Author: Biron, Alexa

Human Rights Film+ Series: Tacheles – The Heart Of The Matter

Tuesday, November 16, 2021
12:30pm – 3:00pm
Virtual Event


  • 12:30pm - Film Screening
  • 2:15pm - Post-Screening Discussion with filmmaker Jana Matthes, Sebastian Wogenstein (Center for Judaic Studies), and James Coltrain (Digital Media and Design). Moderated by Heather Elliott-Famularo.

The Human Rights Film+ Series presents Tacheles - The Heart of the Matter, written and directed by Jana Matthes & Andrea Schramm (Germany 2020).

Synopsis: Yaar is a young Israeli living in Berlin, rebelling against his Jewish identity. He accuses his father of suffering from the Holocaust although he never experienced it firsthand. In order to face his own family history, Yaar decides to engage with the Holocaust in a new way: via a computer game. Together with his two German friends, he creates a 1940s Germany in which Jews can defend themselves and Nazis can act humanely. His father is shocked. “Tacheles – The Heart of the Matter” shows how the trauma of the survivors affects the third generation. By blurring the truth and switching the roles of victims and perpetrators - can anyone cope with their own history? Is reconciliation possible with a Computer Game?

Co-sponsors: Human Rights Institute, Dodd Impact, Digital Media and Design, Center for Judaic Studies & Contemporary Jewish Life

Contractual Deterrence and the Ethical Supply Chain

Tuesday, November 30, 2021
1:00pm - 2:15pm
Virtual Event

Workshop on Contractual Deterrence and the Ethical Supply Chain

Presenter: Robert Bird, University of Connecticut School of Business

Discussant: Gastón de los Reyes, Glasgow Caledonian New York College

A harmful byproduct of the global economy is the proliferation of abuses in global supply chains. Too often lead firms and suppliers do not effectively collaborate. Lead firms require human rights and sustainability standards while also demanding extremely low cost goods and fast production deadlines. Suppliers faced with the impossible choice of financial survival or compliance with ethical standards, attempt to evade lead firm demands. The result is an illusion of governance that prioritizes investigations over actual changes and perpetuates “slow violence” against local environments and vulnerable populations.

To respond to this problem, this manuscript proposes a new paradigm I call ‘contractual deterrence.’ Contractual deterrence leverages a centuries-old theory of criminal deterrence, reinterprets it to incorporate a modern understanding of sanctions and rewards, and applies the theory to the contractual context of the modern global supply chain. Contractual deterrence is based upon three prongs: that enforcement of ethical supply chain standards must be predictably certain, equitably significant, and swiftly implementable. This manuscript explores these prongs and shows how the theory advances sustainability and human rights literatures. This manuscript also argues for a new multistakeholder theory of social responsibility that challenges western-dominated thinking and encourages a joint and equal partnership between lead firm and supplier in order to address pressing problems facing supply chains today.

The Business and Human Rights Workshop is dedicated to the development and discussion of works-in-progress and other non-published academic research. The paper will be distributed to registered participants prior to the Workshop. This event will not be recorded.

This event is sponsored by the Business and Human Rights Initiative, a partnership founded by Dodd Human Rights Impact, the UConn School of Business, and the Human Rights Institute.

Human Rights for the Next Generation

A Dedication of the Dodd Center for Human Rights

Friday, October 15, 2021 at 3:00 p.m.
UConn Storrs Campus

Artwork of The Dodd Center for Human Rights

Governor Ned Lamont and UConn President Andrew Agwunobi invite you to join President Joe Biden and Senator Chris Dodd for the dedication of The Dodd Center for Human Rights.

On October 1, 1946, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg delivered its verdict, convicting 19 Nazi leaders of conspiracy, crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Seventy-five years later, as the world faces new challenges to democracy and rule of law, we dedicate The Dodd Center for Human Rights, extending the legacy of Nuremberg for the next generation.

Watch the Livestream


National Anthem
Nadia Aguila-Steinbert ’21 MM

Land Acknowledgement
Sage Phillips ’22 (CLAS)

Rabbi Lazowski

Dr. Andrew Agwunobi

Greetings on Behalf of the State of Connecticut
Honorable Ned Lamont

Human Rights at UConn | Video

Senator Christopher J. Dodd

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro

Greetings on behalf of UConn's Board of Trustees
Board of Trustees Chairman Dan Toscano

Introduction, President of the United States
Senator Christopher J. Dodd

President Joe Biden

Closing Blessing
Rabbi Lazowski

This is a ticketed event. Due to COVID protocols, seating is extremely limited.

