A first generation Peace Corps volunteer in Chile, Monterey Institute professor Jan Knippers Black was propelled early on into human rights work by the danger of disappearance and torture confronting so many of her friends in Latin America. She would go on to pursue human rights in her academic research, including her first single-authored book United States Penetration of Brazil (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1977) now out in Portuguese translation. Her recent book The Politics of Human Rights Protection (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009) was very favorably reviewed and is now available in paperback.
Professor Black has been the anchor of Human Rights in the International Policy Studies degree program at the Monterey Institute and has through her mentoring of students spurned a new generation of professionals working for the promotion and preservation of human rights. She is also a prolific author and tireless advocate of the displaced, distressed and voiceless all over the world. Characteristically, she has already started to think of ways her new position will benefit her students and help strengthen the human rights program at the Institute.
Jan Knippers Black’s election to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA is a yet another deserving recognition of her career as a human rights scholar and activist. “Amnesty International is the flagship of human rights protectors, and there is no organization I would be prouder to serve,” says professor Black. Directors are elected by plurality of popular vote by members of the organization and not surprisingly to the MIIS community, professor Black received a convincing share of the votes for her seat.