Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a longstanding pioneer in the investigation, development of, and education about social justice, gender equality, and human rights. A combination of world-renowned faculty, innovative centers, cutting edge academic programs, and a genuine commitment and desire to advance human rights locally and globally places Rutgers University at the forefront of national and international debates.
The Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities (SJE) provides education, social activities, and support for students, staff, faculty, and allies of the LGBT community. Additionally, SJE teaches students about the stories and legacies of historically oppressed and excluded groups and people. Through the Bias Prevention Committee, the Center closely monitors occurrences of injustice and hate.
The Institute for Women's Leadership (IWL) advances women’s leadership in politics, science, the arts, education, and research. The IWL consortium brings together eight Rutgers units including the Center for Women's Global Leadership, Douglass Residential College, the Department of Women's and Gender Studies, the Center for American Women and Politics, the Institute for Research on Women, the Center for Women and Work, Institute for Women and Art, and the Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. Its wide-ranging programs, activities, and events engage students, scholars, policy makers, and practitioners in groundbreaking work that advances women locally and globally.
Founded in 1989, the Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) has framed debates on women’s human rights globally and devised numerous strategies, programs, and actions locally. Through its numerous initiatives the Center advances and encourages women’s leadership and engagement in the most pressing debates internationally. The CWGL founding director, Charlotte Bunch, has been honored with awards such as the 1999 Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights by President Clinton and the 2008 Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award by Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders. Bunch’s research includes feminist theory and public policy on a global level as well as gender and international development. Radhika Balakrishnan, Executive Director, focuses on gender and the global economy, human rights, and economic and social rights, as well as gender and development. By creating women’s global leadership institutes, international mobilization campaigns, United Nations monitoring, global education activities, and through its numerous publications, CWGL promotes women’s leadership, advances economic and social rights justice, and strives to eliminate violence against women.
The Human Rights House at Douglass College on the Rutgers–New Brunswick campus is a living learning community with a focus on human rights and more specifically gender. Female students submerge themselves in courses such as Human Rights Theory, which is taught by a Learning Community Coordinator. These students are able to enjoy learning inside the classroom as well as continuing to explore these topics in their residence community.
In fall 2012, the Institute for Women and Art at Rutgers presented “The Fertile Crescent: Gender, Art, and Society,” a program of exhibitions, events, and a catalog featuring the work of 24 feminist artists from the Middle East and the Middle East Diaspora. The work of these “transnational” artists examines and reveals from their global perspectives the complex social, theological, and historic issues that have, and continue to shape, the state of Middle East women. Through painting, video, photography, sculpture, film, and multimedia, the work of these artists explores issues of gender, homeland, geopolitics, theology, transnationalism, and the interaction between East and West.
The Center for Race and Ethnicity (CRE) has a strong focus on issues related to race, ethnicity, immigration, ethnic politics, poverty, integration, and privilege among others in New Jersey, the United States, and the world. CRE continuously seeks out opportunities for research and policy development. As an example of their commitment to education, the Center developed the Roundtable Series. Subjects have included “Race and Ethnicity in the Francophone World,” “Ethnicity and the Politics of Language across the Globe,” “Surveillance and Segregation—The Case of the Roma: A Flashpoint for Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in Post-Holocaust Europe,” and “Criminal Differences: Race, Ethnicity, & American Justice.”
The Rutgers–Newark Women's and Gender Studies Program offers undergraduate majors and minors as well as a graduate concentration in Gender Studies. The focus of the Department is to examine the study of women, men, and gender in the context of race, class, ethnicity, origin, religion, sexual orientation, and ability. In addition to the multitude of classes offered through this program, there are regular symposiums held at the Rutgers–Newark campus that explore these topics.
The mission of the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights (CGCHR), located on the Rutgers–Newark campus, is to understand and confront today’s most challenging issues. This is achieved through a combination of research, deep knowledge and understanding, and special programs. These programs are: Civil Resistance; Conflict Resolution; Genocide Studies and Prevention; Global Citizenship; Global Engagement; Human Rights and Humanitarianism; Interfaith Global Dialogue Project; Program on War, Return, and Remembrance; 21st Century Challenges; and US-Middle East Dialogue Program. The CGCHR has fourteen international partners including Argentina, Rwanda, Denmark, and Armenia. Local partners include the Center for Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation in New Jersey, and the Auschwitz Institute in New York City. Rutgers partners include the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience on the Newark campus, and the Armenian Studies Program on the New Brunswick campus.
Rutgers University Press (RUP) also has a partnership with CGCHR. Together they have created the Genocide, Political Violence, Human Rights book series. Led by Alex Hinton, Stephen Bronner, and Nela Navarro, the series includes academic books as well as books aimed to a broader, non-specialized audience. An advantage of this series, beyond the information provided, is that the authors have the opportunity to have their books translated into Spanish and other languages, and therefore reach a wider audience. Recent books included are Everyday Revolutionaries: Gender, Violence, and Disillusionment in Post-War El Salvador, published 2010, by Irina Carlota Silber and Facing the Khmer Rouge: A Cambodian Journey, published 2011, by Ronnie Yismut.
The Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice Program on the Rutgers-Camden campus offers majors in criminal justice and sociology, minors in anthropology, criminal justice, and sociology, and a graduate degree in criminal justice. The Department also offers a dual degree program in criminal justice. Internships are available for enrolled students as well.
Faculty across the different Rutgers schools and departments are continually researching and making a difference in these areas. Meredith Turshen of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy (BSPPP) received a Fulbright Award in the spring of 2011. She has published works such as Child Poverty: the Gender Dimension in Child Poverty: African and International Perspectives (2009) and Women’s Health Movements: A Global Force for Change (2007). Joel Lebowitz, director of the Center for Mathematical Sciences Research, is an active human rights supporter. He is the co-chair of the Committee of Concerned Scientists. His many publications include Physics and Human Rights: Reflections on the Past and the Present. Zakia Salime, of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, teaches courses on international inequalities, social movements, globalization, and gender. Her upcoming book takes a look at the feminist and Islamic women’s movement in Morocco. Currently she is researching the relation between gender, the war on terror, and neoliberal reforms in the Middle East. Dorothy Hodgson, of the Department of Anthropology, focuses on indigenous rights, gender, ethnicity, and social movements among other things. Her research and teaching interests include feminist methodologies, cultural anthropology, and feminist theory. Her upcoming book is Organizing for Change: Gender Justice and Collective Action among Maasai in Tanzania.
Rutgers University is a dedicated advocate for the teaching and understanding of social justice, gender equality, and human rights issues that have affected the world in the past and continue to do so today. By having proactive programs, offices, and institutes, Rutgers supports a better future for human rights reform both at home and abroad.