Events

Rwanda’s Restorative Journey: Living Alongside Your Enemy

Tuesday, January 24, 2023
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Konover Auditorium
The Dodd Center for Human Rights 

About This Event:

Three days into the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi, Carl and Teresa Wilkens made the heart wrenching decision that she would take their young children to safety, and he would stay at their home in Kigali and try to help. Neither had any idea that during the next 100 days more than a million people would be slaughtered, often by their neighbors.

Through the sharing of first-hand accounts of the catastrophic 1994 genocide and the country’s rebuilding journey that followed, Carl will discuss restorative justice and practices and engage us in guided conversations about what those practices mean today, particularly in the realm of rebuilding trust.

Join Us:

This event is in-person only in the Konover Auditorium of The Dodd Center for Human Rights. All are welcome!
Register Here.

It is co-sponsored by UConn Global Affairs, the Center for Judaic Studies & Contemporary Jewish Life, and Dodd Human Rights Impact.

About Carl Wilkens

As a humanitarian aid worker, Carl Wilkens was one of two Americans who refused to leave Rwanda as thousands of expatriates and UN soldiers fled the country in the face of what is now known as the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi. Working together with Rwandan colleagues they brought food, water, and medicine to orphans trapped around the city.

These days Wilkens travels around the globe using the transformative process of storytelling and restorative practices to explore topics such as polarization, harmful conflict, and belonging. He is the Co-founder and Director of World Outside My Shoes.

"I'm Not Leaving"

In advance of the event, we encourage you to watch the 40-minute documentary, I'm Not Leaving, available in full & free on YouTube.

This 40-minute documentary shares snapshots of the genocide through the eyes of Carl and his wife Teresa along with: Gasigwa, a courageous Rwandan colleague whose home became a safe-house, Laura from the US Embassy who wrestled with Washington, DC to not abandon their mission, and Phil, one of the handful of UN peacekeepers who volunteered to stay in Rwanda and were tenuously hanging on to save lives. Their gut-wrenching choices and unexpected alliances formed during the 100 days of slaughter leave us with a surprising sense of hope and agency.

If you require an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact humanrights@uconn.edu.

Exhibition Closing Reception: Madeline Baird on ‘Embodied Borders’

Wednesday, February 1, 2023
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Dodd Lounge
The Dodd Center for Human Rights 

About This Event:

We welcome you to join us for a closing reception to celebrate and discuss the most recent exhibition in the hall of The Dodd Center for Human Rights with the photographer. Madeline Baird's 'Embodied Borders' reveals the human toll of the exportation of U.S. border enforcement through a series of captivating photographs.

Madeline Baird is a PhD student in Anthropology at UConn. Prior to enrolling at UConn, Madeline earned an MSc from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and worked for a decade supporting public health program design and community-based research. Her current research employs ethnographic methods to explore constructions of health inequity, human rights, and healing in Latin America.

Join Us:

This event is in-person only in the lounge of The Dodd Center for Human Rights.

Light snacks & refreshments will be served.

No registration is necessary. All are welcome!

About the Exhibition:

In recent decades, the extension of U.S. immigration and border enforcement policies to countries in Central America increasingly pressures migrant populations seeking refuge in the U.S. to travel the most remote and dangerous passages to the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2022, more than 200,000 migrants traversed the Darien Gap known to be one of the most dangerous sections of the journey through Central America. This series of photographs documents the embodied impact of the exportation of U.S. border enforcement 2,500 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border for migrants in transit through Panama.

If you require an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact humanrights@uconn.edu.

Human Rights Graduate Research Forum

February 8, March 8, & April 12, 2023
2:00pm - 3:30pm
The Dodd Center for Human Rights Lounge

About the Forum:

The Human Rights Graduate Research Forum provides an opportunity for graduate students in any discipline or school doing human rights-related work to receive feedback from peers and faculty in an informal and supportive environment. These forums occur once per month during the academic year. Each session is split between the student researcher's presentation and time reserved for questions and feedback.

