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Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights

The Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights, established in 1998, annually brings to campus a prominent human rights practitioner. While in residence the Oak Human Rights Fellow teaches, pursues research, and works with faculty and students to organize lectures and other events centered around his or her area of expertise. The 2011 Oak Human Rights Fellow is Fatima Burnad, who will be in residence for the fall semester. Burnad is the founder and president of the Society for Rural Education and Development (SRED), which monitors human rights abuses directed at the Dalit (untouchable) community. Under her leadership SRED works to teach Dalit women about their legal rights while also training them to document abuses and to campaign on their own behalf. In India she has become a national leader in the social movement seeking greater economic opportunity and political influence for these largely landless and poor people. She has also become an international leader in the effort to end institutionalized discrimination against the world’s most socially marginalized citizens, and she serves on the board of the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), a Tokyo-based NGO that consults with the UN. For more information see www.colby.edu/oak.