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 fellowship opportunities 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 one of two Fraser Fellowship positions that include hands-on experience with a human rights organization. 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.
The Human Rights Program offers two fellowship opportunities for undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities seeking field experience in leading human rights organizations and looking to complement their academic study. Named after Donald and Arvonne Fraser - groundbreaking leaders in the defense of international human rights and women’s rights - the fellowships offer undergraduate students the opportunity to work in top human rights organizations. The aim of the fellowships is to invest in the next generation of human rights leaders.
The “Don Fraser” internship placement is at The Advocates for Human Rights. The Advocates has been at the forefront of the world’s human rights movement for more than 30 years, leading innovative programming that has changed the lives of refugees and immigrants, women, ethnic and religious minorities, children, and other marginalized communities.
The Arvonne Fraser Fellowship is hosted at ECPAT-USA, one of the leading policy organizations in the United States seeking to end the commercial, sexual exploitation of children. It focuses on awareness, advocacy, policy, and legislation. ECPAT-USA is a member of ECPAT International, a network of organizations in 88 countries working together toward one common mission: to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children.