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July 17, 2007

Rapoport Center announces: the papers of George Lister now available online

The Law School’s Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice recently announced the online publication of “The Papers of George Lister: Mr. Human Rights.”

George Lister served as a U.S. diplomat for more than sixty years. In the 1960s and early 1970s, he served in the State Department’s Bureau of Inter-American Affairs. From the early 1980s until 2002, he worked in the human rights bureau where his work centered on the promotion of democracy in Latin America and on international human rights. He is particularly admired for his efforts to reshape the State Department’s approach to human rights from the inside, largely through dialogue with members of opposition movements.

Following his death in 2004, the Lister family donated an extensive collection of his memos, speeches, newspaper articles, essays, and other documents to the University of Texas at Austin’s Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection. Karen Engle, the W. H. Francis, Jr. Professor at the School of Law and Director of the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, recognized the importance of the collection and its value to scholars all over the world. With the support of a UTopia grant from the University of Texas General Libraries, she instigated a two-year collaborative project to make much of the collection available online, and to fortify it with the proceedings of an interdisciplinary conference the Rapoport Center hosted on the life and legacy of George Lister and interviews with people who knew and worked with George Lister, including a number of former Assistant Secretaries of State, She worked closely with National Public Radio Producer Tracy Wahl to produce the interviews, and with an interdisciplinary team of graduate and law students and Benson Collection archivist Christian Kelleher to put the papers on-line.

To access the Lister website, please visit:

Learn more about the Rapoport Center at:

Press Contact: Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or