We welcome graduate students and faculty from any discipline or school to attend. UConn graduate students doing human rights-related work are encouraged to sign up to discuss their work in a future forum.

 

Join us!

This series will be hosted in-person. We kindly ask that you register to attend.

All sessions will take place in the lounge of The Dodd Center for Human Rights.

Sessions

Global Labor Rights Enforcement in Small and Medium-Sized Textile Firms
Wednesday, February 8, 2023 | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Imge Akaslan

SMEs, enterprises that have 10 to 250 employees, account for two-thirds of all jobs worldwide, yet this significant segment of the global supply chain is heavily under-researched in contemporary scholarship on labor rights and policy approaches to labor rights protection often overlook their unique challenges. Through the in-depth study of SMEs in the Turkish textile industry, this project both advances our understanding of how small enterprises function, and also identifies new actors which influence variation in the enforcement of labor rights standards. Omitting SMEs as an entity leads to underestimation of some subset of actors’ role on enforcement of labor rights. Therefore, one of the main goals of this dissertation is to understand how intermediary actors influence the translation of labor rights norms into labor rights standards. By understanding the incentives of possible translators, we can then shape those incentives to influence the behavior of those translators and potentially improve labor standards in global supply chains. Ultimately, my findings will inform policy dialogues and advocacy efforts aimed at enhancing the human dignity of workers in global supply chains, no matter the size of the firm in which they work.

About Imge Akaslan

Imge AkaslanImge Akaslan is a PhD candidate at the University of Connecticut, Political Science Department. Her dissertation research examines the variation in the enforcement of labor standards in small and medium-sized enterprises and identifies new actors which influence the enforcement of labor standards in global supply chains.  Imge holds a BS in global and international affairs from Middle East Technical University (Turkey) and an MA in political science from Binghamton University (SUNY).

The Electric Vehicle Revolution: From a Human Rights Angle
Wednesday, March 8, 2023 | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Francesco Rouhana

Electric vehicles (EVs) have evolved rapidly owing to technological advancements and a growing interest in renewable energy to eliminate transportation’s dependency on fossil fuels and mitigate the effects of climate change. While EVs could revolutionize the transportation industry, they could jeopardize social equity and environmental stewardship efforts. Current studies on transportation electrification often fail to evaluate the EV revolution implications in human rights terms. International human rights law provides universally accepted norms, standards, baseline indicators, and modes of inquiry and reporting that could significantly advance and sharpen impact analysis. In this study, we explored the potential human rights implications that EVs pose for individuals and societies throughout their life cycle. Using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights-based treaties as our baseline, we analyzed the existing and likely EVs’ impacts on human rights. We identified potential measures to address human rights violations. Stakeholders (governments, private sectors, civil society) need to work closely together to make the transition to low-carbon transportation more equitable and sustainable.

 

About Francesco Rouhana

Francesco Rouhana is a Ph.D. student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Connecticut. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a master’s degree in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Transportation and Urban Planning from Notre Dame University – Louaize, Beirut, Lebanon. His research interests include the resilience of civil infrastructure systems, disaster risk reduction, response, and recovery.

 

Exclusion and Embrace: Secondary Refugee Students and A Pedagogy of Belonging 
Wednesday, April 12, 2023 | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Sara Harvel

America has an identity problem. People in America experience degrees of political, social, and economic rights that affect the extent to which they feel included or excluded from the nation. Social and racial hierarchies exist in part because of our settler colonial history, immigration policies, and our narrow perception of who can be American. The problem of exclusion in America is highlighted in how people perceive refugees. Historically, policies and practices communicate a hierarchy of acceptance to refugees that complicates the degree to which they experience membership and belonging. This is especially true for refugee secondary students in public schools.
 
