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Human Rights and international Affairs Education

Senator Jackson and his wife, Helen Jackson, were committed to advancing democracy and respect for human rights around the world. Senator Jackson fought tirelessly for human rights in the Soviet Union, and paid attention to the pleas of Soviet dissidents who insisted that economic assistance to the Soviet Union should be conditioned upon progress on human rights and democracy. Senator Jackson’s political leadership and diplomacy in this area culminated in the 1974 landmark legislation, the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. This law linked the granting of most favored nation (MFN) trade status to the freedom of emigration, establishing human rights as a central concern in U.S. foreign policy.


The Foundation seeks to advance human rights and international affairs education, with special emphasis on Russia and China.

We believe that the most effective policies are created when policymakers utilize the latest research and informed opinion to craft effective, impactful human rights policies. We seek to strengthen the connection between researchers and policymakers in seeking solutions to real world issues of international significance. We seek out partnerships not only with academic researchers, but with graduate students and others who are seeking to provide policymakers with the best information available to inform decision-making.

the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which became law in 1974, linked the granting of most favored nation (MFN) status to the freedom of emigration. Since then, this law has been expanded and is now the Global Magnitsky Act. This Act enables assets to be suspended and sanctions to be imposed against individuals and countries who restrict and/or deny human rights. This Act is an extremely important tool to advance human rights, and similar legislation is being or has been passed in many other countries. With the Act up for renewal in 2022, the Foundation is working with strategic partners to make nonpartisan analysis available to policymakers regarding the success of this approach to ensuring human rights around the world and to encourage making this legislation permanent.

Helen H. Jackson Chair in Human Rights

In 2006, the Jackson Foundation’s Board bestowed the Henry M. Jackson Award for Distinguished Public Service on Helen for her exemplary life in service to our community and the nation. In 2008, the Jackson Foundation’s Board honored Helen by endowing the Helen H. Jackson Chair in Human Rights at the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies with a $1 million gift.