Kathryn Sikkink Photo
Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy, HKS; Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor, Radcliffe
79 John F. Kennedy St. Littauer Bldg 308

Kathryn Sikkink is the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy at HKS and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. 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); and The Persistent Power of Human Rights: From Commitment to Compliance, (co-edited with Thomas Risse and Stephen Ropp).  She holds an MA and Ph.D. 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 the International Studies Quarterly, International Organization, and the American Political Science Review.

Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles


Book Chapters


Transparent Engagement

Harvard Kennedy School is proud of its energetic involvement in the world. To better understand how to solve public problems by improving policy and leadership, we engage directly with policymakers, public leaders, governments, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit businesses whose activities affect those problems. However, we recognize that such engagement can raise questions about perceived and potential conflicts of interest, so we disclose publicly the key professional activities of our faculty outside the Kennedy School.

Outside Professional Activities For Kathryn Sikkink

Professor Sikkink has worked briefly as a consultant for the Open Society Institute (OSI) for the last six years.  Specifically in 2018, she taught for 5 days in a two week training course at the Central European University in Budapest for public policy students who then went on to do internships at OSI partner organizations. There is no direct relationship between OSI and Professor Sikkink's research. OSI has not sponsored any of her research. 

Professor Sikkink serves as an international member of the Board of Directors (Asamblea General) for Dejusticia,  a Colombia-based research and advocacy organization dedicated to the strengthening of the rule of law and the promotion of social justice and human rights in Colombia and the Global South. She does not receive any payment or salary for her work on the Board of Directors, nor does the organization sponsor her research financially; she attends one board meeting a year, either via Skype or in person in Bogota, Colombia, when possible. While the organization does not financially sponsor or support her research, as a human rights research organization, Dejusticia is very interested in the results of her research.  She has interviewed Dejusticia leaders for her research, participated in their workshops from time to time, and they assisted her in making public the Spanish translation of her book (Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century) on their website.  


Phone: 617-495-1872
Office: 79 John F. Kennedy St. Littauer Bldg 308


Democracy & Governance
Human Rights & Justice
International Relations & Security

HKS Affiliations

Mailing Address

Harvard Kennedy School
79 John F. Kennedy St.
Cambridge, MA 02138