At many large universities, you’ll often find centers for human rights. These serve as hubs for research and advocacy. Students with a special interest in human rights can participate in various ways when they are admitted into scholar programs, which offer unique opportunities for writing, independent research, and in-field experiences. Here are five examples:
Every academic year, a number of students are selected to be Global Human Rights Scholars with the Kenan Institute for Ethics, which is part of Duke University in North Carolina. Part of their work includes serving as “Rights Writers.” Students get to blog about human rights topics of their choice and employ their research skills. They must also attend meetings twice a month to discuss their writing and rights issues. Every April, the current Global Human Rights Scholars help facilitate the Student Research Symposium, which includes invites to events and meetings with human rights scholars and activists. For participation in the scholar program, students receive an $850 honorarium.
Enrolled NYU Law students have the opportunity to become Human Rights Scholars, which gives them intimate access to the school’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. They get to participate in the activities and events that the center holds, while also working as research assistants to the faculty and staff. Each scholar is assigned a primary supervisor, who gives them at least 60 minimum hours per semester of work, which is compensated or counted as an RA academic credit. It’s highly-recommended that scholars also take on an independent writing project, which benefits from guidance with the Center staff.
At the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, human rights scholars chosen each year are given opportunities to research and work with the center’s programs. Projects can include participating on an editorial board for journals, helping plan academic conferences, mentoring undergrad students, researching human rights curriculum, and more. Every scholar receives a $5,000 scholarship for 300 hours over the academic year. Rising year 2’s and 3’s at the law school are eligible.
The Human Rights and Social Justice Program (HRSJ) provides first-year medical students with the unique opportunity to strengthen their understanding of human rights, social justice, and health equity. Run by a group of second-year medical students, HRSJ includes a weekly fall course and service projects through the East Harlem areas. Topics covered in past courses include race, racism, and medicine; healthcare and homelessness; and LGBTQ healthcare.
This program, founded in 2010, is the result of a collaboration between the Oslo Freedom Forum and Tufts University’s Institute for Global Leadership. It offers undergrads with a passion for human rights and international political issues the opportunity to head to the Oslo Freedom Forum for the summer. There, students network with leading human rights activists and educators while serving as bloggers and social media agents. The scholar program is also available for McGill University students.