Living the legacy of Ken Cmiel

Living the legacy of Ken Cmiel

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Summer 2012 human rights internships are supported by Cmiel scholarships

Even though Kenneth J. Cmiel, a scholar and human rights champion, died suddenly Feb. 4, 2006, his legacy continues to live on through University of Iowa students' work thanks to scholarships that bear his name.

The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) in UI International Programs has awarded seven students a total of $7,500 to support their internships for human rights organizations in the United States or internationally in the summer of 2012.

These students, seeking a combination of graduate and undergraduate degrees, have received funding as part of the UICHR’s annual Kenneth J. Cmiel Funded Human Rights Internship Program. Program funds cover travel and living expenses for students who have secured an internship with a local, national, or international nongovernmental organization or governmental agency engaged in human rights-related advocacy, research, or education.

Ken Cmiel
Kenneth J. Cmiel

Cmiel, for whom the award is named, was an educator committed to human rights both locally and globally. Cmiel was a professor of history and American studies and was the director of the UI Center for Human Rights until he died suddenly in 2006. He served as chair of the Department of History in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 2000 to 2003.

In 2004, he was appointed director of the UI Center for Human Rights in International Programs, a nationally recognized model for cooperative work between the academic and human rights communities. Cmiel was dedicated to encouraging students to pursue employment and work in the field of human rights around the globe. He initiated the Human Rights Internship Program within the Center for Human Rights and spent countless hours with students, discussing the possibilities of meaningful work to promote a more just and caring world community.

A donation from the Stanley family, the gifts of other private donors, and UI Office of the Provost and UI International Programs funds make the awards possible. Below is a listing of the students and their host organizations for the summer.

  • Andrew Craig, a J.D. candidate in the College of Law, will work with Defense for Children International–Palestine Section in Ramallah, West Bank.
  • Neha Dhungana, an M.D. candidate in the Carver College of Medicine, will intern for Kanti Children’s Hospital in Maharajgunj, Nepal.
  • Jeannette George, an undergraduate student in the Colleges of Nursing and Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work for Social and Scientific Systems Inc. in Kampala, Uganda.
  • Hunter Harig, a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) candidate in the College of Public Health, will intern at the Latino Commission on AIDS in New York City.
  • Ethan Gingerich and Adrianna Jarosz, both undergraduate students in the College of Engineering, will participate in the Bridges to Prosperity project in Jucuapa Occidental, Nicaragua.
  • Gregory Pelc, an M.D./M.P.H. candidate in the Carver College of Medicine and College of Public Health, will divide his time between two organizations in India: the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement in Karnataka and Pallium India in Kerala.

For more information about these students’ specific projects or the Cmiel Funded Human Rights Internship Program, visit


Liz Crooks, UI Center for Human Rights


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