Meet Alexis Kallen ('18)
Alexis Kallen, a 2018 Rhodes Scholar and a 2017 Harry S. Truman Scholar, is a senior majoring in Political Science with minors in Human Rights and Spanish. Her honors thesis analyzes why international law is failing to protect refugees fleeing from Burundi into Rwanda from sexual assault, even after the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was the first court to prosecute rape as genocide. She was also Stanford's 127th Convocation speaker.
Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said of Alexis: “I am proud that our Stanford students pursue excellence not just for the sake of excellence, but to benefit humanity and the broader good. Alexis exemplifies this outlook. This year, she inspired so many of us with her moving Convocation speech. She described the breadth and depth of her studies, as well as her engagement here at Stanford, from her role in the dorms as a Resident Assistant to her travels in Rwanda as a human rights scholar. She puts her intellect and her empathy on the line in such impressive ways as a member of our campus community and as an engaged citizen of the world.”
Kallen has been an advocate against campus sexual assault at Stanford, working with the Vice Provost to set up a task force which paved and lit the "Scary Path" between two fraternities on campus. She is the chair of Stanford in Government, Stanford’s largest student group, and a regional advisor for the Western United States to Girl Up, a United Nations Foundation.
Said Alexis of her experience with the Handa Center: "Coming to Stanford, I didn't understand the resources available or what I needed to do to work in human rights; the Handa Center staff helped me understand what a career in this field looks like and how to get there. The Handa Center has helped me through some of my toughest academic times at Stanford, whether it be advising me on choosing a summer internship or helping me prepare for graduate school interviews -- they consistently reminded me that I had a community at Stanford that believed in me and supported the work I was doing. Personally, the Handa Center has been a welcoming space where I feel included and valued, which is important at a school like Stanford that can feel so big at times. Looking back on my Stanford experience, the Handa Center community has shaped and supported me in a critical way, and I cannot imagine my Stanford journey without the Handa Center."
Next year, Alexis will read for a M. Phil. in Development Studies at the University of Oxford. She later hopes to pursue a career as an international human rights lawyer.
“There’s an extraordinary amount of interest among students and faculty in thinking about different dimensions of human rights, whether it’s in the context of issues of legal accountability, the history of the human rights architecture, or the trauma created by human rights violations.”- Prof. Jeremy Weinstein
Fisher Family Director of Stanford Global Studies
In the Classroom and in the World
The Handa Center enhances Stanford’s human rights and international justice academic offerings and student opportunities. The Handa Center integrates faculty research into undergraduate curriculum, bridges study in the classroom with real world application through internships, provides communityengaged learning opportunities, and facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration across campus.
"The Handa Center was instrumental in helping me fill
a perceived gap in my Stanford academic experience."