About Us

Mission Statement

In keeping with the legacy of the Sisters of Loretto, the Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies at Webster University is dedicated to the study of human rights and humanitarian issues. It supports teaching, service, and research by Webster faculty and students worldwide. Utilizing Webster's global network of campuses, the Institute also serves as a resource for local governments, businesses, and non-governmental organizations in their efforts to promote human rights standards.

Human Rights About

Working from a solid foundation

Our vision for the Institute is to prepare students for service and leadership in human rights and humanitarian work, as well as to enhance the effectiveness of individuals and organizations that educate and advocate for rights-based action. Within Webster’s global network of campuses, the Institute pioneers an interdisciplinary effort to support the work of human rights educators and defenders. 

A four-year-old and his father, Mohamed Ahmad Adam, are pictured inside their home at Nifasha Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp in North Darfur. More than 30,000 people live in the camp but conditions are difficult; none of the adults in Mr. Adam's extended family, all resettled at the camp, have founds jobs.
(United Nations Photo) 

This vision is built on a solid foundation of human rights work and
education at Webster University.

For instance:

    • Webster University is one of the only universities in the United States to offer an undergraduate degree in International Human Rights.
    • At the graduate level, Webster University offers M.A. programs in International Human Rights and International Nongovernmental Organizations (INGOs).
    • More than 80 Webster faculty and alumni are directly engaged in human rights education, research, and service worldwide.
    • Programs at Webster's international campuses, as well as the home campus in Saint Louis, afford opportunities for service learning and research. Students may take human rights-related courses and gain valuable experience as interns or field researchers.
    • The Year of International Human Rights draws eminent human rights scholars and
      activists to Webster's St. Louis campus, particularly during the two-day Annual Human Rights Conference each October.

Expanding learning opportunities

Building on Webster University's firm commitment to human rights education, research, and service, the Institute seeks to expand learning opportunities by supporting academic and co-curricular programming and serving as a resource for students, educators, and the community. Specifically, the Institute:

    • supports faculty members by providing resources such as colloquiums for course development, exploring curricular partnerships with other universities and human rights centers, and awarding grants for course design and implementation.
    • selects Institute fellows from among the faculty, who are encouraged to consider human rights and humanitarian studies in a wide range of classes. Fellows, therefore, spread human rights education across subject areas and expand their own knowledge base in the process.
    • works to foster community relationships with various organizations and offices so that students have a broad array of internship and fieldwork options to choose from, both within the United States and abroad.
    • has established an online student journal that highlights undergraduate research and writing in the fields of human rights and humanitarian studies. Webster student editors peer-review submissions from around the world.
    • expands and promotes student groups on Webster campuses. Undergraduates on the Saint Louis campus, for example, lead a thriving chapter of Amnesty International.
    • plans upcoming events, including film screenings, lectures by human rights scholars and activists, and workshops for tackling difficult human rights and humanitarian issues. Many of these events are aligned with the Year of International Human Rights, which highlights a different rights issue each academic year.