The Minnesota Model: Building Interdisciplinary Capacity to Defend Human Rights in Challenging Times

Organization profile

Organization profile

This project will count on a minimum of 14 external nongovernmental or institutional partners to be selected within the first two months of the project. Each Minnesota Model and Lab project will have a graduate or professional student as a team member for a total of at least 14 graduate students participating in the Lab.

The post-World War II project of advancing global human rights protections faces serious retrenchment on all continents. Building on strengths of the University of Minnesota as a global leader in innovative education, pathbreaking research and incisive policy solutions, the Minnesota Model expands and deepens the capacity of faculty and students to contribute to human rights protections around the world.

The Minnesota Model is an inter-disciplinary initiative to support a series of diverse faculty-student-practitioner partnerships that identify critical challenges to human rights and propose innovative, timely solutions. Drawing on faculty expertise from across the University, and working in partnership with human rights defenders around the world, the project addresses a spectrum of violations, such as incursions on human security, deprivation of basic needs and the denial of justice. Core to the Model is the Minnesota Human Rights Lab, a venue for interdisciplinary discussions about pressing human rights issues and the research approaches best suited to understanding these issues.

Through the Minnesota Model, human rights practice and scholarship inform and inspire each other, facilitating cutting-edge research and effective human rights outcomes. World-leading faculty work in partnership with institutions, civil society and human rights defenders, while partner organizations bring their most pressing problems to the Human Rights Lab. As a signature contribution, the Minnesota Model identifies conceptual approaches and best practices for developing and sustaining collaborative relationships between scholars and practitioners. By engaging graduate students with leading faculty and innovative partner organizations, the Model also supports teaching the next generation of human rights leaders to generate solutions to complex challenges such as inequality, discrimination and violations of human rights. Through these partnerships, the Minnesota Model fills knowledge gaps in practice and brings knowledge back to the University to inform teaching and research.

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  • Projects

    Grand Challenges Research Awards: Phase 3


    Project: Grand Challenges

    Research Output

    Overcoming barriers to justice in the age of human rights accountability

    Payne, L. A., Lessa, F. & Pereira, G., Aug 1 2015, In : Human Rights Quarterly. 37, 3, p. 728-754 27 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 10 Scopus citations

    The justice balance: When transitional justice improves human rights and democracy

    Olsen, T. D., Payne, L. A. & Reiter, A. G., Nov 2010, In : Human Rights Quarterly. 32, 4, p. 980-1007 28 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 64 Scopus citations

    Transitional justice in the world, 1970-2007: Insights from a new dataset

    Olsen, T. D., Payne, L. A. & Reiter, A. G., Nov 1 2010, In : Journal of Peace Research. 47, 6, p. 803-809 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 33 Scopus citations