She is a poet as well as a scholar and her work explores the literature of human rights in the Americas and teaches courses dedicated to the intersection of history, memory and aesthetics. Her work also focuses on the literature of exile in Latin America.
Her current scholarly research explores the relationship between gender, creativity, and freedom of expression under repressive dictatorships. In Latin America, her work on the Chilean arpillera political tapestries made by the mothers of the disappeared during the Pinochet dictatorship, is considered among her most important contributions to scholarship.
The United Nations has honored her with a leadership award, and was awarded the Gabriela Mistral Medal of Honor for Life Achievement by the government of Chile. She has recently received the Fritz Reidlich award on Global Mental Health. from the Harvard program on Refuges.