About Peace, Justice, and Human Rights (PJHR)

The Peace, Justice and Human Rights (PJHR) Initiative grew out of the Peace Studies Program which was established at Florida Atlantic University approximately twenty years ago. The commitment of the University to the themes of the Initiative is profound and led to PJHR being included as one of nine key platforms in the University's current strategic plan. PJHR is a multidisciplinary effort that brings together scholars, practitioners, students and community leaders that are invested in the themes of human rights, peace and social justice. This is a University-wide commitment to issues of global importance that affect the South Florida area.


Kelly J. Shannon, Ph.D.Kelly J. Shannon, Ph.D.

Kelly J. Shannon, Ph.D. is the Director of the Peace, Justice and Human Rights Initiative (PJHR). She is also Associate Professor of History and the Chastain-Johnston Middle Eastern Studies Distinguished Professor in Peace Studies at FAU. Dr. Shannon’s research focuses on U.S. relations with the Islamic world, U.S. relations with Iran, women’s human rights, transnational feminism, and international history. She is the author of U.S. Foreign Policy and Muslim Women’s Human Rights (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018), as well as several book chapters and journal articles. Dr. Shannon is currently working on two books. The first is a monograph on U.S. relations with Iran during the first half of the twentieth century, tentatively entitled The Ties That Bind: U.S.-Iran Relations, 1905-1953. The second, American Feminism and the World since 1945: An International History, is geared toward a general audience and is under contract with Bloomsbury Press. Dr. Shannon teaches undergraduate courses on 20th century U.S. history, U.S. women’s history, U.S. diplomatic history, U.S.-Islamic relations, the history of human rights, historical methods, and the senior seminar. She advises M.A. theses and teaches graduate courses on U.S. foreign relations history, the history of U.S. empire, and the teaching practicum.

Dr. Shannon has been affiliated with PJHR since its inception in 2014, when she served as an inaugural Faculty Fellow from 2014-2016. She is also affiliated with FAU’s Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program. Dr. Shannon is the recipient of many grants and honors, including the 2019 Stuart L. Bernath Lecture Prize awarded by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend, a Rockefeller Archive Foundation Research Stipend, the SHAFR Samuel Flagg Bemis Research Grant, the SHAFR Summer Institute, and the Marvin Wachman Fellowship in Force and Diplomacy from the Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy (CENFAD) at Temple University.  She currently serves on the SHAFR Executive Council and is active in several other scholarly organizations. Dr. Shannon has spoken in many academic and public settings, has authored op eds in venues like the Washington Post, and has been interviewed by NPR and other media outlets.”


Angela D. Nichols

Angela D. Nichols, Ph.D.

Dr. Angela D. Nichols is the Assistant Director of PJHR. She is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Nichols earned her Ph.D. in Political Science with subfields in International Relations and Comparative Politics from the University of North Texas. She also holds a B.A. in International Relations from The Pennsylvania State University. Professor Nichols’ research broadly focuses on issues related to human rights and conflict. Her book Impact, Legitimacy, and Limitations of Truth Commissions examines how truth commissions contribute to peace and human rights following periods of conflict or mass abuse. She has published articles in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Studies Perspectives, Conflict, Security, & Development, Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, Civil Wars, and TRAMES: A Journal of the Humanities & Social Sciences. Her analysis can also be found in The Conversation and Political Violence at a Glance. Dr. Nichols’ newest work examines the causes and consequences of women’s engagement in rebel groups. For more information please visit her website: http://angeladnichols.weebly.com/



Mission Statement

Who We Are

Launched in 2014, the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights (PJHR) Initiative grew out of FAU’s highly successful Peace Studies Program, which was founded in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters in 1999. PJHR is one of nine key “platforms” in the University’s Strategic Plan. The Initiative is a university-wide, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary effort that brings together scholars, students, practitioners, and community leaders engaged in the themes of social justice, human rights, and peace and nonviolence. 
Our collaborative community includes students, university staff, and community partners, as well as dozens of Faculty Affiliates who represent disciplines from across the university and FAU’s six campuses. Together, we are the diverse faculty, staff, and students at a Hispanic-Serving public university, located at the crossroads of the United States and the Caribbean, who believe it is possible and necessary to create a more just, peaceful, equitable world. Our goal is to create positive change locally, nationally, and internationally by advancing knowledge and bold solutions to social problems through our research, teaching and learning, activism, and community engagement. 


What We Believe

The following beliefs guide our activities:

  • We believe in universal human rights and the principles outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(1948) and other international human rights instruments. All people everywhere possess the same inalienable rights by virtue of being born human, regardless of their race, sex, gender, national origin, religion, geographic location, age, or other identities and characteristics.

  • We believe that equity and social justice are possible. Making progress towards these goals requires hard work and commitment.

  • We believe that peace is an unmitigated good that contributes to a more prosperous, healthy, equitable world. Peace is a prerequisite for a world in which all people can thrive and in which human rights and dignity can be upheld. Dialogue and diplomacy are important tools for ensuring peace. We envision a world in which there is no violent conflict between nations, groups, or individuals.

  • We believe that Black lives matter, and we are committed to fighting for racial justice.

  • We believe in women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, racial equality, academic freedom, rights for immigrants and asylum seekers, children’s rights, disabled people’s rights, indigenous rights, and decolonization. We seek to end all forms of structural oppression and interrogate structures of power.

  • We believe that no person should have to live in poverty and that all humans are equally valuable.

  • We believe that environmental justice is a key component of social justice.

  •  We believe in beauty, joy, solidarity, and community.

  • We believe that higher education is a tool for positive change. Knowledge creation, education and understanding, dialogue, information literacy, empathy, diversity and inclusion, and equity in higher education contributes to broader initiatives for equity, social justice, peace, and respect for human rights at the local, national, and international levels.

  • We believe that higher education empowers our students to be critical thinkers and engaged citizens.

  • We believe in our students, our colleagues, and our neighbors. Together, we can change the world for the better.


Our world faces a host of social, political, public health, economic, environmental, and other challenges that lay bare the ongoing and stark inequalities, inequities, and violence people face here in Florida and around the world. As we work to meet these challenges, we are committed to upholding the following values:

  • Equity and social justice.
  • Universal human rights and human equality.
  • Peace and nonviolence.
  • Community engagement.
  • Generating new knowledge.
  • Critical inquiry.
  • Raising awareness. 
  • Introspection and humility.
  • Mindfulness.
  • Taking risks and being willing to fail.
  • Collaboration and dialogue.
  • Action for social change. 
  • Doing the hard work.
  • Empowerment.
  • Questioning.
  • Speaking truth to power.


What We Do

We develop innovative approaches to studying and actively advancing peace, social justice, and human rights. PJHR’s main activities fall into the following categories: