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Academic conference planned as Dodd Year program continues (Released: 4/4/96)

by Mark J. Roy, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- With the flourish of a visit by President Clinton, the University of Connecticut's introspective look at human rights and the rule of law opened last October with an examination of the past.

This October, the year of introspection will close with a look to the future, said Henry Krisch, professor of political science and co-chair of the Dodd Year Academic Committee.

An international and interdisciplinary academic conference will serve as the bookend to a year that began with the dedication of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. During the intervening months, programs sponsored by many of UConn's academic departments, cultural centers and area studies programs will have sponsored a wide variety of lectures, discussions, exhibits and arts events.

"This program has touched virtually every school and college of the University, working together to showcase issues as well as the depth of scholarly interest and expertise at UConn," Krisch said.

Major events in the coming weeks include lectures by linguist Noam Chomsky of MIT (April 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom) and sociologist Herbert Gans (April 17 in Storrs and April 18 at the School of Social Work in West Hartford). In May, the Dodd Research Center will be the site of the annual environmental youth awards program of the Albert Schweitzer Institute.

But what is consuming much of Krisch's time at the half way point in this year of introspection is preparation for the conference. There will be three major themes:

  • Legal innovations established to deal with violations of human rights, like the United Nations' ad hoc tribunal which has investigated crimes against humanity in Bosnia, and those prospective legal innovations, such as the permanent tribunal proposed by President Clinton in his Gampel Pavilion address during the dedication ceremonies last October;
  • How countries have dealt with human rights violations in their own recent past, including Germany, nations in Latin America and countries of the former Soviet Union; and
  • Ethical and philosophical reflections on human rights.

The first theme, legal innovations, will be examined in the opening sessions of the conference Friday, Oct. 18 at the School of Law in Hartford. Hugh Macgill, law school dean and co-chair of the academic committee with Krisch, and Mark Janis, professor of law, are coordinating arrangements for these sessions.

The other themes will be examined in sessions over the next two days on the Storrs campus, including a closing convocation on Sunday, Oct. 20 which, Krisch said, "will serve as a formal end to the Dodd Year Program."

Speakers and presenters for the sessions will be announced in the coming months, Krisch said.

There will be a registration fee for those who attend the conference, but some sessions will be open to the public as well, he added.

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