Alumni Profile: Karin Ryan '03
For years, Karin Ryan ’03, senior advisor for Human Rights at the Carter Center in Atlanta, GA, has been moving toward a convergence of her two career paths: music and advocating for international human rights. Over the past two decades, Ryan has worked alongside former president Jimmy Carter and the Carter Center on a range of human rights issues. Her job responsibilities have found her accompanying Carter to foreign lands to oversee elections, representing the Carter Center in negotiations at the United Nations on various human rights issues, spearheading efforts to bring transparency to the regulation and governance of the mining industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and more.
But since her teen years in California, Ryan has also been immersed in music. For several years she supported herself as a singer and keyboardist in cover bands. Her interest in music prompted her to move to Atlanta in 1987 where she first visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.
“In 1987, my mother and I went to see my sister who was living in Atlanta back then,” Ryan recalls. “One of the things we did during that visit was to go to the newly opened Carter Presidential Library.” Several years earlier, Ryan had worked as a volunteer at the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, Zaire [which is now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo]. She was there as a youth community volunteer for the Baha’i Faith. Her experiences in Africa made her visit to the Carter Library more compelling as she learned of the 39th president’s ongoing efforts to promote peace and justice around the globe.