What are human rights? How are human rights secured and protected? At the University of Chicago, research and teaching in human rights integrate exploration of the core questions of human dignity with critical examination of the institutions designed to promote and protect human rights in the contemporary world. The University of Chicago Human Rights Program is an initiative unique among its peers for the interdisciplinary focus its faculty and students bring to bear on these essential matters.
The Human Rights Program continues the Chicago tradition of rigorous academic preparation, integrated with "real world" experience and perspectives. Human rights education aspires to prepare students as citizens, not merely as biologists, business people, or English teachers. The Human Rights curriculum includes a core sequence of disciplinary, thematic, and regional perspectives. The Human Rights internship program provides fellowships to students for practical experiences at host organizations in the U.S. and around the world. Through conferences, workshops, lectures, and film series, the Program brings the world to the campus, incorporating the broader community into its educational mission.
Initial funding for the Human Rights Program came from internal University sources as well as from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Ford Foundation has supported the Activist Fellows Roundtable. Ongoing operating support for the Program comes from the Provost, the College, the Divisions of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Law School. The Human Rights Internship Program is supported by grants from the Provost, the College, the Divisions of the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the School for Social Service Administration, as well as by generous alumni, the University Women’s Board, and the Robert Kirschner Memorial Fund.