Human rights and humanitarian action center for human rights policy and advocacy for equality and justice in the world, led by UC Davis.

Human Rights and Humanitarian Action

Advancing Equal Access to Fundamental Human Rights

A humanitarian vision of the future

Sara, a Syrian university student, lives in a refugee camp. Forced to flee before she could graduate, she has been cut off from educational and professional resources, with no safe means of sharing her academic records with universities, agencies or employers. Help comes with the Article 26 Backpack — a digital tool administered by a UC Davis-led consortium to empower refugees whose education has been interrupted by conflict. Guided by peer mentors and enabled by cloud-based technology to securely store her academic history, Sara finds a pathway back to higher education. With the credentials to finish her degree and pursue graduate study, she is closer to her ultimate goal of becoming an educator in her homeland, where she dreams of rebuilding her country and creating hope for a new generation of Syrian students. 

Immediately addressing global humanitarian needs and challenges

The Article 26 Backpack project is just one example of how UC Davis’ leadership is safeguarding universal rights like education, healthcare, economic opportunity and justice. UC Davis has a long history of international engagement at the intersection of human rights issues and humanitarian need — from promoting educational opportunity, to fostering women’s empowerment, to expanding access to clean water and food. Now, we have a vision to fully leverage these strengths by creating a comprehensive Human Rights and Humanitarian Action Center, bridging research and practice to address immediate human rights challenges and anticipate humanitarian need over the horizon.

Expand programming and support partnerships with human rights organizations

  • Support programs for displaced and refugee scholars and artists — from political exiles to students and activists seeking asylum from persecution based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Endow professorships to recruit leading humanitarian scholars
  • Fund clinical fellowships for humanitarian leaders and human rights defenders
  • Create student internship opportunities with human rights organizations in New York and Geneva
  • Expand the Article 26 Backpack program to help refugee populations reclaim their right to education


UC Davis is committed to addressing global inequality in access to fundamental human rights. We invite the partnership of our alumni and friends in advancing human rights thought and humanitarian action toward a more just and equitable future for all.