Waterbury Hosts Business and Human Rights Lecture Series

An exterior view of the Waterbury Campus. (UConn photo)
An exterior view of the Waterbury Campus. (UConn photo)

Former Timex executive Bob Werner will be the keynote speaker during the second of a three-part lecture series on business and human rights, hosted at the UConn Waterbury campus.

Werner will speak about “Business and Human Rights: The View from the Field” from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. March 13, in Room 113 of the main building at the campus at 99 East Main Street in Waterbury.

The series will conclude on April 10, when Deborah Leipziger, a senior fellow in social innovation at Babson College, will present, “Human Rights and Business: Creating a Lexicon and Blueprint for Transformation.”

The series is made possible by a gift from the David and Joan Reed Faculty Fellowship, which this year awarded the honor to Shareen Hertel, a professor of political science, member of the steering committee for the UConn Business & Human Rights Institute, and a human rights advocate. Hertel used the award, one of the top teaching honors bestowed on UConn faculty, to create the lecture series.

“Every day, each of us makes scores of decisions about what to eat, wear and use—yet we don’t often have the chance to stop and reflect on who made those products or how our consumption choices affect the environment and the broader world around us,” said Hertel.

The lecture series titled “Politics and Human Rights in Global Supply Chains” gives students and faculty the chance to hear from experts who have grappled with managing global supply chains for decades, she said.

“Their insights can help better understand the challenges at hand and the choices we can make for good,” she said.

“This lecture series offers a unique opportunity to draw students and community members directly into the dialogue with leading experts on business and human rights,” she said. She said it is appropriate that it is hosted at UConn’s Waterbury campus, “in a city that has experienced some of the most dynamic and challenging aspects of the globalization of business over the past century.”

The first speaker in the series was Mark Nordstrom, the former senior counsel of labor and employment law at GE, who spoke about “Respect for Human Rights: An Imperative that Makes Good Business Sense” on Feb. 20.

“The Reed Faculty Fellowship Lecture Series is part of an expanding conversation in Connecticut about the social responsibility of business,” said Stephen Park, professor of business law and Satell Fellow in Corporate Social Responsibility, who also serves as director of the Business and Human Rights Initiative at UConn. “The speakers exemplify the range of ways that companies seek to respect human rights, showing both the value of this goal and the challenges in fulfilling it.”

The series is sponsored by UConn’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), the UConn Waterbury Administration and the UConn Center of Excellence for Teaching.

Fiona de Merrell, director of the OLLI program at UConn Waterbury, said the lecture series not only addresses a relevant and exciting topic but also highlights excellence in teaching, educational outreach and a commitment to creative and vibrant learning experiences.

“Professor Hertel continues to raise the bar in terms of the positive and powerful impact Reed Fellows can have in Waterbury and across the university,” she said.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information or to register for the programs, please call 203-236-9924 or email osher@uconn.edu.