Susan Dicklitch-Nelson Professor of Government


Dr. Dicklitch-Nelson is Professor of Government.  Her research focuses on human rights,  specifically Global  LGBTI human rights, civil society and  democracy. She has a regional expertise in  Sub-Saharan Africa, having conducted field research in Uganda, Cameroon, Ghana, and South Africa.  Dr. Dicklitch-Nelson has published widely on human rights, civil society  and democracy, including a book called The Elusive Promise of Non-governmental Organizations in Africa: Lessons from Uganda (Palgrave/McMillan).

Dr. Dicklitch-Nelson's  is the founder  PI of the  F&M Global Barometers which include the F&M Global Barometer of Gay RightsTM (F&M GBGR) and the F&M Global Barometer of  Transgender RightsTM (F&M GBTR).  The F&M Global Barometers are part of the LGBTI Global Human Rights Initiative. She has also launched the LGBTQI Perception Index: the first ever global  suvey that seeks to shed light on the lived human rights realities of  LGBTQI individuals in 204 countries . The LGBTQI Perception Index will complement the LGBTQI Human Rights Report Cards that were prepared for the White House Summit for Democracy.

A strong advocate of  human rights and civic engagement, Dr. Dicklitch-Nelson  has served as an expert witness on human rights in Cameroon and Uganda, and on LGBTQI human rights in over 100  asylum cases in Immigration Court in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. She served as Associate Dean of the College and Director of the Ware Institute for Civic Emgagement from 2008-2015.

She teaches courses in  African politics, Global LGBTQI human rights, human rights and asylum law. In Spring 2011, the U.S. News & World Report listed her Human Rights-Human Wrongs class as one of 10 classes that impact the outside world. Dr. Dicklitch-Nelson has developed high-impact experiential learning opportunities for students in Ghana, South Africa, Honduras, and Ecuador.




University of Toronto, 1995 

MASTER OF ARTS, Political Science

University of Toronto, 1990 

BACHELOR OF ARTS (Honors)  summa cum laude, Political Science and Geography

McMaster University, 1989



LGBTI Human Rights

Human Rights, Democracy and Civil Society

Political Asylum

Community-based Learning

Africa (Cameroon, Uganda, South Africa)




Dicklitch, Susan (1998) The Elusive Promise of NGOs in Africa: Lessons from Uganda (International Political Economy Series). New York: MacMillan and St. Martin's Press.


Dicklitch-Nelson, Susan and Mark Bromley (2023) “A Shadow over Democracy”, The Hill,  March 28,

Dicklitch-Nelson, Susan and Indira Rahman (2022) "Transgender Rights are Human Rights: A Cross-National Comparison of Transgender Rights in 204 Countries", Journal of Human Rights,

Dicklitch-Nelson, Susan, Indira Rahman, and Scottie Thompson Buckland. (2022) F&M Global Barometers Annual Report: LGBT Human Rights in 204 Countries and Regions, 2019. Lancaster, PA: Franklin & Marshall College, available at: 

Dicklitch-Nelson, Susan, Indira Rahman, Scottie Thompson Buckland, Berwood Yost and Cuong Nguyen (2021) F&M Global Barometers: LGBT Human Rights in 203 Countries and Regions, 2011-2018. Lancaster, PA: Franklin & Marshall College, Available at: 

Crehan, Phil, Susan Dicklitch-Nelson, Kerry-Jo Ford Lyn, Jay Gilliam, Sharita Gruberg, Ryan Kaminski, Chloe Schwenke, Ryan Thoreson (2020) Transforming U.S. Foreign Policy to Ensure Dignity and Rights for LGBTI PeopleCenter for American Progress, Available at:   DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.36043.41762 

Dicklitch-Nelson, Susan (2020) “Are LGBT Human Rights in Uganda a Lost Cause?”, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Available at:

“A Comparative Analysis of LGBT Human Rights in 197 Countries: 2011-2017”, Franklin & Marshall College Global Barometer of Gay Rights Working Paper, Available at: 

Dicklitch-Nelson, Susan, Indira Rahman (2019) "Joint Responsibility: LGBT Rights in a Polarized World", The Globe Post, 18 April 2019. Available at: 

Dicklitch-Nelson, Susan, Scottie Thompson, Danel Draguljic and Berwood Yost (2019)  "From Persecutors to Protectors: Human Rights and the F&M Global Barometer of Gay Rights (GBGR)", (Forthcoming)   Journal of Human Rights. DOI: 10.1080/14754835.2018.1563863, Available at:  

Dicklitch, Susan, Berwood Yost and Scottie Thompson (2017) "Most countries score an F on our LGBT human rights report card", The Conversation, June 8, 2017 (reprinted by the Associated Press in the  Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times).