Questions? Please contact University Events and Conference Services at or by calling 860-486-1038.

About The Dodd Center

The Dodd Center for Human Rights honors the public service and human rights legacies of Thomas J. Dodd and Christopher J. Dodd. Beginning with Thomas Dodd’s service as executive trial counsel to the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg and carrying through to Christopher Dodd’s leadership in the drafting and adoption of the Dodd-Frank Act and the Affordable Care Act, father and son have worked to advance justice and dignity for over 60 years.

The Dodd Center for Human Rights is home to the UConn's world-class human rights research, academics, and outreach programs. Dodd Human Rights Impact, which was recently created with the support of Senator Dodd, fosters a culture of human rights at UConn, in Connecticut, and around the world. Dodd Impact is part of the Human Rights Institute which supports interdisciplinary inquiry into the most pressing human rights questions and prepares the next generation of human rights advocates across a range of fields. HRI offers an undergraduate major and minor – the largest at a public university in the United States – and a graduate certificate and Master of Arts program. HRI supports research by over 40 faculty in the fields of law, social work, education, the humanities, social sciences, fine arts, and others.

In addition to its human rights focus, the Dodd Center for Human Rights will continue to house the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life and the University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collection, further underscoring the dynamic, multidisciplinary nature of the space.

Learn More About The Dodd Center

President Bill Clinton receives an honorary degree after his address in Gampel Pavilion on the occasion of the opening of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center in October 1995. Lewis Rome, left, chairman of the Board of Trustees, presents the degree, as U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd looks on. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

History of The Dodd Center

The building was originally dedicated as Thomas J. Dodd Research Center in 1995 by President William J. Clinton and Senator Christopher J. Dodd to honor Thomas Dodd’s service as executive trial counsel in the International Military Tribunal, the first of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. In the year that followed, known as the Dodd Human Rights Year, UConn hosted an international conference examining the events surrounding the Holocaust and Nuremberg Trials and offered programming dedicated to human rights violations in Latin America, Tibet, and Cambodia, disability rights in North America, the internment of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War, and the plight of African Americans involved in the Tuskegee Study. The Dodd Year began with an address from Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and concluded with a speech from former president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev. Over the past 25 years, the building has become a center of archival research and UConn’s diverse human rights programs.

Headlines Over the Years

Bill Clinton speaks at the dedication of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

The Dodd Center: A Home for the Discussion of Human Rights


The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center was opened by incumbent President Bill Clinton 16 years ago, establishing a focal point for the study of human rights at the University and in the state.

Thomas J Dodd Nurembourgh Trials

Historic Nuremberg Papers of Sen. Thomas Dodd Go Digital


Some 50,000 pages of documents from the Nuremberg Trials will be made available to scholars from around the world.

Thomas J. Dodd speaks at the Nuremberg trials.

Reflections on the Dodd Center’s Namesake 75 Years After Landmark War Crimes Trials


Sen. Chris Dodd reflects on his father's service as a prosecutor in the Nuremburg war crimes trials 75 years after they began.

Human Rights and the Politics of Solidarity

A Conference in Honor of Wiktor Osiatyński
University of Connecticut, Storrs
April 4 – 5, 2019

The Politics of Solidarity conference banner

The commitment to solidarity in human rights practice is under attack from both external and internal threats. Externally, rising populism, nativism, and xenophobia pose significant challenges for human rights advocates seeking to make the case for universal rights. Internally, as well, human rights faces significant disillusionment and critique. And the means and methods of human rights—mobilizing shame, finding facts, seeking prosecution—appear increasingly ineffectual. Governments are shameless, the international criminal law project is feared to be failing, and even “truth” is under siege.

Drawing inspiration from the work of the late Polish scholar and human rights advocate, Wiktor Osiatyński, this conference seeks to reclaim solidarity as an affirmative agenda for responding to these external and internal threats. Osiatyński played an instrumental role in fostering civil and political rights mobilization and the democratic transition of many states in Central and Eastern Europe. His work in the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and as a board member of the Open Society Foundations had a profound impact on programs ranging from the rule of law and constitutional development to gender-based violence and health and substance use.

In celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Human Rights Institute, this conference will consider the history and origins of human rights and the ability of the movement to meet future challenges. Osiatyński worked closely with faculty and students at the University of Connecticut to help build the Human Rights Institute into one of the leading interdisciplinary programs on human rights. Towards the end of his life, Osiatyński reflected with the Institute on the meaning of Trump’s election, Brexit, inequality, and the rise of illiberal politics. Osiatyński called for human rights advocates and scholars to challenge the ascent of nationalism and fear, urging the use of new methods and means of human rights work to protect the rights of all.

Taking inspiration from Osiatyński’s words, this conference will consider the meaning of solidarity and its role in creating an affirmative agenda for responding to the challenges facing the human rights movement in the 21st century. The conference will begin with a high level discussion of current threats to solidarity in human rights work, followed by panels designed to consider these issues in historical perspective as well as addressing the particular challenges in areas such as international criminal law and economic justice.

Conference Outline


All panels on April 4th will take place in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.

9:00am-9:45am – Welcome and Opening: Recognition of Wiktor Osiatyński’s Work and Legacy

10:00am-11:15am – Opening Keynote Panel:  Solidarity and Human Rights

Human rights is under siege. Externally, rising populism, nativism, and xenophobia pose significant challenges for those making the case for universal rights. Political leaders are transforming human rights into a zero-sum game, with guarantees of rights for “others”—whether refugees, prisoners, or minorities—increasingly perceived as threats to one’s own rights. Internally, as well, the human rights movement is facing significant disillusionment and critique. Charges of its failures—its elitism, its neglect of economic inequality, its essentially political nature—seem louder than ever. This panel will consider these threats and ask what role solidarity might play in responding.


  • Adam Bodnar, Human Rights Ombudsman for Poland
  • Harsh Mander, Centre for Equity Studies
  • César Rodríguez-Garavito, Center for Law, Justice and Society (Dejusticia)
  • Kathryn Sikkink, Harvard University
  • Moderator: Kathryn Libal, University of Connecticut

11:30am-12:45pm – The Foundations of Human Rights: Law and Constitutions

Human rights is a unique kind of social justice language, one founded on legal norms that enable individuals to make claims based not only on the morality of their demands but also their legal command. At the same time, these legal claims are often unenforceable. This panel will consider the role of law and constitutions in promoting and protecting rights. Does law matter? Is the legal foundation of human rights a strength or weakness? What is the role of courts and constitutions in pushing back against rising illiberalism and authoritarianism in nations around the world? Is human rights better understood as a political discourse rather than a legal one? Can human rights law promote solidarity, even across borders? Do we need to go beyond rights-based legal claims to pursue social justice goals?


  • Phillip Ayoub, Occidental College
  • David Landau, Florida State University
  • Wayne Sandholtz, University of Southern California
  • Małgorzata Szuleka, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights
  • Moderator: Molly Land, University of Connecticut

1:00pm-1:45pm – Lunch

2:00pm-2:30pm  – Keynote Address by Aryeh Neier, President Emeritus, Open Society Foundations

2:30pm-3:45pm -Transitional Justice and Accountability After Mass Crimes

Transitional justice institutions emerged in Latin America in the 1980s as a response to widespread impunity and the perceived inadequacies of the criminal justice system. Some human rights defenders, however, continued to pursue criminal liability for perpetrators through domestic trials and new international criminal tribunals that were established in the 1990s and thereafter. For a time, the divergence in opinion on the central priorities of transitional justice institutions widened, but the debate between “reconcilers” and “retributivists” has moderated somewhat, and today there is more recognition of how institutions with different agendas might complement and coordinate with one another. At the same time, however, the universalist vision of criminal justice has faltered, as the legitimacy of the international criminal court has been challenged by inadequate resources and state defection. This panel will review the state of the field and advance a vision of how a holistic field of transitional justice might be achieved that integrates the various approaches to the central objectives of transitional justice-truth-finding, mediation, reparations and accountability and seeks to understand the respective roles of international and national institutions.


  • Rachel Lopez, Drexel University
  • Jamie Rowen, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Matiangai Sirleaf, University of Pittsburgh
  • Kimberly Theidon, Tufts University
  • Moderator: Richard A. Wilson, University of Connecticut

4:00pm-4:30pm – 21st Century Human Rights Work: A View from Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

  • Maciej Nowicki, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights
  • Małgorzata Szuleka, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights


9:00am-10:45am – Economic and Social Rights: Grappling with Inequality

Location: Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

Inequality has emerged as a flashpoint in debates on the relevance of human rights in a context of heightened populism, nativism, and authoritarianism in the 21st Century. Philip Alston recently called for the human rights community to address “the extent to which extreme inequality undermines human rights.” This panel will explore the relationship between rising levels of inequality and anti-globalization currents, and, by extension nativist backlash. How do human rights methods and tools address increased levels of inequality a national and global levels? What are human rights approaches to government spending and taxation? Is it possible to revitalize movements to advance economic and social rights in the face of austerity? How should human rights grapple with economic crises?