To refugee secondary students, schools are sites of socialization where they learn cultural norms while establishing a sense of personal identity in a new environment. To refugee secondary students, schools are structures, composed of individual people, that either extend membership or not. These schools can either reproduce social injustices and maintain status quo or push against structural inequities and promote belonging. Research has shown that peer acceptance is one of the most important factors contributing to refugee student sense of belonging. However, many students do not know how to interact with people who are different from themselves. Society needs students to interact and extend belonging to one another across differences, and schools need to teach students how to do it. This study explores the relationship between curriculum, instruction, and community in order to promote a pedagogy of belonging as measured by membership, relationship, and skills. Ultimately, this study may contribute to an analysis of school communities and the varying purposes of education. I also hope to contribute to conversations about migration and education.

About Sara Harvel

Sara HarvelSara Harvel is a doctoral candidate in the School of Education. Her focus is on Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on social studies education and human rights. She taught internationally in Qingdao, China for several years and also did NGO work on the Thai-Myanmar border, focusing on child advocacy and social entrepreneurship. Sara is a graduate assistant with the Neag School of Education and with Dodd Impact. She is interested in human rights education, refugee and immigrant school experiences, teacher education, and school communities.

Grit & Grace: The Fight for the American Dream

Monday, February 13, 2023
4:30 pm - 7:15 pm

Gen Re Auditorium
UConn Stamford 

About This Event:

Grit & Grace: The Fight for the American Dream is a groundbreaking documentary-style film produced by the 117th Congress's House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth and directed by Oscar Guerra, Associate Professor of Digital Media & Design at UConn Stamford. Narrated by EMMY® award-winning actress Sarah Jessica Parker, this first-of-its-kind movie features three true stories from across the country of what it means to find economic security in America, as well as the diverse paths people are taking to get there. 

The event will begin with a reception and remarks by UConn President Radenka Maric, former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd, U.S. Representative Jim Himes, and Grit & Grace director Oscar Guerra. A full screening of the film will follow. After, community leaders from across Connecticut will join Representative Himes for a panel discussion and Q&A.

Join Us!

All are welcome! Registration is required.
This event is in-person only.

All attendees are encouraged to join us for a pre-screening reception, the Grit & Grace screening, and a post-show discussion at UConn Stamford.

This event was made possible by Dodd Human Rights Impact, the Department of Digital Media & Design, and UConn Stamford.

About Our Panelists

Jim Himes represents Connecticut’s 4th District in the United States House of Representatives. Jim was born in Lima, Peru, and moved to the United States with his mother and sisters at the age of 10. He worked extensively in the business and non-profit worlds before entering public service. He now lives in Cos Cob, Greenwich with his wife Mary and enjoys (not frequent enough) visits from his daughters Emma and Linley. As a member of Congress, Jim works hard to provide all American children the same opportunities he had to succeed: access to a first-rate public school, affordable and effective health care, a decent and safe home, and a supportive community.
Chris Dodd represented Connecticut in the United States Congress for 36 years – three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and five terms in the U.S. Senate. Senator Dodd was a widely respected legislator and a key participant in nearly every major national policy debate over his four decades of public service. He authored or co-authored major legislation in the areas of education, health, financial services, foreign policy, and election reform.
Marc Jaffe is the CEO of the Children's Learning Centers of Fairfield County. As the second largest early childhood education provider in Connecticut, CLC has been a leader in developing and implementing high-quality and affordable early childhood education and care programs since 1902. Marc came to the nonprofit sector after serving for more than twenty-five years as a senior publishing, licensing and technology executive where he honed strong management, strategic-planning and cross-platform business development skills.
Ivonne Zucco serves as the People and Culture Director of Building One Community, a Stamford-based nonprofit organization with the mission to advance the successful integration of immigrants and their families through education, employment, empowerment, and engaging the entire community.
Natalie Coard is the Executive Director of Charter Oak Communities. Charter Oak Communities (COC) is a progressive housing authority for the City of Stamford, Connecticut that is redefining assisted public housing through unique and comprehensive partnerships, creative funding models, and astute business practices coupled with a far-reaching vision. COC’s core functions include expanding affordable housing opportunities and promoting residents’ socioeconomic progress and growth. 
Fran Pastore is a devoted catalyst of women’s economic equity and the founder and CEO of the Women’s Business Development Council. The mission of the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) is to support economic prosperity for women and strengthen communities through entrepreneurial and financial education services that create and grow sustainable jobs and businesses across Connecticut.