Dicklitch, Susan and Amara M. Riley (2017) "Empowering Students to Make a Difference Now", in Margaret A. Miller (editor) College Teaching and Learning for Change. New York: Routledge, pp. 180-185.

Dicklitch, Susan and Amara M. Riley (2015) "Empowering Students to Make a Difference Now", Change Magazine of Higher Education (July/August).

Dicklitch, Susan, (2013) “Service-Learning: Blending Cognitive, Affective and Effective Learning: The Case of Human Rights-Human Wrongs”, in Ailson Rios Millett McCartney, Elizabeth A. Bennion, and  Dick Simpson (eds), From Service-Learning to Civic and Political Engagement (American Political Science Association)

Dicklitch, Susan, Kelly A. Reese and Alice Yoder (2012) "A Collaborative Community Approach to Refugee Health: The Exemplary Model of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania", The Journal of Lancaster General Hospital, (Winter), Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 120-124. 

Dicklitch, Susan, Berwood Yost, and Bryan Dougan,  (2012) “Uganda and the Persecution of Homosexuals: Introducing the Barometer of Gay Rights (BGR)”, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 34, No. 2, (May), pp. 448-471.

Dicklitch, Susan (2011) “The Southern Cameroons and Minority Rights in Cameroon”, Journal of Contemporary African Studies (January 2011)

Dicklitch, Susan and Aditi Malik (2010) “Justice, Human Rights and Reconciliation in Post-Conflict Cambodia”, Human Rights Review, Volume 11, Issue 4, p.515

Dicklitch, Susan (2009) “Uganda: From Idi Amin to Museveni”, in David P. Forsythe (ed), Encyclopedia of Human Rights, (New York: Oxford University Press)

Dicklitch, Susan (2009) “Idi Amin”, in David P. Forsythe (ed), Encyclopedia of Human Rights, (New York: Oxford University Press)

Dicklitch, Susan and Rhoda Howard-Hassmann (2007) “Public Policy and Economic Rights in Ghana and Uganda”, in Shareen Hertel & Lanse Minkler, editors, Economic Rights: Conceptual, Measurement and Policy Issues, (Cambridge University Press)

Dicklitch, Susan (2006) “Why I left my Home and Native Land”, The Hamilton Spectator July 17 (op-ed article)

Dicklitch, Susan (2005) "Human Rights-Human Wrongs: Making Political Science Real Through Service-Learning", in Dan W. Butin (ed). Service-Learning in Higher Education (New York and London: Palgrave), pp. 127-138.

Dicklitch, Susan (2005) "Uganda", in Neal Tate (ed) Governments of the World (New York: MacMillan Reference USA).

Dicklitch, Susan and Heather Rice (2004), “The Mennonite Central Committee and Faith-Based NGO Aid to Africa”, Development in Practice, Vol. 14, No. 5, August, pp. 660-672

Dicklitch, Susan (2004) “African Corruption is a Crime Against Humanity”, Christian Science Monitor, 9 August 2004.

Dicklitch, Susan (2004) Book review of The Origins of Indigenism: Human Rights and the Politics of Identity, Americas, Vol. 61, No. 1, pp. 146-148.

Dicklitch, Susan and Doreen Lwanga  (2003) “The Politics of Being Non-Political: Human Rights Organizations and the Creation of a Positive Human Rights Culture in Uganda”, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 482-509

Dicklitch, Susan (2003) “Real Service = Real Learning: Making Political Science Relevant Through Service-Learning”, PS: Political Science and Politics, October 2003, pp. 773-776

Dicklitch, Susan (2003) “Two college students fight for Obi’s freedom”, Christian Science Monitor, 30 December 2003.

