection between the University’s students and faculty and the greater human rights community.

What are the basic goals of the organization?

Educating Human Rights in the Classroom
The Human Rights Program provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to take classes and to conduct research in the field of human rights. Students have an opportunity to study with many widely-recognized human rights scholars who also serve as members of the Human Rights Program’s Advisory Board.

Additionally, the HRP created a Human Rights Minor for graduate students that provides an interdisciplinary foundation in human rights studies and practical experience in human rights advocacy.

Advocating Human Rights in Action
The Human Rights Program assists students to find meaningful work experiences in human rights organizations. We provide direct placement in NGOs and also offer a web-based
database of human rights internships in Minnesota and around the world. The HRP helps coordinate more than 50 graduate and undergraduate internships each year with organizations such as:

• Amnesty International
• American Refugee Committee
• Books for Africa
• Center for Victims of Torture
• Hoste Hainse, Nepal
• The Innocence Project
• Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
• International Organization for Migration
Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights
• Resource Center of the Americas
• United Nations Association of MN

Connecting Human Rights and the Community
The Human Rights Programs brings together the University and the human rights communities to address critical human rights issues. In the past two years, we have:

• Held a regional conference “Midwest Voice for Human Rights” in November 2004 which brought together human rights leaders from the Midwest region to discuss common areas of concern – the detention of immigrants; conditions in domestic detention facilities; economic, social and cultural rights; and human rights education.

• Hosted the Fall 2004 speaker series “Behind Bars: U.S. Detention Practices Here and Abroad” which featured Sir Nigel Rodley, Major Michael Mori, Joe Margulies, and Jamie Fellner discussing the use of torture and conditions at detention facilities abroad and within the United States

• Hosted the visit of Judge Thomas Buergenthal, the U.S. member of the International Court of Justice, to receive an honorary degree in May 2003

• Hosted policy discussions between activists and academics on topics including “Human Rights in the Post-9/11 World” and “The Effect of U.S. Unilateralism on Human Rights Advocacy.”

• Co-sponsored International Women’s Day, an annual event that brings together more than 400 students, faculty, human rights activists and the public for workshops and performances on women’s human rights issues


Who does this organization employ? (i.e. Graduate degrees; only grant writing background, etc).  Why?

The organization does have several employees; however one of the strengths of the organizations is the real-world experience that students can gain from the classes within Global Studies, Law, and other concentrations through with the HRP  sponsors classes.  Beyond this, the HRP aids students with internships that are vital to gaining a career in human rights.  Those employees with the program commonly have undergraduate or master’s degrees, several have Ph.D.’s or law degrees. 


Do employees need a second language? 

Employees with this organization do NOT need a second language, but there are few employment positions with the organization.  The HRP will however, educate students better on how best to be employed in the human rights field.


Where does this organization advertise when there are job openings?

When there are openings in the organization, the HRP advertises via the University webpage and its listserv. 



1.  Does this organization take volunteers?

What are the expectations/minimum requirements for volunteers in this organization?

One of the best ways to become involved with the HRP is by taking HRP-sponsored classes.  Those classes will often give students a lot of real world experience, especially in grant-writing.  A strong educational foundation can be developed through interaction with the HRP. 




2.  Does this organization take interns?

What are the expectations/minimum requirements to obtain an internship with this organization? 

The HRP has a regular intern for research and specific activities, as well as other interns for various events and pressing issues.  The intern will typically become specialized in areas of research that the HRP is currently conducting. 


3.  Are there employment opportunities at this organization? 

What are the basic requirements for this organization for any employee hired to address human rights?

There are employees with the HRP.  The HRP has at least one paid intern at all times, however, the best use of the HRP are the skills the program gives to students interested in human rights careers.



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