President Carter’s 1977 Notre Dame Commencement Address in the History of Human Rights


On May 22, 1977, President Jimmy Carter delivered a commencement address at Notre Dame that became a defining moment for the international human rights movement.

Samuel Moyn, professor of history at Columbia University, historian and the author of The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History, will place the speech against the background of human rights history as a whole, asking what its place was and what difference it made. He will focus in particular on the place of Catholicism and the University of Notre Dame in the origins of the idea of human rights.

The event will include viewing of video of President Carter’s address, reception, and book signing at Notre Dame.

Co-Sponsors: Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Center for Social Concerns, Center for Civil and Human Rights, Department of Political Science, Department of History, Ford Program in Human Development Studies & Solidarity, Jacques Maritain Center

Prof. Kommers’ introductory remarks are available here.

Prof. Moyn’s presentation is available here.

President Carter’s commencement address is available here.