New Grant Supports Creation of Human Rights Documentation and Research Center


NEW YORK, May 19, 2005 - Columbia University Libraries has received a grant of $20,000 from The Bay and Paul Foundations to support the creation of the Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research. The mission and activities of the Center—as both an archive and a teaching resource—support those of The Bay and Paul Foundations Inc.

In creating the Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research, Columbia University Libraries will ensure that students, faculty, and researchers will have access to a growing archive containing more than 25 years of human rights documentation, promoting research and study in areas of significant importance to human rights activities throughout the world. The Libraries will provide an integrated and accessible collection of human rights materials (both paper and electronic) for current and future generations of human rights activists.

Once the Center is established, advisory councils will be assembled to prepare short-term and long-term program plans for the Center; its staff will collaborate with Columbia faculty and non-governmental organizations to develop or expand educational programs in the field of human rights, and the Center’s collection of human rights materials will be expanded.

Project staff will organize materials, create finding aids, and begin to develop other digital resources as well as preserve the archives. A teaching archive of case studies and other Center materials will be available worldwide for training human rights advocates and managers of nongovernmental organizations.

Columbia University Libraries was selected in 2004 to administer the Human Rights Watch Archive, the largest U.S.-based human rights organization. The Archive offers a unique, comprehensive view of human rights conditions in more than 70 nations around the world during the last two-and-a-half decades, and provides a complete picture of the investigative, public relations documents, as well as case and country files. This body of materials forms the core of the Center at Columbia and will be joined by the archives of other leading human rights organizations.

Human Rights Watch is an international monitoring organization based in New York, with offices in Washington, London, Brussels, Moscow, Geneva, and several other cities around the world. It conducts research into human rights conditions in more than 70 countries around the world, and publishes its findings in dozens of reports every year. Human Rights Watch has an annual budget of $22 million and a staff of nearly 200 people.

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library owns over 500,000 rare books in some 20 book collections and almost 28 million manuscripts in nearly 3,000 separate manuscript collections. It is particularly strong in English and American literature and history, classical authors, children's literature, education, mathematics and astronomy, economics and banking, photography, the history of printing, New York City politics, librarianship, and the performing arts. Individual collections are as eclectic as they are extensive. For additional information about the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, please call 212-854-5153.

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/ is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.

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05/19/05 JD