The Human Rights Program creates space for dialogue between the University community and the wider world, through conferences, film series, and visits to campus by prominent human rights activists and scholars, including a number of University alumni. Programs for visitors have included the Activist Fellows Roundtable, a three year cycle of meetings with senior activists from the U.S., Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala, as well as extended visits by distinguished human rights scholars and practitioners.
Since 1998, the Program has sponsored annual spring conferences on international and domestic human rights issues including detention, torture, and post-conflict reconciliation, as well as on the practice of human rights and the teaching of human rights in liberal education. The Program also sponsors an annual film series, supported by the Division of the Humanities, in cooperation with other campus organizations including the Franke Institute for the Humanities, DOC Films, and the Center for Cinema and Media Studies.
Throughout the academic year, the Program sponsors many student-initiated human rights educational events on a wide range of topics, often in conjunction with interested student organizations. Human Rights Program staff and students also speak on human rights topics at local high schools and other universities and to community organizations and activist groups.
Seeing Human Rights
Seeing Human Rights is an ongoing series designed to help U of C students
integrate the visual arts with their study of human rights. We encourage
critical consideration of contemporary human rights issues such as
representation, voice, marginality, and empowerment. The series is supported
by the University of Chicago Human Rights Program, the Arts Council, and the
Franke Institute for the Humanities.
Robert H. Kirschner, M.D., Memorial Human Rights Lecture Series
This lecture series honors the life and work of Robert H. Kirschner, M.D., noted forensic pathologist and a founder of the University of Chicago Human Rights Program.
Robert H. Kirschner, M.D., 1940-2002
An internationally recognized authority on forensic pathology, human rights violations, police brutality, torture and child abuse and an outspoken opponent of the death penalty, Robert H. Kirschner, M.D., a clinical associate in the department of pathology and pediatrics and a founding member of the faculty board of the human rights program at the University of Chicago, died at the University of Chicago Hospitals on September 15, 2002.
Richard & Ann Silver Pozen Visiting Professor in Human Rights
Justice Albie Sachs at the U of C Winter 2010
Justice Albie Sachs was the first Richard & Ann Silver Pozen Visiting Professor in Human Rights at the University of Chicago during Winter Quarter 2010. He taught a five-week course in the College (syllabus) and presented a public lecture series (flier), based on his new book about his work with theConstitutional Court, Reason and Passion: The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law, (Oxford University Press, 2009) Justice Sachs' career in human rights activism started at the age of seventeen, when as a law student in Cape Town, he took part in the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign. The bulk of his work at the Cape Bar involved defending people charged under racist statutes and repressive security laws. After going into exile in 1966, he spent eleven years in England and eleven years in Mozambique as law professor and legal researcher. In 1988 he was blown up by a bomb placed in his car in Maputo by South African security agents, losing an arm and the sight of an eye. During the 1980s he helped draft the ANC's Code of Conduct and statutes. In 1990 he returned home and as a member of the Constitutional Committee and the National Executive of the ANC took an active part in the negotiations which led to South Africa becoming a constitutional democracy. After the first democratic election in 1994 he was appointed by President Nelson Mandela to serve on the newly established Constitutional Court, from which he retired this fall.