The Human Rights Program celebrated its 15th Anniversary with a special program for our alumni over Alumni Weekend, June 6 - 8, 2013. With the support of our donors Richard & Ann Pozen, the Human Rights Program offered travel support to young alumni from across the country. Some 30 alumni, veterans of the Human Rights internships and Human Rights Minors, came to campus to see each other, meet current Human Rights students, and critique the Program.
The weekend started with the annual Robert H. Kirschner, MD, Memorial Lecture on Thursday evening, delivered this year by Aryeh Neier, President Emeritus of the Open Society Foundations, founding President of Human Rights Watch, and former Executive Director of the ACLU. At the Kirschner Lecture, the Human Rights Program recognized winners of the 2013 Human Rights Ignacio Martin Baro writing awards as well as graduate students who received Pozen research grants. Human Rights Minors graduating in June were applauded by the audience. A capacity crowd of over 350 alumni, students, and Chicago area residents heard Neier's lecture, "What has the International Human Rights Movement Accomplished"? After the lecture, audience members chatted over a reception supported by the Dr. Robert Kirschner Fund. Following the reception, Human Rights faculty, donors, and alumni gathered for a dinner with Neier at a neighborhood restaurant, hosted by Dr. Barbara Kirschner.
On Friday, June 7, twenty alumni and current students participated in a discussion of how to improve networking and communication among alumni and with the Human Rights Program. Plans for improved communication include an annual report to alumni and more contact between current students and recent alumni, using social media and listservs as a starting point.
Saturday events included a brunch in the garden at Susan Gzesh's home attended by over 70 alumni, current students, family, and friends. Current students and alumni from different classes met for the first time - and old friends had a chance to catch up. In the afternoon, five alumni participated on an official Alumni Reunion "UnCommon Core" panel, reflecting on their experience with and after the Human Rights Program.
The Human Rights Program also taped Alumni Voices interviews, asking participants to reflect on their experience as Human Rights Interns and how it impacted their post-Chicago career and education.
A special thanks to all who participated in a wonderful weekend of celebrating 15 years of the Human Rights Program. We look to forward to seeing what our faculty, staff, students, and alumni explore and accomplish over the next 15 years!