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Kathryn Libal, Ph.D. - University of Connecticut. Storrs, CT, US

Kathryn Libal, Ph.D. Kathryn Libal, Ph.D.

Director, Human Rights Institute and Associate Professor, Social Work & Human Rights | University of Connecticut


Professor Libal researches human rights norms and practices, including the ability to secure adequate food and housing.


Professor Libal's work has focused on women’s and children’s rights movements, the advocacy of international non-governmental organizations on behalf of refugees, the resettlement of refugees, and the localization of human rights norms and practices in the United States. She focuses on social mobilization for the right to adequate food and housing.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Asylum Seekers

Refugees and resettlement

Women's Rights

Children's Rights

Migrant Children

Social Mobilization


Education (1)

University of Washington: Ph.D., Cultural Anthropology





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Bringing Economic and Social Rights ‘Home’


Media Appearances (2)

A new approach to social resilience through landscape architecture

PHYS Org  online


Beyond economic concerns about taking in refugees, some host countries worry about an increase in the crime rate, which she says is unfounded. Consulting with Kathryn Libal, director of the UConn Human Rights Institute, Wu found the opposite was true: Crime rates are in fact lower, and there is a desire by the refugees to integrate and not be isolated in their new communities...

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Famed Philanthropist, UConn Alum Donate $4 Million For UConn Human Rights

Hartford Courant  online


"This provides a stability and support to an institution that does things that you would normally see a private institution do," said Kathryn Libal, who directs the institute. "We are able to bring in extremely important and high-level speakers, experts, educators in the field of human rights, not only in the U.S., but globally. "Often you can see those things at a Harvard or a Columbia, but it's much less common to see that kind of activity happening at that caliber in a public institution," she said...

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Articles (4)

Hunger in a “Land of Plenty”: A Renewed Call for Social Work Action Social Work

2014 Over the past three decades levels of poverty in the United States have remained largely stagnant and various forms of social inequality have increased. Simultaneously, social welfare programs to ensure social protection have contracted through conservative political mobilization to “downsize big government.” When the economic recession hit in 2007, Food Stamps (renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Action Program, or SNAP, in 2009) became one of the most important social benefits available to affected individuals and families.

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Human rights in the United States: Beyond exceptionalism Cambridge University Press

2011 This book brings to light emerging evidence of a shift toward a fuller engagement with international human rights norms and their application to domestic policy dilemmas in the United States. The volume offers a rich history, spanning close to three centuries, of the marginalization of human rights discourse in the United States.

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Paradoxes and possibilities: Domestic human rights policy in context Human rights in the United States: Beyond exceptionalism

2011 The United States of America was founded on the principle of equality through law, even if this ideal has not always been realized. Indeed, the struggle to realize equality and full participation in society and governance is a perennial theme in US history. At various junctures, realizing this ideal has been challenging, especially in the face of war, economic crises, or social unrest.

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Reframing violence against women as a human rights violation: Evan Stark’s coercive control Authors Violence Against Women

2009 Evan Stark claims that partner-perpetrated physical abuse and other forms of violence against women ought to be understood as a human rights violation. The authors engage Stark’s rhetorically powerful political and analytical innovation by outlining one theoretical and one practical challenge to shifting the paradigm that researchers, advocates, and policy makers use to describe, explain, and remedy the harms of coercive control from misdemeanor assault to human rights violation.

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