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Human Rights Center Bios


Professor David Weissbrodt



Professor David Weissbrodt (Co-Director)

David Weissbrodt is the Regents Professor and Fredrikson & Byron Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School. His writing focuses principally on international human rights law and he teaches international human rights law, administrative law, immigration law, and torts. He received his B.A. from Columbia University, attended the London School of Economics, and received his J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall).  In 1975, Professor Weissbrodt became a faculty member at the University of Minnesota Law School where he has since established the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center and helped to launch the University of Minnesota Human Rights Library on the Internet ( He also helped to establish the Center for Victims of Torture, the Advocates for Human Rights, the International Human Rights Internship Program, and two local Amnesty International groups.  

Weissbrodt is the author of twenty books and over a hundred articles.  Weissbrodt has written articles and books on such topics as apartheid, arbitrary killings, business and human rights, conscientious objection to military service, contemporary forms of slavery, the death penalty, the history of human rights law, human rights in armed conflict, human rights monitoring, indigenous rights, prisoners of conscience, juvenile executions, ratification of human rights treaties, refugees, the right to fair trial, rights of non-citizens, the role of nongovernmental organizations in the field of human rights, torture and ill-treatment, and the United Nations and human rights.  Professor Weissbrodt has served as a member of the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (1996-2003) and as its Chairperson for the 53rd session (2001-02).  He also was the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Non-Citizens (2001-03). 

Professor Weissbrodt's full biography page. Biogragraphy also in traditional and modern Chinese.

Kristi Rudelius-Palmer





Professor Kristi Rudelius-Palmer (Co-Director)

Kristi Rudelius-Palmer is director of the University of Minnesota’s Human Rights Center and  the Law School’s Humphrey Fellowship Program. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and serves as the advisor for 12 international Fulbright Humphrey Law & Human Rights Fellows each year. She also teaches human rights education and integration of human rights into organizational leadership courses through the College of Education and Human Development. 
For more than 20 years, she has worked in the field of Human Rights Education (HRE) to translate international human rights norms and standards into community practices. She has designed and taught human rights courses at the university, primary and secondary school, and community levels and assisted more than 500 students and communities leaders to have internships, fellowships, and professional affiliations with human rights organizations in the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world. Rudelius-Palmer became co-director of the Human Rights Center at the University of Minnesota in 1989. In this capacity, she has collaborated with hundreds of human rights activists and educators, working to create innovative programs and models of human rights teaching and training in classrooms and communities throughout Minnesota and the United States as well as in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Latin America, and the Middle East. She facilitated workshops and presented in diverse settings, including Canada, Egypt, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Russia, and South Africa. She also edits and publishes the Human Rights Center’s Human Rights Education Series and has written numerous articles on human rights education and training.

Professor Rudelius-Palmer's full biography page.

Patrick Finnegan






Patrick Finnegan

Patrick serves as one of the Center's main grant and report writers. He also coordinates administrative tasks and does some outreach work. He is currently a graduate student at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, seeking an MPP focusing on international politics and human rights issues. Patrick graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Global Studies in May 2005. He is also a volunteer interpreter and translator (French-English) with the Advocates for Human Rights. Outside of work and school, his interests include politics, music, reading, and writing.

Natela Jordan





Natela Jordan 

Natela Jordan has worked in the field of human rights education since 1999. Her experience comes from Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the United States with such international non-profit organizations as Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation), Central European University, Freedom House, and the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center. Natela worked with a variety of audiences from students, teachers, and school administrators, to university students and community members, to lawyers and human rights advocates. Natela holds a B.A. degree in Russian-English Translation and M.A. degree in International Human Rights. She organized international human rights advocacy  and human rights education events, and worked as a human rights trainer, curriculum designer, and course director. Natela joined the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center in 2006 and now works as Education Program Director.

Lucy Arimond





Lucy Arimond

Lucy is the Human Rights Center’s Director of Fellowship Programs. She is also an alumna of the University of Minnesota Law School. Lucy has extensive experience in adult education, pastoral ministry, advocacy and human services, and has worked with people from many walks of life. Lucy has served as staff attorney for St. Joseph's House, a crisis shelter for women and children in Minneapolis. She also helped to found Loaves and Fishes Too, a Twin Cities organization that feeds the homeless and needy. During her years as coordinator of the Dorothy Day Center site of that program, Lucy directed day-to-day operations, oversaw the recruiting and training of some 1,500 volunteers, and engaged in fundraising and public speaking. Most recently, Lucy spent ten years as the director of adult and sacramental formation at Nativity of Mary Catholic Church in Bloomington, having previously served as an adult educator and pastoral minister in other parishes, as well as an adjunct faculty member in the theology department at the University of St. Thomas.

Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni





Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni

Birhanemeskel received his LL.B. degree in law from Addis Ababa University School of Law in Ethiopia. After graduation, he clerked for Supreme Court Justice which led to his appointment as High Court Judge. As High Court Judge, he served on civil, criminal, and labor benches. He later joined the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as legal adviser on international law. In that capacity, he represented the Ethiopian Government at various multilateral and bilateral forums including the Organization of African Unity (OAU, now African Union (AU)) and the United Nations (UN). From 2001 to 2006, he has served as legal adviser at the Permanent Mission of Ethiopia to the United Nations Headquarters in New York covering the work of the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council as well as various regional bodies such as the African Union (AU) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Birhanemeskel has been a Research Fellow at the Human Rights Center of University of Minnesota Law School since October 2006. He is working on Human Rights Center’s online Research Library by focusing on human rights country situations in Africa.


Rebecca Janke

Rebecca Janke attended Iowa State University and Xavier University where she received her M.Ed. She is a peace education consultant, trainer and artist-in-resident as well as the co-founder and Executive Director of Growing Communities for Peace. She helped implement the Montessori Magnet Program in the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Forest Lake, MN Public Schools and founded and directed a private Montessori School in Hudson, Wisconsin. She is a columnist for the Public School Montessorian and is the co-author of The Compassionate Rebel: Energized by Anger, Motivated by Love, Chicken Soup of the Soul: Stories for a Better World and Peacemaker's A,B,C's: A Conflict Resolution Guide for Young Children Using the Peace Table, which is now used in over 6,000 locations worldwide.

Rebecca's current focus involves a collaborative relationship with the Human Rights Resource Center to do community outreach, development, and research and make available human rights and peace education tools and resources available for PreK-College educators, students, parents, community service providers and community organizers at

She serves on the Executive Committee for the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers and is the Minnesota Coordinator for the Worldwide Season of Nonviolence.

Leah Williams




Leah Marks

Leah Marks has been working as the Human Rights Library Web Coordinator since 2004. She is responsible for the overall functionality and growth of the Library, as well as for responding to user inquiries. In this role, she posts documents and links, as well as designs and formats web menus and document archives to improve the over-all user experience. In addition to the regular maintenance of the Library, Leah also works closely with various researchers to edit/format and post their work in the relative locations in the Human Rights Library website. This includes the expansion of the various language versions of the Library. In 2007, Leah worked with Steven Miles, MD of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Bioethics to create an electronic archive of documents entitled, United States Military Medicine in War on Terror Prisons. Eds. Steven Miles, MD. Leah Marks, Human Rights Library of the University of Minnesota, 2007.  This archive contains government documents pertaining to the roles of Armed Forces Medical Personnel who worked in US Armed Forces prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan, and at Guantanamo Bay from 2001 to 2006. Leah has also worked with Marsha Freeman, Director International Women’s Rights Action Watch IWRAW, to create a new website for IWRAW. This project involved re-designing the entire site, migrating materials from the old site into the new site, while editing and uploading new materials as they are completed.

Natela Jordan




Khoi Nguyen


Chip Pitts (Visiting Professor)

Chip Pitts is a Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School and Oxford University, Professorial Fellow at the SMU Law Institute of the Americas, and Visiting Professor at other leading universities in Asia and the West.  His teaching, research, and writing focuses on corporate social responsibility, sustainable development, effective governance, transformative leadership, and business/human rights.  Previously a partner at Baker & McKenzie global law firm, then Chief Legal Officer of Nokia, Inc., he has been an investor and founding executive of startup businesses in Austin and Silicon Valley. Non-profit leadership roles include current service as Advisor to the UN Global Compact, board member of Fair Trade International, former Chair of Amnesty International USA and former President of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Member of the UN GC Expert Group on Conflict-Sensitive Practices, board member of the Dallas ACLU and of The Negotiation Center, and Advisory Board member of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Business and Human Rights Resource Center, among other roles. He is the co-author and editor of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Legal Analysis (2009), and the Human Rights Guide to Corporate Accountability (2008), among other publications.



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