Amy Elizabeth Risley Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Amy Elizabeth Risley

Professor of International Studies
Rhodes College

The central themes of my research are activism, advocacy, human rights, and democracy. I have published several studies on civil society groups' efforts to influence policy making in Latin America. Children's rights and gender and politics are areas of particular interest. I offer courses on comparative politics, Latin American politics, US-Latin American relations, social movements, research methods, and other topics at Rhodes College.

Subjects: Political Science


My most recent book, The Youngest Citizens, traces the evolution of children’s rights in Latin America and analyzes a dramatic discursive and policy shift that has occurred since the 1990s. The study discusses the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, child advocates’ sustained efforts to influence domestic policy, and pressing issues such as child labor, child soldiers, child sexual exploitation, and unaccompanied child migrants. More information can be found here:

My first book, Civil Society Organizations, Advocacy, and Policy Making in Latin American Democracies: Pathways to Participation, investigates civil society involvement in policy making and identifies successful issue framing and effective alliance building as important "pathways" to participation in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. For further details, visit

My studies of activism, gender violence, human trafficking, and community-engaged learning have also appeared in several journals and edited volumes.

I am passionate about teaching undergraduates in a liberal arts environment. In 2019, I received the Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Teaching.  I chaired the Department of International Studies from 2017-2020 and directed the Latin American and Latinx Studies Program from 2013-2016. I co-chaired the Working Group on Expressive Speech convened by the President of Rhodes College from 2019-2020.  

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Comparative politics, Latin American politics, social movements, civil society, gender and politics, human rights.

Personal Interests

    I am a proud alumna of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I earned my B.A. I received my M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from New York University. I have also had the privilege of living overseas in Buenos Aires, Santiago, and Madrid. My favorite activities include traveling, cooking and baking, and watching films and documentaries. More than anything else, I love spending time with my husband, daughter, son, and Labradoodle.


Featured Title
 Featured Title - The Youngest Citizens - 1st Edition book cover