About the Film’s Director

Oscar Guerra is an Emmy® award-winning director, researcher, and educator. He is an Associate Professor of Film and Video at the University of Connecticut and a producer at PBS FRONTLINE. Dr. Guerra’s focus is storytelling which promotes critical thinking and social investment. He aims to produce media that provides a way for underrepresented groups to share and disseminate counterstories, contradict dominant and potentially stereotypical narratives, and strengthen their voices and identities. Dr. Guerra’s career spans the spectrum of television environments, music, multimedia production, documentaries for social change, promotional videos, immersive media, and vast international experience.

Visitor Information:

Parking information for visitors to the UConn Stamford campus can be found here: UConn Stamford Parking.

Schedule:

4:30 - 5:30 pm: Doors Open & Reception
5:45 pm: Opening Remarks and Introduction
6:00 pm: Screening of Documentary
6:30 - 7:15 pm: Panel Discussion

Unable to join us?

The full documentary is available free online.

Grit & Grace Film Trailer:

Read the Report:

Commissioned by the former House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, Grit & Grace is a documentary illustrating the economic challenges facing American communities at a personal level. It is a groundbreaking companion to the detailed final report from the Committee, which set out to study solutions to address America’s growing prosperity gap at the national level.

Their findings and recommendations have been organized into a final report, Bridging the Divide: Building an Economy that Works for All, available below.

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If you require an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact humanrights@uconn.edu.

A Source of Escalation or a Source of Restraint? Whether and How Civil Society Affects Mass Killings

Tuesday, February 7, 2023
2:00pm - 3:30pm
Hybrid Event
Dodd Center for Human Rights - Room 162 & Zoom

About This Event

In this Human Rights Research and Data Hub Workshop, Dr. Evan Perkoski will present his research on state-led mass killings. Why do some state-led mass killings end quickly while others endure for over a decade? And why do some states murder millions of constituents during the course of mass killings, whereas other states seem to retreat from the brink after killing hundreds? A large body of work has focused on the important role played by civil society and non-governmental actors in initiating different forms of rescue, evasion, and assistance in the midst of different cases of mass killings, as well as the political pressure they have applied in bringing about the ends of civil conflicts. Despite many inspiring and hopeful cases of collective action under systems of intense repression, other research finds civil society can accelerate or exacerbate mass killings. In this paper, we test some basic mechanisms that emerge from the literature on the connection between civil society and mass killings, and we find that a complex albeit meaningful relationship exists. We find that, in general, a relatively participatory and autonomous civil society is correlated with shorter mass killings. However, we also find that active civil societies are associated with higher rates of lethality, particularly when those civil society sectors exist in highly unequal polities. Because most mass killings are relatively short, our findings suggest that civil societies in states with uneven access to power are more commonly correlated with longer, deadlier spells of government violence. This conclusion seemingly supports the view of civil society skeptics, at least in highly unequal contexts where mass killings have already begun.

Join Us!

This event will take place in-person
in The Dodd Center for Human Rights.

It will likewise be available online
on Zoom. Please register regardless
of the modality you plan to join.

Presenter

Evan Perkoski
Assistant Professor
University of Connecticut
Department of Political Science

About Evan Perkoski

Evan Perkoski is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut, and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Krulak Center for Innovation and Future Warfare at the Marine Corps University.

