Program Welcomes New Student Staff

Student staff members Lauren Lee, AJ Kraemer, Trinity Alexander, and Mohamed Mandour pictured smiling.

Lauren Lee

Hi there! My name is Lauren Lee, and I am a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. I am currently majoring in Global Studies, with a thematic concentration in Human Rights and Justice, and a regional concentration in East Asia. I am also pursuing minors in Political Science and Philosophy. Since arriving at UMN, I have been fortunate enough to make connections with students in faculty that are rooted in social justice and equity. I feel fortunate that I was able to learn about racial inequality, women’s rights, and imperialism, and hope to continue learning throughout my life. Since coming to the U, I have been the External Vice President for the Asian American Student Union, as well as an Organizing Fellow for the Asian American Organizing Project. These experiences have been especially meaningful to me because I was able to bond with communities and work in a collaborative space rooted in restorative justice and healing. 

In Spring 2021, I was fortunate enough to work as a Development and Fundraising Intern at the Advocates for Human Rights. While interning, I was able to support the Advocates in maintaining relationships with donors and planning for the Human Rights Awards Dinner. This, in accordance with the human rights internship class, opened my eyes to the multitude of possibilities for a human rights career. I can’t wait to discover all the ways I can personally support human rights!

I am excited to be a communications team member with the Human Rights Program, and can’t wait to help others get involved with HRP!

AJ Kraemer

Hi! I’m AJ Kraemer, and I am a senior at the University of Minnesota. I’m a student in the College of Liberal Arts majoring in Global Studies and Political Science and minoring in Spanish. Ever since I attended a Spanish Immersion school as a child, I have had an interest in human rights. I was introduced at a young age to the concept of being a citizen of the world, an idea that has only been enhanced through my academic pursuits in college. My early exposure to other cultures helped me understand that all people, regardless of nationality, race, sexuality, gender, etc. should be entitled to a certain set of rights.  

During the Spring of 2021, I had the opportunity to assist in combating human rights violations through my internship with the Observatory on Disappearances and Impunity in Mexico through the Human Rights Program. The observatory studies forced disappearances in Mexico in an attempt to discover patterns and draw attention to the crisis. Throughout my internship with the observatory, I combined my knowledge of the Spanish language and my love of Latin American culture to take action against human rights violations. 

I look forward to my new role as a communications assistant and informing others about the incredible work the Human Rights Program does on campus and around the world.

Trinity Alexander

Hi! My name is Trinity and I am a senior at the University of Minnesota. I am a student in the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences majoring in Applied Economics. During my time at UMN, I have been immersed in communities that champion human rights, diversity, equity, and inclusion. I have spent my time serving on the CFANS Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, where I helped develop college-wide diversity guidelines for classroom implementation. This project was especially meaningful in that it allowed me to communicate and materialize my ideas of an equitable educational institution. 

I have also been able to engage with faculty, researchers, and other students to gain invaluable experience in human rights and economics. My academic career began in economics research, where I looked at the impact of education, identity, and Western ideology on Sub-Saharan African development. During Spring 2021, I had the privilege of interning with the Human Rights Center. Our work focused on researching the impacts of land digitalization and pesticide use on land-dependent peoples in developing countries. During my time there, I was introduced not only to the multitude of human rights issues I can be involved in, but also to the various ways in which I can help champion human rights. Working in such an interdisciplinary space gave me an appreciation for the interconnectedness of the human rights advocacy and research community.

I’m excited for my time as a communications assistant and I can’t wait to share all that the HRP does!

Mohamed Mandour

Hey all, I am Mohamed Mandour, an Egyptian researcher and Human Rights defender. I am currently starting my first year in the Masters of Human Rights program at the University of Minnesota. I am also serving as the Bassem Sabry Democracy Fellow at The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP), where I study Egyptians in the diaspora in terms of their modes of organization, tools of political mobilization and activism, and the challenges they face in exile that include being subjected to different forms of transnational repression.

I previously served as an Atlas Corps Research Fellow with the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) in Washington, DC. I also worked as a researcher at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), the Law and Society Research Unit at the American University in Cairo (AUC), and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). I have diverse research interests that include issues related to law and religion in Egypt, US-Egypt ties, human rights conditions in Egypt especially focusing on civil society affairs and academic freedoms. I have published several articles in prominent outlets including in Jadaliyya, along with a book chapter on the status of peasants amid neoliberal transformations in Egypt in an edited volume titled “The Rise and Fall of the Egyptian Labor Movement”. My most recent publication titled “Egypt’s Criminalisation of Minority Free Speech through Blasphemy Cases” analyzes how the Egyptian state uses blasphemy laws to criminalize freedom of expression among religious minorities in Egypt. 

I am very excited to join the Human Rights Program as it presents a prime opportunity to dive into the global challenges surrounding human rights work in different contexts by working with a brilliant team of academics and researchers with diverse research interests. Joining this program is a chance for me to share and develop my experience in human rights work in the Middle East. You can follow me on Twitter at @m_medhaat

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