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Human Rights Groups Consider Collaboration

Publication Date: 
April 24, 2012
The Stanford Daily
Kristian Davis Bailey

Affiliated Faculty Helen Stacy is featured in the following article by Kristian Davis Baily of the Stanford Daily for her comments on the need to extend the Freeman Spogli Institute's Program on Human Rights to other disciplines.

“You’re the engine of improving the world today,” said Helen Stacy, a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute (FSI) for International Studies, to a student activism focus group Monday evening. “So we want to give you more of what you need to be a platform — to help you spread your word.”

Stacy, a coordinator of FSI’s Program on Human Rights (PHR); Nadejda Marques, PHR program manager; and four members of the student advisory board hosted PHR’s first coalition meeting with students Monday at Koret Pavillion to discuss how the program can better support the needs of students interested in human rights — academically or extracurricularly.


Stacy began by explaining PHR’s main objectives.

“We have a goal of being, first of all, a melting pot of human rights research from around the University,” Stacy said. “Our first function is to be a place where human rights is broadly defined, and faculty, researchers and students can find a home.”

Stacy added that PHR’s second goal is to raise awareness and attract Stanford research on a different human rights topic each year. This year’s topic is human trafficking, she said.

Stacy said that PHR needs student input to determine these topics.

“In years going forward, we want to make sure our student advisors are responding to the human rights issues [students] think are hot — that need attention right now, that need action, research, activism, focus by the University and focus by the world,” she said.


Stacy and Marques addressed implementation of such ideas by calling for a consolidation of resources.

“What I think we might be able to do with some collective action is to maintain a database of professors who are working in human rights, who are teaching human rights units … [and] professors who are willing to supervise longer-term research projects in their particular field of expertise,” Stacy said.


“The idea is to persuade the University that there’s enough student interest at Stanford, that interest has been sustained over time and that there’s student demand that the University has to supply,” Stacy said. “We’re in a position to make that case, provided that we’ve kept track of the steps leading up to it.”

Stacy concluded that an official academic program in human rights would improve how Stanford contributes to the field in relation to its peers.

“We want to make sure Stanford has a similar human rights presence at the undergraduate and graduate levels as other universities,” she said. “Right now we don’t, and we need to fix it.”