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Want to Support Human Rights and Law School? Go to the Movies

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. | Last updated on

If you're looking to make an impact, however small, on human rights and legal education, consider checking out "The Promise" this weekend. The film, which stars Christian Bale and debuts on Friday, tells the tale of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, which saw as many as 1.5 million Armenians massacred.

You won't just be watching a movie, though. You'll be helping support UCLA law school's new Promise Institute for Human Rights. The institute will be funded by $20 million in proceeds from the film and will dedicate itself to research and advocacy on genocide and human rights.

Expanding UCLA's Role in Human Rights Advocacy

The Promise Institute at the UCLA School of Law will "serve as a national hub for human rights education and advocacy," according to the school.

"In so many corners of the campus, our faculty and students are focused on identifying and addressing the conditions that create social unrest, displacement and injustice," UCLA Chancellor Gene Block announced. "The Promise Institute will become UCLA's center for collaboration in this area and will greatly enhance our ability to serve a global leadership role."

The institute will help expand UCLA Law's offerings on human rights studies, as well as improve its existing programs in human rights law and policy. As part of its work, the Promise Institute will bring together human rights scholars and practitioners through fellowships, symposia, and other events.

"We Will Bring Light Into the World"

The move to create the institute was spearheaded by Dr. Eric Esrailian, the lead producer of the film and a faculty member at the university -- but not in its law school. When not producing, Esrailian works as the co-chief of the UCLA med school's Division of Digestive Diseases.

"The Promise Institute is so named because UCLA and the UCLA School of Law are making a commitment to keep the promise to the victims of human rights abuses," Dr. Esrailian said, "that we will create the tools and train people of integrity and talent to address these crises. Out of the darkness of the Armenian genocide and our film, we will bring light into the world to help people who need it today."

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