Devoted to the theme of human rights, the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center honors Thomas Dodd's service as Executive Trial Counsel in the International Military Tribunal, the first of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. Ground was originally broken on the Center in 1993, and the finished building was dedicated by President William J. Clinton on October 15, 1995. Senator Christopher J. Dodd played a crucial role in the Center's development and continues today to support the Center's efforts and programming.
The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center first recognized Dodd's work through a program entitled Fifty Years after Nuremberg: Human Rights and the Rule of Law, which brought to the University of Connecticut campus all the living prosecutors from the tribunal. This was followed by a programmatic focus on human rights, including visits from human rights luminaries such as Madeleine Albright, Oscar Arias and Elie Wiesel.
Since 1996, the Dodd Center has hosted the Raymond & Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture Series, designed to bring internationally renowned speakers to the University of Connecticut campus to discuss human rights issues. The most recent Sackler Lecture was delivered by Prof. John Ruggie, United Nations Special Representative for Business and Human Rights.
The Dodd Center also seeks to advance human rights education in Connecticut public schools through its K-12 initiative, support the scholarly use of the Thomas J. Dodd Papers, through its International Justice Research Fellowship, and recognize leaders in the advancement of human rights worldwide through the Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights. Among the recipients of the prize are individuals such as Louise Arbour, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Justice Richard J. Goldstone of the Constitutional Court of South Africa; Bertie Ahern, Prime Minister of Ireland; and Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and organizations such as Mental Disability Rights International, the Center for Justice & Accountability, The Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Center for Justice & International Law. The most recent winner is the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre.
The facility houses three major departments which further enrich the University's focus in human rights. They include the University Libraries Archives & Special Collections, the Center for Judaic Studies & Contemporary Jewish Life and the Human Rights Institute.