A Message from the Director
Greetings! Welcome to the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights. Please take a moment to look through the extensive volume of teaching, scholarship, and service our center provides to the local community, the state of Iowa, the United States, and the world. For example, our signature Human Rights Index keeps readers of the Iowa Review and visitors to our website current on human rights issues. Our endeavor in researching global climate change represents an innovative, multidisciplinary approach to the social and scientific aspects of this pressing issue. Also, you may wish to explore the myriad reading groups the Center hosts on the campus of the University of Iowa. Although the Center excels in its work through the generous volunteerism of students and interns, your donations to our growing program keep the vitality of the Center thriving and help to maintain these high standards of human rights teaching, scholarship, and service.
As a center within a world-class, international institution such as the University of Iowa, we engage the university’s diverse community and the broader public in considering the profound dimensions of human rights in our lives. As noted by eminent constitutional scholar John Patrick, “Human rights belong to every person by virtue of common and equal membership in the human species.”
For more information on how to participate in the Center, contact Liz Crooks or Amy Weismann at 319-335-3900, and please continue to visit our website.
Greg Hamot, Director
Affiliated with the University of Iowa's International Programs , the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) has as its mission the promotion and protection of human rights at home and abroad through distinguished multidisciplinary leadership in human rights research, education, and public service to The University of Iowa, its surrounding communities, the State of Iowa, and beyond. To this end, it attends to all categories of human rights, including "first generation" civil and political rights, but gives special attention to "second generation" economic, social, and cultural rights and "third generation" community or group rights.
The UICHR is guided by the basic tenets of a free society to which The University of Iowa is committed. In fulfilling its mission, it therefore continuously revisits even the most fundamental aspects of human rights, treating human rights not as a corpus of fixed thought and action, but as a set of assumptions and choices that are open to constant rethinking because of ever-evolving ideas, conditions, and needs.
Following this approach, the UICHR:
- Engages in a diverse array of research, teaching, and other activities that are designed to highlight and consider, constructively and critically, the problems and prospects of human rights worldwide;
- Nurtures trans-disciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration that seeks, among other things, to integrate artistic and literary viewpoints with legal, political, and socioeconomic human rights discourse;
- Encourages the active participation of faculty, students, and others both within and beyond the UI campus in the conception and execution of its diverse activities; and
- Shares information with both human rights specialists and the general public about its activities and about human rights issues and developments generally.
Through the support of its Friends, the UICHR also awards prizes for human rights scholarship to deserving students. The UICHR makes a self-conscious effort to involve students in its activities and to reach out to local citizens and citizen groups not officially affiliated with The University of Iowa to facilitate its mission.
Finally, believing that the broad dissemination of human rights information is central to the advancement of human dignity, the UICHR makes every effort to report human rights news and views and to respond to informational inquiries and requests from its neighbors near and far.
In 1999, the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights, organized by Professor Burns H. Weston , Professor Rex Honey, and Dorothy M. Paul, grew from the programming efforts of Global Focus: Human Rights '98, initiated and led by Professor Weston during 1998-99 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948. Global Focus: Human Rights '98 took place mainly during the 1998-99 academic year. It represented the culmination of many years of work to advance the teaching and advocacy of human rights at the University of Iowa. The cross-disciplinary program featured speakers such as Nobel Laureates Rigoberta Menchú Tum, José Ramos-Horta, Archibishop Desmond Tutu, Lech Walesa, and Elie Weisel; also other prominent figures, including Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng, photojournalist Dith Pran, and legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin.