The UCLA School of Law received a $20 million donation to form a new human rights institute, officials announced Monday.
Jennifer Mnookin, dean of the UCLA School of Law, said UCLA’s impact on the fight for human rights will improve with the new institute. She added the donation is the largest the law school has received to launch an institute.
Asli Bâli, the inaugural faculty director of the new institute and a law professor at UCLA, said her own educational system in Turkey denied the Armenian genocide. She added that she only learned the truth when she trained to become a human rights lawyer.
“I feel an immense commitment to the training of students and future advocates to address precisely these kinds of histories as they unfold in the tragic reality of contemporary human rights,” Bâli added.
Eric Esrailian, co-producer of “The Promise” and a faculty member at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, helped direct the contribution to the new institute.
“Having such an institute in a public institution is important,” Esrailian said. “It gives me a lot of joy knowing that such an institute will help those who don’t have access to legal advice or those who have the desire to study.”
Esrailian also said he hopes the institute serves as a hub for human rights activity for the country.
“Moving into the future means education, an institution of higher learning like UCLA,” he added. “An internationally respected public university is a perfect place to have a place for human rights.”
The institute will help the law school offer more courses in human rights studies, enhance hands-on programs in human rights law and policy and bring human rights scholars to the UCLA School of Law as faculty members and guest speakers, among other goals.
Bill Kisliuk, UCLA School of Law spokesperson, said the institute plans to start its work in the 2017-2018 academic year.