THE podcast bonus episode: an interview with Kathryn Sikkink, Ryan Family professor of human rights policy at Harvard Kennedy School

Human rights scholar and award-winning author Kathryn Sikkink talks about her work with the Harvard Votes Challenge, how young people are more savvy about misinformation than older generations and why, in this year of elections, democracy needs protection

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Harvard University
1 Mar 2024
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THE podcast: how to turn university students into engaged citizens – and voters
65 minute read
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Listen to this podcast on SpotifyApple podcasts or Google podcasts.

In this bonus episode of the THE podcast, we continue the theme of universities’ role in fostering civic engagement with an interview with renowned human rights scholar and award-winning author Kathryn Sikkink.

Sikkink is the Ryan Family professor of human rights policy at Harvard Kennedy School, as well as faculty co-chair of the Harvard Votes Challenge, a non-partisan initiative that has, since its launch in 2018, promoted student voter registration and turnout. Her books include The Hidden Face of Rights: Toward a Politics of Responsibilities (Yale University Press, 2020) and The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics (W. W. Norton & Company, 2011), which won the Robert F. Kennedy Center Book Award.

In this discussion, we talk about the origins of Sikkink’s interest in human rights, what support students need to navigate the mechanisms of voting, and why showing up on election day is not just a right, it’s a responsibility.

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For more information related to this topic, see our resource collection Higher education’s role in upholding democracy.


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