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Sri Lanka: Human Rights: Local and Global

Human Rights: Local and Global  

  • NYU Washington Square: Spring 2015
  • Colombo, SRI LANKA: March 12-22, 2015 (Spring Break)
  • IDSEM-UG 1825 | 4 credits | Instructor: Vasuki Nesiah (NYU Gallatin)
  • LEVEL: Undergraduate, NYU students
  • TOPICS: Human rights, politics, and more

Students are admitted on a rolling basis and programs may fill before the deadline. Students are encouraged to apply early.

This course meets during the Spring semester, and the Spring Break travel component is required for participation.

Info Session

Meet Prof. Nesiah and learn more about the course!

Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014 ~ 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM ~ 1 Washington Pl. (Gallatin Building), Rm. 501

prisoners in orange kneeling in fenced enclosure while guards stand watch

The term “international human rights” invokes the notion of universalism as background presupposition, as practice and as promise. Yet "human rights" means something very different in different political contexts.

How do the tensions between supranational definitions of human rights and the situated knowledge of particular contexts get articulated? What are the harmonies and disharmonies between global and local practice? How do different locals relate to each other? How are questions of empire implicated in the human rights field?

This ten-week course approaches these questions by looking at how human rights is invoked and negotiated in the United States and Sri Lanka in areas such as prison conditions and media freedom.

This course combines classroom study of the human rights field with site visits to human rights organizations in both countries. Students will talk with experts in the field, visit with key national and international organizations, and explore how human rights mechanisms negotiate the “glocal” space. In Sri Lanka, students will share classroom learning with students from the University of Colombo in the mornings and make site visits in the afternoons.

Gallatin students: This course fulfills 4 credits of the Interdisciplinary Seminar as well as the Global Cultures and Social Sciences requirements.


  • Undergraduate students of all NYU schools
  • Must have completed at least one full-time college semester before the course begins
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA, good academic & disciplinary standing


  • Tuition, 4 credits: included in NYU flat-rate tuition for full-time students
  • Program Fee: $1500

Program fee includes roundtrip flight, housing, mandatory excursions, some meals, and mandatory international health insurance, which is provided for the program duration.

Other Major Costs to Consider:

  • Fees for passport; fees for travel visa, if required
  • Fees for immunizations (the CDC recommends certain immunizations for travel to Sri Lanka)
  • Most meals

Financial Aid

See our Financial Aid for Study Away page for opportunities.

Important Travel Details

Housing: Students are required to reside in accommodations arranged by NYU Gallatin.

Travel Documents: All program participants are required to have a valid passport, and certain participants might need a travel visa. These documents should be obtained well in advance of the program start date.