Holly Burkhalter is the Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy of International Justice Mission. IJM is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local governments to ensure victim rescue, to prosecute perpetrators and to strengthen the community and civic factors that promote functioning public justice systems.
Prior to joining IJM, Ms. Burkhalter was for nine years the U.S. Policy Director of Physicians for Human Rights, a Boston-based human rights organization specializing in medical, scientific and forensic investigations of violations of internationally recognized human rights.
Prior to joining Physicians for Human Rights in March 1997, Ms. Burkhalter was for fourteen years affiliated with Human Rights Watch as that organization's Advocacy Director and director of its Washington office. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Ms. Burkhalter staffed the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Organizations from 1981 to 1983. From 1977 to 1981 she worked for Representative (now Senator) Tom Harkin, D-IA.
Ms. Burkhalter graduated from Iowa State University in 1978 (Phi Beta Kappa) and received the University's "Outstanding Young Alumnus" award in 1984. Ms. Burkhalter was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the United States Senate to be a member of the board of the U.S. Institute for Peace, on which she served from 2001-2008.