Skip to main content

Let's Talk Human Rights

My Summer as a Business and Human Rights Resource Centre Intern

By Ryan Scott '20

This summer, I had the honor of being the first UD student to intern with the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) as part of their new partnership with the University of Dayton Human Rights Center. I applied to this internship for the opportunity to learn about human rights advocacy being done in major cities in the United States by global organizations-- such as the BHRRC. I was excited for this experience because I’ve never done work like this before; in the past, much of my human rights experience has been on the legal side or directly within a community. This internship would allow me to explore a new field of human rights work. 

Not only has the BHRRC played an important role in keeping a multitude of businesses accountable for their actions, but it also works closely with companies and human rights defenders to educate others on safe business practices and human rights doctrine. It was through my internship that I began to understand just how much business and human rights intersect.

BHRRC's New York City office is comprised of approximately five full-time staff members dedicated to creating an inclusive environment that fosters hard work and care for all staff members. Upon my first few days in the office, I was immediately welcomed by the staff and made to feel like a member of the team. I worked under Christen Dobson, the Senior Project Lead and researcher. In addition to the NYC office, the BHRRC is represented in 16+ countries all over the globe.

My work included synthesizing news articles into inputs for the website, collecting information on donors working with human rights defenders, and being able to help with random tasks as they would pop up throughout the week. The Amazon Watch Project was one of the larger projects I worked on while at the BHRRC. This project focuses  on recent news of multiple companies based in North America and Europe destroying parts of the Amazon in Brazil; this practice endangers both the ecosystem of the area, the land of indigenous people and the overall climate of the world. I drafted the input of two large stories concerning the situation as well as gathering contact information so that the BHRRC could notify the companies of the claims being made against them.

What I enjoyed most about my time with theBHRRC was the care demonstrated toward all of the staff. Through the tragedies that struck Dayton this summer, I constantly received messages from team members checking in on me and making sure that I was okay. Not a day went by that I was not asked about how I was doing. The care I felt from the staff of the BHRRC motivated me to work hard each day I was in the office.

My time at the BHRRC was amazing and gave me valuable life experience that I will hold with me for years to come as I begin my transition from UD into the professional world. I cannot thank the Human Rights Center here at UD and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre enough for the opportunity to grow professionally and personally in one of the most dynamic cities in the nation. This experience influenced me to look for other opportunities in New York City to work with human rights, specifically dealing with policy or the need for new policy. The BHRRC taught me what advocacy and accountability mean when dealing with companies; I would love to continue working with advocacy and reporting in the future. I look forward to keeping in touch with all of the amazing people I worked with this summer.

To learn more about the Business and Human Rights Internship please visit our website.

Previous Post

Trump scorns United Nations as tensions with Iran flare over Saudi oil attacks

Trump addresses Iran in his recent speech to the UN General Assembly, but his lack of a call for a response to recent attacks breaks with presidential history. This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read More
Next Post

Technology and the Second Wave of Social and Political Movements

Cali Anne Cleaves, a University of Dayton law student, shares insights from global social activist and academic Zeynep Tufekci’s Social Practice of Human Rights 2019 keynote address on technology’s role in the Hong Kong protests and the future of contemporary social movements.
Read More