Amanda Lyons ’09 is Executive Director of the Human Rights Center at the University of Minnesota Law School. She is a specialist in international human rights law and advocacy, and her work looks at rights-based approaches to economic, environmental, and gender justice.
Amanda works with HRC faculty, researchers, staff, students, and partners to advance the Center’s wide-reaching research, teaching, advocacy, and outreach agenda. Her own research and policy work is in the area of economic and social rights, including the rights of peasants and LGBTQI rights. She is a Lecturer in Law, teaches courses on Poverty & Human Rights and Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Human Rights, and runs the Human Rights Field Placement experiential learning course. In support of her teaching, Amanda received a Schochet Grant (2019) and a UMN Teaching Innovation Grant (2018). She is part of the Human Rights Lab/Minnesota Model, a Grand Challenges-supported research initiative.
Before joining the University of Minnesota in 2016, Amanda served for 5 years as the New York Head of Office and Americas Program Coordinator for the NGO, Franciscans International (FI). In that role she designed and supported grassroots human rights advocacy strategies at the UN on a range of issues, including business and human rights, poverty, gender, the rights of indigenous peoples, and environmental justice. Her advocacy work focused on the UN Human Rights Council, including treaty bodies, special procedures, and the Universal Periodic Review, and on the 2011-2015 sustainable development negotiations, including Rio+20 and the Sustainable Development Goals/2030 Agenda.
From 2009-2011 Amanda was a Legal Researcher and Advisor for the International Center for Transitional Justice based in Bogotá, Colombia. There she focused on international criminal law, gendered perspectives on transitional justice, and project monitoring and evaluation. She also worked for one year as an intern with the Comissão Teotonio Vilela at the Núcleo de Estudios de Violencia, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil.
Originally from Austin, MN, Amanda is a proud 2009 graduate of the University of Minnesota and earned her J.D. magna cum laude with a concentration in international human rights law. She has a B.A. in Sociology and Latin American Studies from the University of Notre Dame.
- Executive Director
- Human Rights Center