Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS)

Letter from the Director

Image of Adam Levine

Welcome to the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS) at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Our mission is to promote a more just, peaceful, and secure world by furthering a deeper understanding of global human rights and humanitarian challenges, and encouraging collaboration between local communities, academics, and practitioners to develop innovative solutions to these challenges.

Both human rights and humanitarianism are by their very nature multidisciplinary fields. They raise questions that cannot be answered by any one academic department, but rather require close collaborations among scholars from the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health, and engineering. They are also fields that historically have had large divides between the academics and researchers studying them, the activists and professionals working in them, and the local communities and vulnerable populations most affected by humanitarian crises and human rights violations. CHRHS is committed to tackling the human rights and humanitarian challenges of the 21st century in ways that bring together faculty and students from across Brown, in concert with humanitarian responders, human rights advocates, and local communities worldwide to develop collaborative, sustainable, and context-appropriate solutions.

The goals of CHRHS are to 1) promote rigorous, interdisciplinary research in both human rights and humanitarianism; 2) reimagine the education and training of the next generation of humanitarian and human rights researchers, educators, and practitioners; and 3) support programming that engages faculty, students, alumni, visiting scholars, and practitioners from communities around the globe to explore current humanitarian and human rights challenges and share best practices.

Brown has always been a vibrant hub for human rights and humanitarianism, with a rich network of faculty, students, and alumni scholars and activists who are engaged in this important work on campus, in the Rhode Island community, and across the globe. CHRHS will build upon the networks already in place at Brown, while seeking to develop new opportunities for scholarship and education that directly contribute to global efforts to prevent and respond to humanitarian crises and human rights violations wherever they occur, both at home and abroad.


Adam C. Levine, MD, MPH