Center for the Study of Human Rights

One of the hallmarks of SIPA is the large number of institutes, centers, and programs that reflect both the research interests of the faculty and the issues faced by today’s policymakers.  We recently reached out to the Center for the Study of Human Rights and asked them to provide a snippet of what is available through their center.  Enjoy!

Center for the Study of Human Rights
91 Claremont Avenue, 7th Floor Tower

The Center for the Study of Human Rights, which has been a focal point for human rights activities on campus for almost 30 years, is a major partner and resource for the academic work of SIPA students. The close cooperation between the Center and the SIPA program has fostered new and old synergies, which continue to benefit SIPA students as well as the University at large.

Opportunities and services that CSHR offers to SIPA students include:

Human Rights Events

Throughout the year, CSHR organizes and co-sponsors a number of human rights events on campus. Examples of events held in 2009 include:

•    CSHR’s annual welcome reception
•    SIPA brown bag lectures given by CSHR’s Human Rights Advocates.
•    Lecture series on: Indigenous Peoples’ Issues: International Perspectives & Global Challenges
•    Towards Sustainable Peace in Darfur
•    Creating a World without Poverty – Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient
•    Lunch & Discussion with 2008 Human Rights Watch Human Rights Defender Awardees
•    The Battle of Ideas Still Rages: Attacks on Academic Freedom in the 21st Century
•    Combating Torture – Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment

Events Calendar
CSHR publishes a calendar of all human rights events on the University’s campus. This calendar can be found at:

Information on Human Rights Internships and Job Opportunities

CSHR sends out a regular email to inform students of human rights opportunities. To be included on this listserve, please email with “subscribe cshralum” in the title.  Please include your full name and the email address you wish to subscribe.

Work Study Opportunities

CSHR hires approximately 6 students each semester as work studies. If you are work-study eligible and are interested in working with us, please email a resume and cover letter to with “work-study” and your name in the email subject.

Human Rights Advocates Program

Each year, grassroots human rights advocates participate in CSHR’s Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP). HRAP’s comprehensive program of advocacy, networking, skills-building, and academic coursework provides advocates the opportunity to hone practical skills, develop a deeper understanding of human rights, and foster mutually beneficial relationships with influential organizations and individuals in their respective fields.

As part of this program, Advocates audit SIPA and other Columbia University courses, speak at events organized by SIPA student groups, and participate in the annual Human Rights Concentrators’ Retreat. In the past, many SIPA students have formed collaborative professional relationships with the Advocates. For example, SIPA students often complete summer internships at the Advocates’ host organizations.

Quote from a recent graduate:
“Meeting John Caulker, one of the Advocates of 2007, was in all respects a life-altering experience. Having met a few times for coffee, we soon realized we had many interests in common. I had more academic experience in some areas, whereas John had an amazing practical experience, implementing human rights work in West Africa.

He opened my eyes to his native Sierra Leone and invited me to work with him there. This was what eventually led to me founding an organization working with peacebuilding in the country and today our organizations are partnering in our work. In short, the Advocates Program offers invaluable possibilities not only for those visiting Columbia from abroad, but certainly also for us students.”

– Jakob Lund, SIPA student, MIA 2009