Magazine Feature / People

Human rights advocacy the dream for recent grad

Anjali Nanda won’t earn a cent from her six-month internship starting next month, but the recent DU graduate is confident that the experience—working for the Robert Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights—will be worth the financial hardship.

The Kennedy family founded the Washington, D.C., based memorial in 1968 to continue Robert Kennedy’s vision of human rights throughout the world. The Center for Human Rights was established in 1984 when the organization began bestowing upon activists Human Rights Awards and partnerships with the Kennedy organization. Nanda, who earned a BA in Spanish and political science last month, says she’s always wanted to work as an advocate for human rights.

“I’ll be assigned a project, probably with people in Colombia who are working on the problems of drug trafficking and child labor,” Nanda says.

Nanda acknowledges that Colombia may prove too dangerous a setting, but says there are other places where she could be matched with activists working to improve the environment or on a variety of issues in their countries.

Part of the time, Nanda will be in Washington learning about the Kennedy organization. While she’s there, she plans to visit the Georgetown University Law Center; Nanda is already preparing for the LSAT and hopes to start law school next year.

“Human rights law is close to the heart of what’s being done in the arena of human rights,” Nanda explains.

She says she could work as a diplomat or in the government. Nanda’s thesis adviser, political science Professor Spencer Wellhofer, says he’s very optimistic about her future.

Nanda’s work on her thesis—about the possible transition to a democratic Iraq—showed her resourcefulness and creativity, he says. Not only did Nanda access polling research that revealed the attitudes of Shiites and Sunnis, she conducted original research.

“She interviewed people in Iraq via e-mail,” Wellhofer says, “and she got some very interesting answers.

“She’s one of the top two or three students I’ve had contact with in my 32 years at DU,” Wellhofer adds.

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