Course description

This course will introduce students to the law, theory, and practice of international human rights. Students will think critically about the effectiveness of the international human rights system by examining its successes, failures, and dilemmas in preventing and responding to human rights abuse. Topics covered will include the origins and foundations of international human rights; the role of international, regional, and domestic institutions and actors in enforcing human rights; critiques of the human rights movement; and the relationship of the United States to the international system for the protection of human rights. The course will also explore issues such as the death penalty, women’s human rights, migration, climate change, global poverty, racism and xenophobia, and responses to mass atrocities. During in-class activities, students will have the opportunity to step into the shoes of a human rights advocate and work with their classmates to address simulated human rights problems.

No class on Monday, January 15, 2024 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)

Summer 2024: Online course

Elizabeth Brundige
Elizabeth Brundige
Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Cornell Gender Justice Clinic

Student experiences

"This program is an invaluable experience, and I am so grateful to be here. I get to learn about international law and how to implement it and how to be a human rights advocate. One day, when I finish law school, I'll be one of the leaders helping to give voice to people who don't have one."

"As our time at Cornell came to an end, a few of my friends and I ... decided to form an organization, Fight for Human Rights, through which we could share our experiences, write articles and opinion pieces, and even empower other teenagers looking to partake in similar actions in their respective communities. I am thrilled to be part of something so constructive, and I look forward to bringing change, even if it is small, to my own community."