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Learn about campus initiatives rooted in protecting human rights

When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations on Dec. 10, 1948, it laid out the inalienable rights all human beings have. These rights—agreed upon by countries around the world—include the freedom from discrimination, access to justice, right to education, and right to cultural, artistic, and scientific life.

Now, every year on that date, Human Rights Day serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy the declaration has had. In recognition of this, The Daily is putting a spotlight on just a few of the initiatives at Case Western Reserve University that are rooted in protecting human rights.

Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit

Success in business and people flourishing are not mutually exclusive concepts. The Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit is on a mission to prove that.

Founded at Weatherhead School of Management in 2009 with a gift from Chuck and Char Fowler, the Fowler Center builds upon an initiative that first began in 2002. Through research, outreach, collaboration, communication and advising efforts, the center proves that businesses can be profitable while promoting practices that allow humans and nature to thrive.

The Fowler Center previously served as the secretariat of the United National Global Compact, which is a strategic policy initiative that includes human rights within its principles.

David Cooperrider, Distinguished University Professor and the Fairmount Santrol – David L. Cooperrider Professor in Appreciative Inquiry, is the founder and faculty director of the Fowler Center.

Yemen Accountability Project

Through this initiative, students at the School of Law have the chance to seek justice for those who have been the victims of war crimes in the Yemeni Civil War. Based in the Cox International Law Center, the Yemen Accountability Project is a student-led effort that works with non-governmental organizations and scholars to investigate and analyze documents to uncover war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Members’ work has led to the publishing of two white papers: “Aiding and Abetting: Holding States, Corporations, and Individuals Accountable for War Crimes in Yemen” and “Starvation: Building the Case for Prosecuting Starvation Crimes in Yemen.”

Students who work on the project are volunteers, led by adviser James C. Johnson, an adjunct professor of law and director of the Henry T. King War Crimes Research Office at the law school.

Schubert Center for Child Studies

In the Schubert Center for Child Studies at the College for Arts and Sciences, researchers emphasize children’s well-being. Through research, policy, education and practice, the center brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to make an impact for children.

Some of the center’s policy activities address topics such as child welfare, educational disparities, lead-free environments, trauma-informed care, and youth and police interactions. 

To advance the mission of child-focused education, the Schubert Center oversees a minor in childhood studies. Anastasia Dimitropoulos, associate professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, leads the center.

Social Justice Institute

The team at the Social Justice Institute tackles social injustices with core beliefs of action, community involvement, education, empathetic relationships, equity, human dignity, inclusiveness and intergenerational dialogue.

The institute hosts events and offers programming to delve into and shed light on injustices and opportunities to make a difference.

Research by scholars associated with the institute covers a range of topics, including oppression, social policy, movements and change, and much more.

For students who’d like to get involved, a social justice minor and related courses are available.

Co-directors Ayesha Bell Hardaway, associate professor at the School of Law, and Mark Chupp, associate professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, lead the institute.