The community of the Human Rights Program goes beyond the classroom. In addition to weekly dinners and student-organized social events, the Program hosts a reception at the beginning of each semester in the law school for students to gather with the Program Directors and members of the Faculty Advisory Committee. And throughout the year, students meet periodically with the Program Directors to discuss their academic work, in addition to their summer and post-graduate plans.

Weekly Dinners

Human Rights Scholars gather with the other members of their cohort in weekly dinners. For sophomores in the Program, dinners often feature guests – members of the Faculty Advisory Committee or visiting activists and scholars – who discuss their work and answer students’ questions on their interests and career paths. For their weekly dinners, juniors in the Program take turns leading discussions on topics of their choice, from debriefing campus activism to debating the concept of open borders. Seniors in the Program arrange informal dinners where they discuss post-graduate options and hear from Human Rights Program alumni who have gone on to pursue jobs or further study in human rights. Students are expected to attend weekly dinners in the spring of their sophomore year and the fall of their junior year.


The Human Rights Program fosters mentorships not only between faculty and students, but also between different classes in the Program. Seniors and juniors with similar interests in human rights are paired together, and when sophomores enter the Program, they join these mentorship groups, or ‘lineages.’ Lineages meet for coffee and meals throughout the year: older students offer advice on courses, extracurricular activities, and summer internships; younger students provide their senior mentor with feedback on their capstone project.

Schell Center Events

Each semester, every student in the Program is required to attend at least three events sponsored by the Schell Center and to submit brief written reflections on those events. These events, which feature human rights practitioners and scholars from around the world, offer a chance for all Yale undergraduates to explore the range of work conducted in the human rights field and to meet inspiring lawyers, filmmakers, activists, academics, politicians, doctors, and other professionals. The reflections are a way for students in the Program to engage with speakers’ ideas and work on a deeper level.