Kathleen Marcia Graham, Arts ’69
In 1995, as her son prepared to leave for college, Kathleen Graham left behind 20-plus years as a Minneapolis trial lawyer and set out to explore working in the international development community. Kathleen’s unique vision of applying her legal skills to useful work in that way has taken her around the world, from Katmandu to Kampala, Kabul and Khujand.
She has consulted with and coached judges, lawyers, government officials, small business owners, and women’s and human rights activists. In her work, she uses international legal conventions to help people acquire economic and political rights.
In her personal travels, Kathleen volunteers on behalf of nonprofit organizations. She has worked in Tajikistan, Nepal, Sudan, Uganda, Afghanistan, Moldova, Kosovo and elsewhere. In Afghanistan, she helped organize data on human rights abuses so that they can be investigated someday. In Tajikistan, she collaborated on legal advocacy strategies to assist small business owners. In Kosovo, she worked with judges and lawyers on legislation to make tax, inheritance and property laws fair to women. As a volunteer in Nepal, she trained police to investigate domestic violence claims and in Southern Sudan, she introduced a hand-crank grinder to replace the mortar and pestle used to make flour.
“I like the challenge of assessing heretofore-unaddressed situations, developing strategies and watching the interventions play out,” Kathleen says.