The Institute

Through education, inquiry, and engagement, the Klau Institute seeks to be at the vanguard of innovative and principled ways to promote justice.

An Ambitious Mission

Founded in 1973 by Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., then president of the University of Notre Dame, the Klau Institute’s mission is at once both ambitious and fundamental: we seek to advance the God-given dignity of all human persons. We anchor this work in an integrative approach to civil and human rights. We aspire to provide transformative education, innovative research, and meaningful engagement with students and with the broader community.

We do this work within the Keough School of Global Affairs as part of an interdisciplinary team devoted to holistic human flourishing. Most importantly, we do this work at Notre Dame, which encourages us to explore these critical issues in the context of our rich Catholic social tradition and, ultimately, to cultivate in our students “a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good.”

From the Director

Photo of Profile Photo Mcaward

Building on the legacy of our founder, Fr. Ted Hesburgh, C.S.C., and the vision and generosity of our benefactors, Rick and Molly Klau, the Klau Institute strives to be a leader in advancing education, inquiry, and engagement on critical civil and human rights issues. The Klau Institute’s mission is to advance the God-given dignity of all people.

We pursue this mission by building support for students and faculty, and by developing a national and international profile as an institute dedicated to thoughtful research and innovative policy engagement. We are proud to have leading human rights scholars in our community, including Diane Desierto, whose work on the right to development will have a profound impact on both the theory and practice of human rights; and Zoltán Búzás, an innovative scholar tracing connections between racism, international relations, and global human rights policy.

My goal is that the Klau Institute will act as an indispensable partner at Notre Dame and beyond in promoting human dignity. We are privileged to be an integral part of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs, where our focus on justice contributes to the Keough School’s mission of promoting integral human development.

Thank you for your support of the mission and work of the Klau Institute for Civil and Human Rights. 

In Notre Dame,

Jennifer Mason McAward
Director and Associate Professor of Law