Four Students Receive 2020 Pathways of Change Fellowships

Pathways of Change.

The Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics offers summer internships with organizations looking to make business work for communities, not just bottom lines. As these organizations must be adaptive and responsive in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, so must these students. They will work remotely this summer, exploring the compromises, contradictions, and trade-offs between business needs and human rights within and outside of the corporate world. In addition to working with the partner organizations, students will profile a leader in their organization via a “virtual coffee” and write “letters from home” contemplating the best ways to affect change in corporate human rights practices from their remote vantage points. Visit the Pathways of Change Blog.

Ryan.Ryan Geitner

Ryan Geitner, placed with Business for Social Responsibility, is a rising Senior from Hickory, NC. She is majoring in Political Science and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, while also pursuing a Certificate in Human Rights. She is spending her junior year  in Amman, Jordan studying Arabic and the interplay between the nation-state model and international human rights regime. At Duke, Ryan is involved in Bass Connections research, the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy, the Duke Political Review, and works as a literacy tutor through the America Reads/America Counts program.

Bhamini.Bhamini Vellanki

Bhamini Vellanki, placed with SAS, is a sophomore from Cary, NC pursuing an Interdepartmental Major in Neuroscience and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, a Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Minor, and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate. She is passionate about the applications of intersectionality in human rights and the way in which corporate social responsibility can further women’s rights and women’s health advocacy. On campus, she is a Research Assistant at the Center for Research to Advance Health Equity, a part of the Penny Pilgrim George Women’s Leadership Initiative, a mentor in the Kenan Institute of Ethics Global Migration Program, and a member of the Student Founders Program.

Alice WuAlice.

Alice Wu, placed with Business for Social Responsibility, is a rising junior from Cleveland, Ohio. She is studying Public Policy and pursuing a certificate in Markets and Management. Alice is passionate about advancing social good by promoting collaboration between businesses, NGOs, governments, and other organizations. She is a freshman small group leader for Asian InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a council member for American Grand Strategy, and works remotely for a NYC-based startup.

Zac JohnsonZac.

Zac Johnson, placed with Accountability Counsel, is majoring in Public Policy and History and planning to earn the Human Rights Certificate. From Hillsborough, North Carolina, he attended school in Chapel Hill until coming to Duke. On campus, he sit on the Services and Sustainability Committee in Student Government and works at the FHI Human Rights Center. He is primarily interested in studying systems of power and their propagation through legal frameworks.

Originally posted on the Kenan Institute for Ethics website

Duke Human Rights Center at Franklin Humanities Institute Offers Summer Research Funding

 Human Rights Summer Research Grants.

Deadline: March 1, 2020

Currently enrolled Duke undergraduate and graduate students are invited to apply for summer research funding from the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI). The goals of the grants are to strengthen research opportunities for students interested in developing, implementing and working in human rights. Special consideration is given to students whose research projects contribute to a senior thesis or project. Grants are available of up to $2,000.

Eligibility and Criteria

Students from all backgrounds and academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. Graduating seniors or graduate students in their final year at Duke are not eligible.

Students must be directed by a member of the Duke University faculty and conducted over a period no less than 2 weeks during the summer. Students are expected to be in frequent contact with their advisors and the DHRC@FHI throughout the duration of the project.

The grant will support domestic or international travel and living expenses, but not equipment.

Projects involving interactions with human subjects, either in-person or online, may need approval from the Duke Institutional Review Board. Read more.

Projects conducted internationally are subject to restrictions and guidelines for the safe conduct of research abroad. Read more.


Download the application here. Send your completed application to as a Word document. In addition to the application, you will need to request a letter of support from your Duke faculty mentor. This should be sent directly to All applications and letters of support are due by March 1, 2020.

Previous Grant Recipients

Read about previous grant recipients and their projects.

Human Rights Award


Deadline: April 1, 2016

Duke undergraduates are invited to enter essays or alternative projects regarding global human rights issues in our annual Oliver W. Koonz Human Rights Prize competition. The Duke Human Rights Center awards one $500 prize in each category of best essay and best alternative project on a human rights theme.

The Oliver W. Koonz Human Rights Prize honors Oliver W. Koonz (1910-2009), who was the father of Claudia Koonz, the Peabody Family Professor Emeritus in the History Department and a founding member of the Duke Human Rights Center@FHI. The recipient of many awards, Professor Koonz is a passionate advocate of undergraduate education. She has taughKoonz5t and mentored hundreds of Duke students during her career at the university. Her areas of specialty include genocide, 20th century European history and fascism. From her father, she inherited a passion for the outdoors and learning. This prize honors his memory.

Essays must be no longer than 25 double-spaced pages. They may take the form of analytic or critical essays, empirical research papers, term papers or personal essays on any human rights issue. Projects can be photo or video-based, theater pieces or scripts or web pages. Please send submissions with an introductory paragraph describing the connection with human rights and specify if the paper or project is related to a course.  Submissions do not have to be created in the context of a course, but must be done during the time the student is enrolled at Duke. Please send submissions to by April 1, 2016. Awards will be announced in May 2016.