Kathryn Sikkink is the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Sikkink is best known for her work on transnational social movements, especially her book Activists beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (Cornell University Press, 1998), coauthored with Margaret Keck and awarded the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order and the Chadwick F. Alger Prize. Her most recent work, The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics (W. W. Norton, 2011), awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and the WOLA-Duke Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America, explores individual criminal accountability of state officials for past human rights violations.
While in residence, Sikkink is researching the role of Latin American jurists, diplomats, and social movements in contributing to the idea and practice of the international protection of human rights in the period 1945–1990. Human rights policies are sometimes associated with the United States and Western Europe, but Sikkink, using archival research and interviews, explores the often overlooked activities of individuals from Latin America in furthering human rights law. She hopes to understand the political and ideational sources of these policy initiatives.
Sikkink has been a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina and a Guggenheim Fellow. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Sikkink holds an MA and PhD from Columbia University.