Dicklitch, Susan (2002) "A Basic Human Rights Approach to Democracy in Uganda”, Journal of Contemporary African StudiesVol. 20, No. 2, pp. 203-222

Dicklitch, Susan (2002), “Failed Democratic Transition in Cameroon: A Human Rights Explanation”, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 1, (February), pp. 152-176

Dicklitch, Susan (2002) “NGOs and Democratization in Transitional Societies: Lessons From Uganda”, in Daniel N. Nelson and Laura Neack (eds), Global Society in Transition: An International Politics Reader (New York & The Hague: Kluwer).]

Dicklitch, Susan (2001)  “NGOs and Democratization in Transitional Societies: Lessons From Uganda”, International Politics, Vol. 38, No. 1, (March 2001)

Dicklitch, Susan (2001) "Action for Development: Promoting Women & A Rights Protective Society in Uganda", in Claude E. Welch, (ed). NGOs & Human Rights: Promise & Performance (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania), pp.182-203

Dicklitch, Susan (2001) Book review of Mahmood Mamdani (ed) Beyond Rights Talk and Culture Talk: Comparative Essays on the Politics of Rights and Culture, in Canadian Journal of African Studies, Vol. 35, Part 3, pp. 618-619.

Dicklitch, Susan (2000) "The Incomplete Democratic Transition in Uganda", in Bensabat-Kleinberg, Remonda and Janine Clark (eds). Economic Liberalization, Democratization and Civil Society in the Developing World. (International Political Economy Series). New York:  MacMillan and St. Martin's Press.

Dicklitch, Susan (2000) Book review of Senyo B-S Adjibolosoo, Economics and Development: Rethinking Development Theory and Policy: A Human Factor Critique, in  African Studies Review, Vol. 43, No. 3, pp. 145.

Dicklitch, Susan (1999) Book review of Alison Van Rooy (ed) Civil Society and the Aid Industry, in Canadian Journal of African Studies, vol. 33, Part 1, pp. 204.

Dicklitch, Susan (1998) "Indigenous NGOs and Political Participation in Uganda Under the NRM Regime: 1986-1994", in Holger Bernt Hansen and Michael Twaddle (eds). Developing Uganda. Ohio: James Currey Press.

Dicklitch, Susan (1997), Book review of Kampala Women Getting By: Wellbeing in the time of AIDS by Sandra Wallman (London, James Currey), in The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 745-778.

Dicklitch, Susan (1997) Book review of Beckett, Young, Dilemmas of Democracy in Nigeria, in The International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 608-609.

Dicklitch, Susan (1995-96) "Uganda: A Microcosm of Crisis and Hope in Africa", Special Issue:  "Africa's Prospects", International Journal (Canadian Institute of International Affairs), LI, 1, Winter: 103-125

Dicklich, Susan (1993) “Violence Against Women: The Need for a Special Focus”, Arise Magazine, January-June, Kampala Uganda, pp. 10-11, 15. 


Student Collaborations

 Dicklitch-Nelson, Susan and Indira Rahman (2019) “Joint Responsibility: LGBT Rights in a Polarized World”, The Globe Post, (April 18), available at: https

 Dicklitch, Susan, Berwood Yost, and Bryan Dougan, (May 2012) “Uganda and the Persecution of Homosexuals: Introducing the Barometer of Gay Rights (BGR)”, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 34, No. 2, (May), pp. 448-471

 Dicklitch, Susan and Aditi Malik (2010) “Justice, Human Rights and Reconciliation in Post-Conflict Cambodia”, Human Rights Review, Volume 11, Issue 4.

 Dicklitch, Susan and Heather Rice (2004), “The Mennonite Central Committee and Faith-Based NGO Aid to Africa”, Development in Practice, Vol. 14, No. 5, August, pp. 660-672


Course Information 

GOV425: Human Rights/Human Wrongs

This course is structured as a senior seminar, community-based learning course.  It focuses on human rights and human wrongs in general, emphasizing political asylum in the United States.  The major component of the course, aside from the weekly seminar readings and discussions, centers on the political asylum project.  Students work on a political asylum case in the context of a community partnership.  Students work in teams of two and compile evidence, testimony, and detainee affidavits that are used in an immigration court of law for the political asylum detainee's case.  Students have direct hands-on experience working with asylum seekers currently incarcerated in the York Country Prison Department of Homeland Security detention facility.  Students present and evaluate individual cases in a mock trial.  .