He  studies issues relating to terrorism, insurgency, and violent and nonviolent uprisings. In his book project, he explores the fragmentation of militant organizations (like Al Qaeda) and the conduct and survivability of breakaway splinter groups (like the Islamic State). Some of his other work looks at the onset of mass killings in popular uprisings, the logic of covert and clandestine cyber operations, and how cooperation and competition influence the behavior of militant groups. His research generally leverages new data and quantitative methods to understand political violence.

This event is sponsored by the Human Rights Research and Data Hub (HuRRD) at the Human Rights Institute. The Hub seeks to advance human rights research at UConn by supporting faculty and student projects and providing students the opportunity to develop research and data analysis skills that will advance their careers after graduation.

Civic Engagement: Our Collective Responsibility to Participate in Democracy

Thursday, December 8, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Konover Auditorium
The Dodd Center for Human Rights 

About This Event:

In a time of unprecedented partisanship and political divisiveness, what role do we all as individuals play in fostering/cultivating a robust democracy with respect for human rights? Join us to consider these and other questions about the central role of civic engagement in the United States today. 

Opening remarks will be delivered by former Senator Chris Dodd. Special guest Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut will be joining us from Washington. Professor and President Emeritus Susan Herbst will serve as moderator.

This discussion is made possible by Travelers.

At Capacity

Thank you for your interest in joining us! We have unfortunately reached the seating capacity for the room. If you would still like to still attend, we will happily accept walk-ins for any remaining available seats when the event begins.

About Christopher J. Dodd:

Christopher J. Dodd represented Connecticut in the United States Congress for 36 years – three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and five terms in the U.S. Senate. Senator Dodd was a widely respected legislator and a key participant in nearly every major national policy debate over his four decades of public service. He authored or co-authored major legislation in the areas of education, health, financial services, foreign policy, and election reform.

About Chris Murphy:

Chris Murphy, United States Senator for Connecticut, has dedicated his career to public service as an advocate for Connecticut families. Senator Murphy has been a strong voice in the Senate fighting for affordable health care, sensible gun laws and a forward-looking foreign policy. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, he has been an outspoken proponent of diplomacy, international human rights and the need for clear-eyed American leadership abroad. Murphy currently serves as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism.

 

About Susan Herbst:

Susan Herbst is Professor of Political Science and UConn President Emeritus.  She is author of many books and articles about public opinion, media and American democracy.  Her recent book, A Troubled Birth:  The 1930s and American Public Opinion (University of Chicago Press, 2021) explores our sustained struggle to understand the nature and role of popular sentiment in the United States.

If you require an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact humanrights@uconn.edu.

Community Dialogue on Solar Energy & Electro-Mobility: Opportunities & Challenges for a Just Energy Transition in Connecticut

Wednesday, February 1, 2023
12:00 pm - 1
:30 pm
In Person and Online
Heritage Room - Homer Babbidge Library

About This Event:

Clean energy has become one of the key strategies to mitigate and reduce the effects of climate change, reduce oil dependency, improve the quality of our environment, and reduce household expenses on energy. However, the benefits from energy production and distribution have not been equally experienced by all communities. And the negative social and environmental consequences have not been equally shouldered. The clean energy transition may be an opportunity to redress some of those inequalities.

Please join us for an event aimed at fostering dialogue among community representatives, researchers, and policymakers interested in the equity implications of solar energy and electric mobility. Together, we’ll explore the sustainability and human rights challenges and opportunities that the clean energy revolution might bring to these sectors. We’ll focus, in particular, on the situation of historically underserved communities in Connecticut.

Faculty members from the University of Connecticut’s School of Engineering and Human Rights Institute will share their research and all participants will engage in active discussion. In-person and hybrid options for participation are available.

Join us!

This accessible event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

The event will be hosted in the Heritage Room (Level 4 of the Homer Babbidge Libary), as well as online through Zoom.

