As part of our commitment to recognizing the achievements of students in human rights and to offering significant experiential learning opportunities, the Human Rights Program provides an array of awards, financial support, and paid internships to undergraduates. Students are encouraged to apply for annual awards, including the Inna Meiman Human Rights Award and the Sullivan Ballou Award, and to apply for a number of grants to support summer internships in human rights organizations. Students will be recognized at an awards ceremony at the end of the spring semester.
Inna Meiman Award
Given annually in recognition of the friendship between Inna Meiman, a Soviet-era Jewish refusenik who was repeatedly denied a visa to seek medical treatment, and Lisa Paul, a graduate of the University of Minnesota who fought tirelessly on her behalf, including a 25-day hunger strike that galvanized a movement for Inna's freedom. The friendship between Lisa Paul and Inna Meiman is memorialized in the book, Swimming in the Daylight: An American Student, a Soviet-Jewish Dissident, and the Gift of Hope. The award of $1000 is intended to recognize a University of Minnesota student who embodies a commitment to human rights.
Sullivan Ballou Award
Supported by the Sullivan Ballou Fund and named after Major Sullivan Ballou, an Army soldier killed at the First Battle of Bull Run in the US Civil War, this annual award honors Major Ballou's memory by recognizing a student who devotes heartfelt energy to promote human rights. The Sullivan Ballou Fund gives $1000 awards to celebrate and affirm people acting from the heart. They provide compassion, services, or advocacy to their local communities, the poor, homeless, children, victims of violence and mistreatment, or the disabled. Some give of themselves to those around them through their art, their music, their words, or their presence.
Children for Incarcerated Caregivers
The program partners with this local non-profit, providing support for an interdisciplinary summer research team. Stipends of $5,500 for graduate/professional students and $4,000 for undergraduates are offered for this full-time, two-month internship opportunity. Application deadlines are in late February.
Summer Internship Funding
The program offers up to $4,000 of support annually for two or three select undergraduates to carry out a human-rights-related summer internship. Past placements have included the Advocates for Human Rights, the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, and National Immigrant Justice Center. Interested students should obtain an invitation from a human rights non-governmental organization (NGO) to work as an intern for a minimum of 200 hours over the summer break. The application deadline for internship awards is mid-March.