IHP Human Rights: Foundations, Challenges, and Advocacy

Program Sites

Human Rights Contexts in the Countries to be Visited

United States

The program launches in New York City in order to critically examine the United States’ relationship to human rights. New York City is an ideal launch site for the program, as it is home to many of the largest international human rights bodies, from the United Nations to Amnesty International. Visits to such agencies offer both historical perspectives on human rights and insights into the contemporary practice of human rights organizations internationally. The program also meets with a diversity of community organizers, city officials, and activists working to advance human rights causes in New York City such as the right to housing, immigrant rights, anti-racism in the criminal justice system, workers’ rights, and LGBTQ rights.


Nepal emerged in 2006 as a parliamentary democracy after a decade of armed conflict pitting Maoist rebels against a long-standing Hindu monarchy. It officially became a republic in 2008. The nation-building process has been long, and students are exposed to its intricacies, from developing a viable constitution that guarantees equal rights in a multi-ethnic country to confrontations with impunity for wartime abuses including enforced disappearances, rape, torture, and extrajudicial executions. In Kathmandu, students meet with lawyers and activists who are working to ensure a more just future in Nepal. Our study also extends to the complicated politics of the everyday. Students meet grassroots organizers for issues as wide-ranging as urban squatters’ rights, the precarious livelihoods of Tibetan refugees, the rights of street children, and the security of sex workers. We also spend one week on a rural excursion in the Himalayas, learning about access to education, fair trade, sustainable development, and environmental justice in Nepal.


Jordan is a safe haven in the regional upheavals that distinguish the Arab Spring. Nevertheless, Jordan is in a period of reforming the laws that define its constitutional monarchy and posit a terrain for the possibilities of rights. During their stay in Amman, students meet with a Parliament member and other government officials, explore gender rights in the Islamic world, connect with investigative journalists defending the rights of media, and learn to appreciate the magnitude of the “security state.” Jordan is also the recipient of thousands of Syrian, Iraqi, and Palestinian refugees. The program interacts with refugees to better understand the complex situation they face and to recognize the role the UN and international charities play in moderating life inside and outside of refugee camps. Additionally, students make excursions to historic sites such as Mount Nebo, Petra, the Dead Sea, and the Red Sea, and they go camping in the desert sands of Wadi Rum.


The rich political history of Chile provides fertile ground for analyses of human rights struggles. After the end of the Pinochet dictatorship, a transition to democracy has been entwined with both the reconciliation of history and the continuation of neoliberal policies that make Chile a profoundly unequal society. Students spend half of their stay in Santiago and visit sites such as the Museum of Memory and Human Rights and Villa Grimaldi. They also meet with student activists leading the cause for equal access to education, feminist leaders, historians, and officials from the UN and multiple NGOs. The second component takes place in the Mapuche territories of southern Chile on farms in the Andes. Students are immersed in indigenous communities that negotiate the challenges of large-scale natural resource extraction, dam-building, and industrial agriculture, along with racial discrimination. The program concludes in Chile with a student retreat at La Isla Negra, the oceanfront residence of poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda.

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Credits: 16

Duration: Fall or Spring, 15 weeks

Program Sites:
New York, NY, USA; Kathmandu, Nepal; Amman, Jordan; Santiago, Chile Read more...

Prerequisites: Coursework in social sciences (anthropology, history, economics, sociology, and/or political science). Learn More...

Human Rights: Foundations, Challenges, and Advocacy Itinerary

Fall or Spring Itinerary

Student Evaluations

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations


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