About The Engineering For Human Rights Initiative

A collaborative venture between the Human Rights Institute and UConn’s School of Engineering, the Engineering for Human Rights initiative is focused on making human rights an integral component of effective engineering practice. We are teaching tomorrow's engineers risk management, climate resiliency, life-cycle analysis, and impact assessment. Our faculty specialize in research key to advancing human health, environmental sustainability, and industrial competitiveness. Together, we are focused on safeguarding people and nature, while advancing innovation.

If you require an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact humanrights@uconn.edu.

Human Rights Close to Home Youth Summit

January 11, 2023
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
In Person - UConn Storrs

About the Youth Summit

We're pleased to announce the second annual Human Rights Close to Home Youth Summit! This one-day summit is designed by youth for youth and convenes young activists and allies from around Connecticut to learn and mobilize as a community. It will take place on January 11, 2023 at the University of Connecticut Storrs Campus.

The Youth Summit is part of Human Rights Close to Home (HRCH), which is an innovative three-year pilot program that aims to promote rights-based civic engagement by youth through human rights education.

We are offering Connecticut students an opportunity to participate in the Youth Summit, a major event within the Human Rights Close to Home initiative. This Youth Summit is created and led by the Human Rights Close to Home Youth Advisory team. This is a one-day educational space for young activists and allies from around CT to come together as a community.

In May 2022, we succeeded in gathering students from a diverse range of Connecticut high schools for an engaging day of hands-on workshops and guest speakers. Our goal was to provide powerful learning experiences that would enable and encourage attendees to take action for human rights back in their school communities. 

Throughout the Youth Summit, students and educators will participate in workshops designed by youth and will interact with a wide range of speakers, from fellow youth activists to professional human rights advocates.

At this time, the Youth Summit is open only to Connecticut high school students and teachers. Please direct any questions to the HRCH Youth Advisory Team coordinators Chris Buckley, Sian Charles-Harris, and Jake Skrzypiec.

Students & Teachers – Register Now!

Interested in attending the HRCH Youth Summit? Register here by Monday, December 5, 2022.

If you are an educator and are in need of transportation assistance we are happy to help.
Please contact our Youth Advisory Team Coordinators for assistance: Chris Buckley, Sian Charles-Harris, and Jake Skrzypiec.

Call for Student Proposals

Students who would like to present should visit the Call for Presentation Proposals form and view the  Youth Summit Presentation Proposal Guide.

Students creating demonstration signs & art in a hands-on workshop

Students creating demonstration signs & art in a hands-on workshop

Denise Merrill (Fm. CT Secretary of State), Terra Volpe (CT Against Gun Violence), Leila Affini (Manchester youth leader), speaking on female empowerment panel

Denise Merrill (Fm. CT Secretary of State), Terra Volpe (CT Against Gun Violence), Leila Affini (Manchester youth leader), speaking on female empowerment panel

Students from across Connecticut gathering together for keynote speaker

Students from across Connecticut gathering together for the keynote speaker

HRCH Youth Advisory Team

Lilly Coleman, Manchester High School
Kevin Maysonet, Manchester High School
Quinn Hope, E.O. Smith High School
Lysa-Raye Mccaw, Bloomfield High School
Skylar Mattice, Brookfield High School
Mac Rodriguez, Brookfield High School
Shirin Unvala-Brien McMahon, Center for Global Studies High School

HRCH Youth Advisory Team Coordinators

Chris Buckley, Brookfield High School
Sian Charles-Harris, UCONN Neag School of Education 
Jake Skrzypiec, Manchester High School

Human Rights Close to Home (HRCH) engages educators and youth in the development and implementation of human rights education for civic action. We empower teachers with the knowledge, skills, values, and relationships to become expert human rights and civics educators. We foster youth leadership through experiential learning opportunities that have a direct impact on our youth and their communities. 

Human Rights Close to Home is a program of Dodd Impact, a part of the Human Rights Institute at UConn.