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Human Rights Center Grants Aid Student Research Projects

Christine Ryan at the UN Human Rights Council.
Christine Ryan at the UN Human Rights Council.

With the support of grants from the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, five undergraduate students and three graduate students will spend the summer researching a variety of human rights issues. Projects range from interviewing sex workers about brothel conditions in Latin America, working with youth in northern Uganda on navigating post-conflict life, and promoting awareness of people with disabilities.

Diana Dai (’17) will travel to Amman, Jordan to interview domestic migrant workers about their lives and experiences interacting with the different power structures in the workplace. 

History graduate student, Farren Yero’s, research provides insight on how legacies of colonial medicine in Latin America continued to shape global health practices well into the 20th century. Her research will take place at the National Library of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

Conducting fieldwork in Kigali, Jenna Zhang (’17) will partner with the Genocide Archive of Rwanda to explore tensions between the legalist paradigm of transitional justice and post-conflict realities in the aftermath of Rwandan genocide.

Cuquis Robledo (’17) aims to continue creating educational videos about the issues faced by Americans with disabilities.  She will work with Disability Rights Washington to find out why after 25 years after the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act there is still not equal opportunity for people with disabilities.

As a first year SJD student at the Duke Law School, Christine Ryan’s research focuses on conceptualizing access to abortion as a human right in international human rights law. 

Jessica Van Meir (’17) will examine the differences in conditions for sex workers in Latin American countries based on whether brothels are legal or illegal.  She plans to travel to Ecuador and Argentina to interview sex workers’ collectives, anti-trafficking NGOs, law enforcement, and, when possible, sex workers themselves.

After receiving a grant for summer 2015 and postponing his trip to because of an earthquake in Nepal, Rinzin Dorjee (’17) he will travel to Kathmandu to document the plight of Tibetan refugees through a short documentary and a collection of portraits for a video and photo exhibition.

Matthew Sebastian, a second year graduate student working toward a PhD in Cultural Anthropology, is focusing on the consequences of humanitarian action in the aftermath of prolonged conflict. This summer, he will do preliminary research for his dissertation on the ways in which young people in northern Uganda navigate the limits and possibilities of post-conflict life and the interventions that are designed to help them do so.

For more information, please visit the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute website.