The Foundation seeks to advance human rights and international affairs education, with special emphasis on Russia and China. Following Sen. Jackson’s model, we believe the most effective foreign policy is informed by research and deep area studies expertise.  

Sen. Jackson and his wife, Helen Jackson, worked to advance democracy and respect for human rights around the world. In particular, Jackson fought for human rights in the Soviet Union, and responded to Soviet dissidents’ insistence that economic aid to the Soviet Union be conditioned upon progress on human rights and democracy. With Jackson’s political leadership, this concept became reality in the landmark 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which linked the granting of most favored nation (MFN) trade status to the freedom to emigrate, and established human rights as a central U.S. foreign policy concern.

We must not now, as we did once, acquiesce to tyranny while there are those, at greater risk than ourselves, who dare to resist.

~ Sen. Jackson

For two decades, the Foundation supported human rights work in Russia, helping build capacity in Russian civil society. More recently, the Foundation shifted its focus to NGOs working abroad on Russian human rights. The Foundation also strives to support local human rights efforts, including the Center for Human Rights at the University of Washington.

In addition, the Foundation has supported Global Magnitsky Program work. The Jackson-Vanik Amendment was replaced by its intellectual successor, the Global Magnitsky Act, which allows fiscal and travel sanctions to be imposed against individuals and countries for documented human rights abuses and corruption. A critical tool to advance human rights, Congress made it permanent in 2022, due in part to the tremendous efforts of the Foundation’s national human rights partners. The Act has become a model for similar legislation in many other countries. 

Today, we strive to strengthen the connection between researchers and policymakers to create solutions to practical issues of international significance. We seek partnerships with academic researchers, including graduate students and other experts, in order to best inform policymakers’ decisions.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn autographing books for
Senator Henry M. Jackson in his office, 1975 
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, UW27471z