Mission Statement

The Human Rights Institute facilitates an interdisciplinary conversation on human rights among students, faculty and the broader community in Connecticut and beyond. Our research programs focus on economic and social rights, health and human rights, and humanitarianism. Work in these areas demonstrates the Institute’s commitment to crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing a space for scholars and advocates to exchange knowledge and experience across areas of expertise.

Our aim is to educate well-rounded scholars with an informed understanding of human rights. As a university wide program, the Institute advances human rights teaching across all UCONN colleges and schools and pursues novel and critical approaches to human rights scholarship and pedagogy. We encourage engaged discussion and academic research on the advantages and limitations of human rights discourse and practice.

History of Human Rights at the University of Connecticut

In 2001, the University of Connecticut designated human rights as a university priority. This was the culmination a florishing of human rights activities at the University in the 1980s-90s. The Thomas J. Dodd Center was founded in 1995, containing the Nuremberg archives of former Nuremberg Executive Counsel and Connecticut Senator Thomas J. Dodd. Since 2000, the University has hosted the Marsha Lilien Gladstein Visiting Professor of Human Rights that brings leading human rights scholars to the UConn campus for one semester per year to teach and give a public lecture on key developments in the field. The Human Rights Institute was founded by Gladstein Professor of Human Rights Richard A.Wilson in 2003 to promote interdisciplinary research and teaching across the University. Since then six joint faculty have since been hired at the Institute. In 2001, an interdisciplinary Human Rights Minor was established at the University. The Human Rights Minor presently enrolls approximately 80-100 students per year, making it one of the largest Human Rights Minors in the country. A Human Rights Major was launched in the 2012-13 academic year. The Major has over 40 students earning degrees in human rights making it one of the largest, and earliest, human rights majors in the U.S.A.