Kathryn Sikkink

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Kathryn Sikkink is the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Sikkink works on international norms and institutions, transnational advocacy networks, the impact of human rights law and policies, and transitional justice.

Her publications include Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century; The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions are Changing World Politics (awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Center Book Award and the WOLA/Duke University Award); Mixed Signals: U.S. Human Rights Policy and Latin America; Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (co-authored with Margaret Keck and awarded the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas for Improving World Order and the ISA Chadwick Alger Award for Best Book in the area of International Organizations); The Persistent Power of Human Rights: From Commitment to Compliance (co-edited with Thomas Risse and Stephen Ropp); and The Hidden Face of Rights: Toward a Politics of Responsibilities.

She holds an MA and a PhD from Columbia University. Sikkink has been a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina and a Guggenheim fellow. She is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the editorial board of International Organization.

Videos

Rights and Responsibilities on Campus and in Our Professions: Protest and Free Speech on YouTube

Selected Publications by Interest Area

Human Rights & Justice

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International Relations & Security

Schmidt, Averell, and Kathryn Sikkink. 2018. “Partners in Crime: An Empirical Evaluation of the CIA Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Program.” Perspectives on Politics 16 (4): 1014-1033. Publisher's Version Abstract
In the years following the attacks of 9/11, the CIA adopted a program involving the capture, extraordinary rendition, secret detention, and harsh interrogation of suspected terrorists in the war on terror. As the details of this program have become public, a heated debate has ensued, focusing narrowly on whether or not this program “worked” by disrupting terror plots and saving American lives. By embracing such a narrow view of the program’s efficacy, this debate has failed to take into account the broader consequences of the CIA program. We move beyond current debates by evaluating the impact of the CIA program on the human rights practices of other states. We show that collaboration in the CIA program is associated with a worsening in the human rights practices of authoritarian countries. This finding illustrates how states learn from and influence one another through covert security cooperation and the importance of democratic institutions in mitigating the adverse consequences of the CIA program. This finding also underscores why a broad perspective is critical when assessing the consequences of counterterrorism policies.

Democracy & Governance

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Politics

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