Theresa Keeley Wins Book Award From the Duke University Human Rights Center

Theresa Keeley, an assistant professor of history at the University of Louisville, received the Juan E. Mendez Award for Human Rights in Latin America from the Duke University Human Rights Center.

Dr. Keeley was honored for her book Reagan’s Gun-Toting Nuns: The Catholic Conflict Over Cold War Human Rights Policy in Central America (Cornell University Press, 2020). The book examines the role of the faith community, in particular the Maryknoll order, on U.S. policy in Central America in the 1980s.

When notified of the award, Dr. Keeley stated, “I am humbled to have my work recognized. At times, I struggled to find ways to convey Central Americans’ and missionaries’ experiences during the 1970s and 1980s. But it was nothing compared to what the people who lived through these difficult, and often violent, times endured. I am thankful to all of the human rights advocates, in the United States and Central America and especially the religious women, who trusted me with their stories. I hope the Méndez Award will bring recognition to them and to the greater need for the U.S. government to consider how its foreign policies affect the human rights of others.”

Dr. Keeley is a graduate of Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. She earned a juris doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

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