Trinity College's Human Rights Program, the first human rights program at a liberal arts college in the United States, was created in 1998. It was the first program in the country to offer students the opportunity to minor in human rights and design their own major. Recognized for its innovation and dynamism, it has received several major grants and honors. And as a leader in undergraduate human rights education, the Program regularly advises other institutions seeking to create similar programs. Maryam Elahi, a former human rights advocate with Amnesty International, was the Program’s founding director and served in that capacity until May 2007. Professor Sonia Cardenas, a political scientist who has written extensively on human rights, is the program’s current director.
SELECTED GRANTS AND HONORS
Peter R. Blum ’72 Endowment for Human Rights:
Peter Blum, a Trinity alumnus and member of the Board of Trustees, gave $500,000 in 2007 to support Trinity’s Human Rights Program. This exceptional gift will fund the Human Rights Summer Fellows and establish a permanent endowment at the College: the Peter R. Blum ’72 Endowment for Human Rights.
Dr. Munro H. Proctor '48:
In 2007, Trinity alumnus Dr. Munro Proctor generously donated $20,000 to support the Human Rights Program.
Henry R. Luce Professorship in Health and Human Rights:
One of only three institutions in the country to receive a similar grant in 1999, Trinity College appointed Dr. Laurel E. Baldwin-Ragaven of Cape Town, South Africa, to the Luce professorship. A specialist in family medicine and an experienced human rights activist, Dr. Baldwin-Ragaven assumed the professorship in January 2001. In her tenure at Trinity, she taught an array of courses, supervised undergraduate research and community service projects, organized a biennial conference on health and human rights, and conducted faculty development activities focusing on health and human rights.
Everett E. Elting Family Fund:
A Trinity alumnus with a keen interest in international affairs donated $500,000 in 2000 to support the College’s human rights program. The gift by Everett E. Elting '58, the former president and CEO of Grey Advertising Ltd. of Canada, established the Everett E. Elting Family Fund for the Directorship of the Human Rights Program, supporting the Program’s directorship for five years.
The Andrew J. Gold and Dori Katz Fund for Human Rights:
This fund was established by two members of the faculty in 1998 to honor Andrée Guelen Herscovici, the Reverend Father Bruno, and the Walschots, a Flemish family, all of whom were instrumental in saving Belgian children (including one of the donors) from the Nazis during World War II, and also to honor countless others who sacrificed in the civil rights struggles against racial, religious, and ethnic intolerance in American society and abroad. The income is used to support student research and academic activity in the areas of anti-Semitism, racism, and intolerance leading to violations of fundamental human rights.
Students may apply for support from the Andrew J. Gold and Dori Katz Fund for pertinent research projects, travel, purchase of material, and internships. Application may be made at any time prior to the third week of the spring semester. A committee of faculty members and administrators reviews applications and awards grants. Students interested in seeking a grant should contact Professor Cardenas. Professor CardenesCardenSonia Cardenas, Director of the Human Rights Program.
Beginning in 1999, a $50,000 gift from the Xerox Foundation helped support the International Human Rights Lecture Series for two years.
Newman’s Own Foundation:
The Human Rights Program received in 2001 a gift of $10,000 from Newman’s Own Foundation, the company started by actor Paul Newman.