Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
International Relations, Human Rights, International Organizations and Law, Transitional Justice, International Norms, Transnational Issue Networks, Transnational Social Movements, Women's Rights
Media Contact

Personal Info

About Me

I’m an international relations specialist best known for my work on human rights, international norms, transnational advocacy networks and social movements, and transitional justice.  I teach at the Harvard Kennedy School, where I’m the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.  I try to research and write both for scholars and for members of the public interested in human rights and justice, especially in the books The Justice Cascade, Evidence for Hope, and Activists beyond Borders. My books have been awarded prizes, including the Grawemeyer Award (for Ideas for Improving World Order), the Robert F. Kennedy Center Book Award, and the WOLA/Duke University Award. My most recent book Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century (Princeton University Press, 2017) documents the legitimacy and effectiveness of human rights law, institutions, and movements. I’ve been a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina and a Guggenheim fellow, and I am a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Recent Publications

Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017)

The Persistent Power of Human Rights: From Commitment to Compliance, co-edited with Thomas Risse and Stephen Ropp (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions are Changing World Politics (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2011).

“(Re)discovering Duties: Individual Responsibilities in the Age of Rights,” Minnesota Journal of International Law, Vol. 26 (January-February 2017) (co-authored with Fernando Berdion del Valle).

“Nothing But the Truth: Brazil’s Truth Commission Looks Back,” Foreign Affairs, February 26, 2015 (co-authored with Bridget Marchesi),

“Latin American Countries as Norm Protagonists of the Idea of International Human Rights.” Global Governance 20/3 (July-September 2014): 389-404.

“Human Rights Prosecutions and the Participation Rights of Victims in Latin America,” Law & Society Review 47/4 (December 2013); 873-907 (co-authored with Veronica Michel).

“The Justice Cascade: The Origins and Effectiveness of Prosecutions for Human Rights Violations,” Annual Review of Law and Social Science 9 (2013), 269-85 (co-authored with Hun Joon Kim).

Information Effects and Human Rights Data: Is the Good News about Increased Human Rights Information Bad News for Human Rights Measures?” Human Rights Quarterly 35/3 (2013), 539-568 And “Response to David L Richards,” Human Rights Quarterly 38:2 (May 2016): 493-496. (co-authored with Ann Marie Clark).

“The United States and Torture: Does the Spiral Model Work? In The Persistent Power of Human Rights: From Commitment to Compliance, edited by Thomas Risse, Stephen Ropp and Kathryn Sikkink (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).


Media Coverage

Kathryn Sikkink, “Making Tyrants Do Time” Op-ed, New York Times, September 15, 2011.

Micheline Ishay, “Kathryn Sikkink’s “The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions are Changing World Politics,” Washington Post, October 21, 2011.

Podcast Number 9: An Interview with Kathryn Sikkink, by Daniel Nexon, 9/22/2012 The Duck of Minerva Blog,

“The Justice Cascade: Six Questions for Kathryn Sikkink,” by Scott Horton, The Stream, Harper’s Magazine blog,



Country Focus
Argentina, Uruguay,

Research Areas

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