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Faculty and Staff

HRI Leadership



Kathryn Libal
Director, Human Rights Institute | Associate Professor, Social Work & Human Rights

Kathryn Libal, PhD, is Associate Professor of Social Work and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut and Director of the Human Rights Institute. Following her doctoral studies in cultural anthropology at the University of Washington, she taught women’s studies and anthropology at the University of Kansas for several years. Since 2007, she has taught at the School of Social Work and Human Rights Institute, specializing in human rights, social welfare and the state.
Her scholarship has focused on the Middle East and United States. She has published on women’s and children’s rights movements in Turkey and on the advocacy of international non-governmental organizations on behalf of Iraqi refugees. One aspect of her current scholarship examines the localization of human rights norms and practices in the United States, with a focus on social mobilization for the right to adequate food and housing. She is also involved in collaborative research with Scott Harding and S. Megan Berthold on voluntarism and refugee resettlement in the United States and Canada.
She is co-editor (with Shareen Hertel) of Human Rights in the United States: Beyond Exceptionalism (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and author (with Scott Harding) of Human Rights-Based Approaches to Community Practice in the United States (Spring, 2015). She also co-edited (with S. Megan Berthold, Rebecca Thomas, and Lynne Healy) Advancing Human Rights in Social Work Education (Council on Social Work Education Press, 2014).