New leadership builds on Hesburgh legacy

Author: Kevin Fye

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Scott Appleby, Marilyn Keough Dean of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs, has announced the appointment of Jennifer Mason McAward as director of The Center for Civil and Human Rights. Professor McAward has served as acting director at CCHR for the past year.

An associate professor of law at Notre Dame Law School specializing in civil rights, McAward’s appointment promises to extend the Center’s founding vision as a center of engagement, analysis, and education around current civil and human rights challenges. “I am deeply honored to be the next director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights,” says McAward. “When Fr. Ted Hesburgh founded the CCHR in 1973, he stated that the Center would be an ‘intellectual resource’ that would ‘bring new leadership and creativity to the task’ of advancing civil and human rights. I am excited to build on the CCHR’s longstanding commitment to educating human rights lawyers and I am humbled to have the opportunity to advance this important part of Fr. Ted’s vision and legacy.”

Prof. McAward assumes leadership at CCHR at a critical juncture. As an integral part of Notre Dame’s new Keough School of Global Affairs, the Center will make a significant contribution to the mission of the school by engaging a wide range of global human rights research topics. The Center will also promote research and education on domestic civil rights issues within the Keough School community and the broader university community.

McAward is also committed to recruiting world-class civil and human rights scholars to join the Keough School faculty. Sean O’Brien, director of the LL.M. Program in International Human Rights Law, explains the implications of such a commitment. "The LL.M. program already benefits from one of the most extensive and diverse sets of human rights courses offered at a U.S. law school,” he notes. “In addition to her own teaching in the area of civil rights, Prof. McAward's charge to recruit interdisciplinary human rights faculty at Notre Dame will ensure that our graduates study both the legal processes that pertain to the pursuit of human rights as well as the social, economic, and political contexts in which human rights are violated, protected, and promoted."

Plans for the upcoming year include both broad strategic planning and programming focused on current civil and human rights issues. “This is an exciting time to recommit ourselves to advancing the CCHR’s mission to promote human dignity through research and education,” says McAward.