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Researchers Working to Protect Human Rights

Portrait of Barbara Frey.

Barbara Frey

Professor — College of Liberal Arts

I am driven to ensure that governments uphold justice and human dignity

Barbara Frey is director of the Human Rights Program in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota. The program provides academic, research, and internship opportunities for students in the field of international human rights. Frey teaches undergraduates, graduate students, and law students, and is director of graduate studies for the graduate minor in human rights. She has served in numerous positions related to human rights, including as the alternate U.S. member of the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, and as executive director of Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights.

Faculty profile

Portrait of James Ron.

James Ron

Professor — Humphrey School of Public Affairs, College of Liberal Arts

I am driven to strengthen human rights organizations around the world

James Ron holds the Stassen Chair of International Affairs at the University of Minnesota and is jointly appointed to the Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts and to the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He is an affiliated professor with Mexico’s Centre for Economic Research & Teaching. He has worked for the Associated Press in Jerusalem; for Human Rights Watch in Palestine, Nigeria, Turkey, the Albanian-Kosovo border, the Ingush-Chechen border, and Kyrgyzstan; for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva and the former Yugoslavia; and for CARE about its work in Africa.

Faculty profile

Portrait of Bridget Marchesi.

Bridget Marchesi

Research Fellow — College of Liberal Arts

I am driven to hold governments accountable for past abuses

Bridget Marchesi is pursuing a Ph.D. in political science at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on explaining the global diffusion of transitional justice processes and the role that states in the global south play in spreading transitional justice norms and practices. Marchesi is a fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. She is implementing an NSF-supported field experiment in Colombia to test how different justice interventions affect people’s beliefs about peace and reconciliation. Marchesi is a past fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Portrait of Samuel Myers.

Samuel Myers Jr.

Professor — Humphrey School of Public Affairs

I am driven to train activists to develop new policies for social change

Samuel L. Myers Jr. is Roy Wilkins Professor of Human Relations and Social Justice at the University of Minnesota, where he directs the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice. Myers specializes in the impacts of social policies on the poor. He is a national authority on the methods of conducting disparity studies and served as an expert witness in the federal case of GEOD versus New Jersey Transit. He is co-founder of the Colorado Minnesota Disparity Study Consortium. Myers is a past president of both the Association of Public Policy and Management and the National Economic Association.

Faculty profile

Cristina Coc portrait

Cristina Coc

Alumna — University of Minnesota Duluth

I am driven to connect land rights to human rights

Cristina Coc, a 2008 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth, is director and cofounder of the Julian Cho Society, a non-governmental organization devoted to advancing indigenous rights through research, education, and advocacy in southern Belize. She works with Maya villages to secure indigenous land rights. She led her people in winning a historic land rights lawsuit before the Supreme Court of Belize and is part of the implementation team, with a mandate to represent the Maya in negotiations with the government of Belize. She is presently co-spokesperson for the Maya Leaders Alliance.