Embrey Human Rights Program

Program Overview

The Embrey Human Rights Program (EHRP) is an interdisciplinary program dedicated to providing opportunities for learning about and promoting human rights in the DFW area and in the world. The EHRP is located in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, and is directed by Dr. Rick Halperin, a life-long human rights activist and educator. It is overseen by an executive board made up of faculty, staff, and student members from across the University.

Astrud Villareal in the Rwanda villiage, Urukundo.
Human Rights student Astrud Villareal in the Rwanda villiage of Urukundo.

Program Offerings

The Program offers students and community members opportunities for human rights travel to sites of historical human rights abuses (such as Cambodia, Argentina, and Holocaust sites across Europe) and to places where human rights problems are continuing to unfold (such as Tucson, Arizona and the Mexican border area and Rwanda). These trips allow travelers to bear witness to human rights violations while giving them opportunities to meet and interact with people in places touched by these atrocities. In addition, the trips allow time for reflection and conversation, and give opportunities for learning through service. Partial scholarships are available for students with financial need.

The Program sponsors many conferences and events during the academic year which are open (and always free) to students, faculty, and community members. In addition, students can get involved by learning more and participating in intensive learning/service opportunities through membership in the Human Rights Program student organization, Student Leadership Initiative

Faculty members who are interested in contributing courses are invited to apply for course development grants of up to $5000 to develop courses from the perspectives of their own fields and interests.

One of the most important values of the Human Rights Program is collaboration with other programs, departments, and faculty members, and human rights organizations outside of SMU to promote speakers, projects, and events relating to human rights. Current collaborations include programs such as the SMU Spring Break Civil Rights Pilgrimage (with the SMU Chaplain’s Office), and partnerships with the Carey M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, Amnesty International, the Dallas Peace Center, and Perkins School of Theology for the fall 2010 series, “Death Penalty Matters.”

Our Mission

The mission of the Embrey Human Rights Program at Southern Methodist University is to educate students and other members of the global community to understand, promote, and defend human rights as responsible citizens of the world.