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“It always seems impossible until it's done.”

Nelson Mandela, South African civil rights activist

LEARNING ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES & ADVOCACY ON CAMPUS

The Oak Institute for Human Rights champions the struggles for dignity, freedom, and justice of people throughout the world. Every fall, we invite a front-line human rights activist operating in difficult or dangerous circumstances to come to Colby for respite and reflection as the Oak Human Rights Fellow. Through public lectures, classes, and other events, we educate the campus and extended community about the work being done by our Fellow. Beyond the Oak Human Rights Fellowship, we are committed to engaging students and community members in human rights work through civic engagement projects, internships, events, art, and activism.

UPCOMING & RECENT EVENTS

2022 Fellows

What are Indigenous Rights?

2022 Oak fellows: Ana Lucía Ixchíu Hernández and Michelle Cook
Wednesday, September 14, 7 p.m.
Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building

The 2022 Oak Human Rights Fellows are Michelle Cook and Ana Lucía Ixchíu Hernández. Both will join the Colby community for the Fall 2022 semester to raise awareness on issues of Indigenous rights…

Pierce

Naked Indians: "Not as Revolting as One Might Think"

Joseph M. Pierce, Stony Brook University
Wednesday, October 5, 7 p.m.
Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building

The Indian is naked in colonial eyes. And the nakedness of the Indian is itself a project of discovery in which the body is subjected to aesthetic and epistemological scrutiny.

Morgan Talty

Reading with Penobscot Morgan Talty

Morgan Talty, author and professor, University of Maine
Wednesday, October 19, 7 p.m.
Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building

Join us as we celebrate Penobscot author Morgan Talty’s recent book of short stories, Night of the Living Rez. Talty has been a Lit Event Fellow for Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance as well as a recent recipient of a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation.

- 2022/23 Theme -

Indigenous Rights

The 2022-23 theme for the Oak Institute is Indigenous Rights. Indigenous people and communities reside in every corner of the world, maintaining their livelihood, traditions, and culture on their ancestral lands. Colonialism and the formation of modern nation-state borders have created mass human rights violations…

- Oak Fellows -

Michelle Cook & Ana Lucía Ixchíu Hernández

The 2022 Oak Human Rights Fellows are Michelle Cook and Ana Lucía Ixchíu Hernández. Both will join the Colby community for the Fall 2022 semester to raise awareness on issues of indigenous rights, and share the ways colonialism and the formation of modern nation-state borders have created mass human rights violations for indigenous peoples and made cultural survival increasingly difficult. 

- 2023/24 THEME -

Health & Human Rights

The Oak Institute’s 2023-2024 theme is Health and Human Rights. Our goal is to identify a practitioner who works tirelessly in defending one of our most basic and essential rights as human beings. Although it can be hard to define, health is not, as the World Health Organization (WHO) reminds us, simply the absence of disease. Instead, health can be understood as a holistic and affirmative way of existing in the world.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Student Internships

The Oak Institute for Human Rights offers summer internship funding to allow students to pursue internships at institutions that work on issues of human rights, broadly defined. Internship funding (up to $5,000) is available to continuing full-time Colby students over the…

In The News

Staying informed is critical. Find quality articles from vetted news sources and learn what’s happening around our world related to human rights and this year’s theme, Indigenous Rights. 

Previous Fellows

Since 1998 Colby has had 27 Oak Institute for Human Rights Fellows from 23 countries. Prior to being selected, they all had been working on various areas of human rights, from indigenous people’s rights to human trafficking to food sovereignty.