GOV472: Citizenship

This community-based learning seminar undertakes a broad and interdisciplinary examination of the concept and practice of citizenship.  We begin by exploring the historical development of citizenship in the United States. What does it mean to be a "good citizen", a 2nd class citizen? What rights, responsibilities and obligations do citizens have? Does this vary according to nation? What happens when you lose your citizenship or are born stateless?

We conclude the course by examining the philosophic bases of civil rights and civic obligations in our liberal democracy and explore some current issues surrounding citizenship in both a national and global context.  Students will work with resettled refugees in Lancaster County. The community-based learning component of this class will introduce students to the challenges of losing citizenship in another country and being resettled here in the United States.

Humans have been killing humans since the beginning of time.  Why is this?  Are humans inherently evil, overwhelmed by the sin of nature?  Are humans driven to commit human rights abuses for power, money, love or revenge?  How can we explain the atrocities that continue to be committed by humans against humans?  Can there ever be a world free of human rights abuses or are humans destined to destroy humankind?  Edmund Burke once said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing."  This class will be devoted to understanding: What are human rights, Why do human rights abuses occur, and What can be done to curb future human rights abuses?

GOV326: African Politics

Sub-Saharan Africa has undergone profound economic, social and political change in the last four decades.  In the 1990s, new hope was placed in the adoption of multiparty democracy in many African countries.  This course analyzes the social, political and economic evolution of "development" and "democracy" in Africa.

GOV372: Global LGBTQ+ Human Rights

LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender and Queer)  individuals are the most vulnerable minorities on the planet. Their mere existence often challenges cultural norms, traditions and power structures. They have been treated as social pariahs and scapegoats for the economic, political, and social ills in their countries. The world is far from a safe place for sexual minorities.

This course offers students a unique opportunity to work on  policy-relevant research. Students will be responsible for collecting data for the F&M Global Barometer of Gay Rights (F&M GBGR). The F&M GBGR is a country-by-country rating system measuring the human rights of sexual minorities in 197 countries. The F&M GBGR assigns each country a letter grade on the familiar A-F scale. This grading system uses 27 variables in five categories that go beyond constitutional protections. Countries are classified as protecting, tolerant, resistant, intolerant or persecuting based on their score.

GOV120: Introduction to Comparative Politics 

Introduction to the theory and method of comparative politics. The course analyzes the government and politics of both developed and developing countries, encouraging students to apply the comparative method to draw conclusions about political processes and phenomena across nations and continents. 

CNX262: Why We Kill: Human Rights and Genocide

Humans have been killing each other since the beginning of time. Are humans inherently evil, or driven to commit human rights abuses for power, money, love or revenge? How can we explain the atrocities that continue to be committed by humans against other humans? Can there ever be a world free of human rights abuses or are humans destined to destroy humankind? This class will examine the notion of human rights over time, space and Students will improve their skills in five critical areas: reading, writing, speaking, information literacy, and research. 

IST325: Human Rights in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Summer Course)

Since the dismantling of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has witnessed a profound transformation. But many things have also remained the same and continue to plague the majority of the South Africa population. This course is a 5-week, intensive one-course credit, community-based learning seminar. Students will spend two weeks at Franklin & Marshall College and then five weeks in South Africa, working alongside our community partners in Khayelitsha, South Africa: Amandla EduFootball, at the Chris Campbell Memorial Facility (CCMF)

This course broadly examines the key human rights issues in post-apartheid South Africa, while focusing on one segment of South African society: the youth. Specifically, we will examine youth and violence (gender & violence, LGBTI issues), youth and public health issues (sexual health, puberty, addiction, gangs, HIV/AIDS) and youth and sport (soccer, cricket, rugby and how sport divides and unites South Africans) in its relationship to the prospects for the securement of a human rights protective regime and a human rights respective society in South Africa.