The Center

Rev. Martin Luther King and Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, Chicago

The freedom and dignity of all persons is manifest in the rich diversity of human cultures and religious beliefs of the human family. However, this freedom and dignity can be protected adequately only where human rights are honored and the rule of law prevails. The Center for Civil and Human Rights strives to build a culture of rights through legal education as part of the University'€™s commitment to living the gospel in a diverse world.


The CCHR sponsors two degree programs through Notre Dame Law School to respond to the worldwide need for advanced human rights education: a one-year Master of Laws (LL.M.) program and a multi-year Doctorate of Juridical Sciences (J.S.D.) program. These programs offer lawyers with a proven commitment to human rights the opportunity to engage in specialized study and supervised research in international human rights and comparative law. Students benefit from the interdisciplinary perspective provided by the prestigious Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the Mendoza College of Business, and other departments of the University.

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Upon completion of the LL.M. program, the CCHR funds many graduates to complete a three-to-six month human rights-related internship. Our vast alumni network assists us in placing students at top human rights institutions around the world, including the United Nations, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, and the International Commission of Jurists, among many others.

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CCHR contributes high quality research and pro bono assistance to major human rights bodies and organizations around the globe, offering much-needed expertise and thoughtful analysis.

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The Center invites leading human rights scholars and practitioners, as well as Notre Dame faculty with differing perspectives, to lecture, study, and collaborate. Programming such as The Visiting Scholars Series, Human Rights Roundtable Series, and Practitioner Series broaden and deepen our understanding of the complex human rights challenges facing the world today.

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