Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Human Rights

Our Mission

The mission of the Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Human Rights is to provide space and resources for students and faculty of Soka University of America to engage in inquiry, research, and constructive dialogue related to race, ethnicity, human rights, and their intersections.

Our Values

Racial and ethnic discrimination are commonly embedded in legal, economic, and social institutions in countries across the world of the 21st century. In many instances, discrimination is a consequence of a history of slavery, colonialism, or ethnocentrism. In others, the origins of present-day discrimination predate the colonial experience, or are the product of religious belief systems. Whatever the context, institutionalized racism and personal prejudice remain significant obstacles to the full realization of the inherent dignity of all human beings, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent UN Conventions.


Whatever the context, institutionalized racism and personal prejudice remain significant obstacles to the full realization of the inherent dignity of all human beings.

Further implementing the university’s mission and the commitment of its founder, Daisaku Ikeda, to global citizenship, respect for human diversity, equality, and human rights, Soka University of America (SUA) established the Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Human Rights (REHR) in 2020. In so doing, SUA also acknowledges the efforts of its student affinity groups in promoting a greater degree of diversity and inclusion in university life.

The REHR Center, led by co-chairs and Professors Ian Read and Kevin Moncrief, is currently staffed by SUA Faculty and Student Fellows, as well as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Professor Hortense Spillers of Vanderbilt University.

Immediate priorities include, but are not limited to:

  • The collaborative development of new courses related to issues of race, ethnicity and human rights
  • Guest lectures and expert programming
  • Assisting in the search for a Presidential hire of a Professor of Black Studies
  • Assisting in the development of academic programming that focuses on issues of race and ethnicity

Video: Discussing Afropessimism with Dr. Hortense J. Spillers 

Poster promoting Dr. Spillers' talk
Full video: Hortense J. Spillers and Lewis R. Gordon discuss Afropessimism, one of the leading paradigms of thought in contemporary Africa-American inquiry

Video: Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.—A Conversation

Poster promoting MLK discussion
Full video: Ambassador Andrew J. Young and Dr. Hortense J. Spillers, honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Our Team

The Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Human Rights seeks to fulfill its mission with a world-class team of faculty and student Fellows. Fellows serve two-year terms.

Our Courses

During their fellowship, Center faculty develop courses that draw on their expertise and the needs of their areas and programs.