Kathryn Sikkink


(At time of award presentation, 2006)

Professor Kathryn Sikkink, Distinguished McKnight Professor (2005), Political Science Department, is a world-renowned scholar of comparative politics and international relations whose work has deeply influenced the study, teaching, and understanding of global politics and international relations. She published the leading work on the intellectual forces that shape the way that nation-states interact in global society. This early work, very quickly followed by two other precedent setting books (in 1998 and 2004 respectively) set the intellectual foundation for a theoretical framework that has reshaped and transformed the field of global politics, and engendered new understandings of how norms and values evolve in the international economy. She is considered a giant in her field and recognized worldwide not only for her methodological approaches to the study of human rights regimes, the role of nongovernmental organizations, and comparative politics, but for her powerful analytical instincts which have fundamentally reoriented the way scholars of politics and international process think about complex political interactions in the world today. Her books have earned numerous "best book" awards by academic organizations in her fields, and one of them has been translated into Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic. She has published numerous times in the foremost academic journals in her field, and her articles have become classic references in several fields, including sociology, political science, law, history, and environmental science. Professor Sikkink is the recipient of several prestigious recognitions and awards. In 2001, she was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the highest honors and recognition that can be bestowed on a scholar in her field. In 2002, she was elected a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was identified ninth among all scholars in the world in a survey conducted in 2005 by political scientists at the College of William and Mary asking "Who has been doing the most interesting work in international relations in recent years?" Her global influence is evident in the number of institutions and scholars with whom she has collaborated for many years and her willingness to teach and advise graduate students at the University of Minnesota who come from all over the world. She has mentored and advised countless numbers of students both at the graduate and undergraduate levels. She has been a critical force in shaping interdisciplinary graduate programs, in creating the Human Rights Program at the Institute for Global Studies, and creating ties between the academic and practitioner communities on a range of international issues. She clearly exemplifies the qualities and aspirations the University requires of its Regents Professors.