Who We Are
The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice situates itself at the intersection of academics and advocacy. Our mission is to serve as the focal point on campus for critical, interdisciplinary analysis and practice of human rights and social justice. Central to that mission is providing internships and other opportunities for students to gain meaningful human rights experience.
Drawing on a network of almost 200 faculty and graduate student affiliates from diverse disciplines, as well as numerous community partners here and abroad, we engage in collaborative research, advocacy, and artistic endeavors. We provide multiple opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in the form of internships and scholarships, research grants, and funding for social justice work, as well as through curricular offerings, mentoring, conferences, and other public events.
UT law and undergraduate students work with us as human rights scholars and interns. Pictured here: our 2019-2020 Rapoport Center student team.
What We’re Fundraising For
Training and mentoring students as future leaders in social justice work is a critical part of the Rapoport Center’s mission. Every dollar we raise from 40 for Forty will support that goal.
Over the past year, for instance, our students have played a critical role in conducting research and producing case studies that analyze and document the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on society’s most vulnerable workers. Summer intern Jacob Blas looked at the legal and political drivers that left Austin’s Latinx construction workers at high risk of infection and hospitalization
It is powerful knowing that the work we did this summer will be used to inform, shape, and enhance scholarship and policy in the future. –Jacob
Jacob Blas, Class of 2020, Mexican American & Latina/o Studies and Rhetoric & Writing; Barbara Harlow Intern in Human Rights & Social Justice (Summer 2020); Undergraduate Intern (Fall 2020)
What starts at the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice really does change the world.
Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, the Rapoport Center has—since its founding in 2004—provided funding for over 300 students to pursue human rights and social justice research and advocacy. Such opportunities have aided the fight against injustice, in part through the lasting and meaningful impact they have had on the scholarship, personal growth, and future careers of UT Austin students.
Founding donor, Bernard Rapoport, who attended many of our programs, recognized the impressive quality of student contributions. After one such event he commented, “The Rapoport Center is one of the best investments I’ve ever made.” We hope you agree.
Here are just a few testimonials from students who have benefitted from past Rapoport Center funding:
My experience at the Rapoport Center shaped my future for the better. I have a better understanding about my intellectual place in the world of human rights issues and I am looking forward to the many ways my colleagues at the Center will continue to shape the world for the better.
–Nieves Vazquez, Undergraduate Intern (Spring 2020)
Having a center dedicated to human rights in the law school provides an important meeting place and mentorship for those passionate about human rights work. The Center's fellowship program, moreover, made it possible for me to perform work on behalf of human rights while still paying my bills, and those experiences helped me establish myself in the field of human rights.
–Leslie Wise, Human Rights Fellow, American Gateways (2017) & ProBAR (2018)
Being an undergraduate intern at the Rapaport Center inspired me to integrate my interests in human rights and social justice into a career in medicine. While working there, I did grant writing and research on a volunteer basis for an immigrant law center in New Mexico. At Weill Cornell Medicine, I helped start up a student group for those interested in criminal justice and healthcare rights for incarcerated persons.
–Sarah Qureshy, Undergraduate Intern (2015)
Engaging with the Rapoport Center helped me find my post-2L summer internship at the UN hybrid tribunal in Cambodia, where I gained invaluable experiences and connected with people who have helped me throughout law school and during my current PhD program.
–Kyle Shen, Human Rights Scholar (2013-14)
“Surrounded by the inspiring work taking place by Rapoport staff, scholars, fellows, and visiting lecturers, human rights work came alive for me. I graduated from my Rapoport experience asking myself an exciting, open-ended question: ‘What will your contribution be?’”
–Carina Souflee, Undergraduate Intern (2007; see Alumna Spotlight)
Summer 2020 Human Rights Fellows adapted to remote internships across the state and abroad. They worked to promote social justice, project the rights of refugees and asylees, and explore the intersections of gender, race, ethnicity, immigration policy, and human rights.
UT graduate student affiliates from departments across campus met to workshop each other’s papers and engage in interdisciplinary exchange.