The Donia Human Rights Center (DHRC) is the University’s campus-wide, interdisciplinary forum for intellectual exchange and real-world engagement on human rights among scholars, practitioners, students, and the broader public.  Toward that end, DHRC sponsors public events each year featuring prominent scholars and practitioners in the field of human rights, supports educational activities such as exchange programs and curricular development, and provides students with fellowships for research or internships on international human rights.  

Our virtual and in-person internship, research, and study abroad opportunities help students enhance their understanding of contemporary human rights issues and equip them with the tools to tackle challenging human rights problems around the world.  Even the best classroom experience on human rights is no comparison to hands-on work with dedicated practitioners.  Such extended opportunities are particularly important for Michigan students, as many organizations and institutions are located in larger cities, both in the United States and abroad.  

Among these opportunities are summer fellowships.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our summer 2020 fellows completed their internships and fellowships virtually, but they rose to this new challenge and reflected on their transformative experiences. 

  • Rahul Kak, our 2020 International Human Rights Fellow with Perseus Strategies in Washington, D.C., wrote, “It was truly inspiring to see how the team at Perseus Strategies is able to enact positive, meaningful change in the lives of people who have suffered some of the most serious human rights abuses. I am thankful for the International Human Rights Fellowship for providing me with such an incredible opportunity that has clarified what I would like to do after graduation and will stand out as one of the most exciting undergraduate experiences that I have had during my time at Michigan."
  • Rachel Milner, the 2020 Human Rights First Fellow with Human Rights First in Washington, D.C. for the past summer, also stated that “The Human Rights First Fellowship provided the perfect opportunity to combine my interests in foreign policy and human rights, and determine if this is the right field for me. At Human Rights First, I was able to immerse myself in the human rights world through one of the most prominent organizations in the field. The Human Rights First Fellowship solidified my interest in pursuing a human rights career.”
  • Phoebe Johnson, the summer 2020 Fair Labor Association Fellow with Fair Labor Association in Washington, D.C., shared that “The Fair Labor Association Fellowship was an amazing opportunity to explore my passion for the promotion of socially responsible business and corporate social responsibility. This experience enhanced my understanding of the ways in which the non-governmental sector can pressure firms to engage in ethical business practices, as well as uniquely allowed me to contribute to the promotion of worker’s rights and fair labor within the campus community.”

One key goal of the DHRC in the coming years is to expand student support for research on and practice in human rights in the United States and abroad.  It is our fervent hope that once the pandemic is over we will be able to send Michigan students to new sites for practice and research.  We realize that at this very challenging time for the world, many fine causes are in need of charitable donations.  By supporting DHRC with whatever amount you can, you will be making a long-term investment in the cause of human rights by helping our students enhance their understanding of international human rights beyond the classroom.  

On behalf of all of us at the Donia Human Rights Center, we want to wish you a safe, joyous, and peaceful holiday season, despite the challenges many of us face in celebrating far from family and friends.  We are very grateful that at this time you are willing to consider Michigan and DHRC in your giving priorities. 

Thank you!

Steven Ratner
Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law
Director, University of Michigan Donia Human Rights Center