  • Varun Gauri, World Bank
  • Tara Melish, State University of New York, Buffalo
  • Istvan Rev, Central European University
  • Ignacio Saiz, Center for Economic and Social Rights
  • Katherine Young, Boston College
  • Moderator: Shareen Hertel, University of Connecticut Moderator:

11:00am-12:30pm – New Modes of Mobilization for Human Rights

Location: Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

The traditional means and methods of human rights—mobilizing shame, finding facts, seeking prosecution—appear increasingly ineffectual in responding to modern human rights problems. Governments are shameless and “truth” seems irrelevant or non-existent. How is human rights advocacy evolving, and responding to new challenges? Should human rights change its tactics? Are those mobilizing for human rights at national and transnational levels equipped to meet challenges? This panel will explore examples of human rights advocacy and research that are uniquely well placed to meet current challenges.


  • Gerardo Reyes Chávez, Coalition of Immokalee Workers
  • Kasia Malinowska, Open Society Foundations
  • Rashida Manjoo, University of Cape Town
  • Margaret Satterthwaite, New York University
  • Jessica Wyndham, American Association for the Advancement of Sciences
  • Moderator: Glenn Mitoma, University of Connecticut

1:00pm-3:00pm : Methodological Innovations on Human Rights

Lunchtime Breakout Sessions – Rome Commons Ballroom

This is an interactive session allowing conference participants to choose a “break out” session on methodological innovations in human rights mobilization. Human rights practitioners will give brief presentations followed by a guided discussion with attendees.

Session Topics/Presenters
  • Mobilizing the World to End Violence Against Women: The Campaign for an International Treaty
    This session offers a window into the growing movement for a stand-alone, legally-binding international treaty addressing violence against women and girls. Presenters from the global NGO “Everywoman Treaty” will discuss the movement’s origins, their group’s strategy and tactics, and the political and mobilization-related challenges ahead.
    • Charlie Clements, Everywoman Treaty
    • Lola Ibrahim, Everywoman Treaty
    • Moderator: David Richards, University of Connecticut
  • The Human Rights Measurement Initiative
    This session introduces the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI), a global collaborative project that is focused on providing human rights data useful to practitioners, researchers, journalists, and everyday people worldwide. HRMI uses a co-design process tapping the insights and needs of human rights advocates, practitioners, and researchers across disciplines and professions to produce human rights data rigorously grounded in international law and present it in a way that is readily usable and understandable for academics, policy makers, journalists, advocates on the front line and ordinary people alike.
    • Susan Randolph, University of Connecticut
  • Enhancing Human Rights Through Mediation and Peaceful Dispute Resolution
    This session will address the interrelationship of human rights, rule of law and peaceful dispute resolution. The presenter, founder of an NGO dedicated to promoting mediation and ADR worldwide, will discuss the strategies (and some of his “eye opening”experiences) to provide access by underserved populations to timely, fair and effective justice in heavily backlogged court systems.
    • Vic Schachter, Foundation for Sustainable Rule of Law Initiatives
  • Protecting Scholars at Risk and Academic Freedom
    This session introduces the protection work of Scholars at Risk (SAR), which is an independent not-for-profit hosted at New York University and global network of universities supporting scholars targeted for their work. A total of 294 attacks on higher education communities in 47 countries were reported by SAR from September 1, 2017, to August 31, 2018. As attacks on the higher education community, scholars, and academic freedom grow in number, we will discuss ways in which universities and individuals can mobilize and get involved with SAR’s work to promote academic freedom and protect scholars facing risk. 
    • Shreya Balhara, Scholars at Risk
  • Genocide Prevention in the 21st Century
    Twenty-five years after the Rwandan genocide mass atrocities continue to occur around the world. Can we ever successfully prevent atrocities? In this breakout, we will discuss contemporary efforts aimed at making atrocities prevention a reality as well as how you can get involved in advocating for legislation that would improve the US government’s ability to prevent atrocities.
    • Mike Brand, Human rights/atrocities prevention advocate

4:00pm – Performance and Closing Address 

Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

Musical performance and closing keynote talk by Mai Khoi

Closing Remarks and Reception – Thomas J. Dodd Research Center