Class Year




Document Type


Distinguished Thesis


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department or Program

International Relations

Second Department or Program

Independent Scholar

First Advisor

Louis Lombardi

Second Advisor

Rui Zhu

Third Advisor

James Marquardt


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights entails the understanding of universality and suggests a worldwide scope of its legitimacy. The concept of human rights as outlined in the UDHR, increasingly proves to be pragmatically challenging in today’s 21st century globalized world, particularly in the light of emerging Eastern powers, such as China. I am arguing that the political framework is not enough to support a universal justification for human rights and the legitimacy of the UDHR. Therefore, as an alternative, I am providing a constructive framework that is independent from cultural and sociopolitical influences. The main purpose here is to solve the intellectual challenges concerning the fundamental basis for human rights in order to strengthening the universal validity of the UDHR. This is a moral justification for universal human rights that attempts to bridge the divide between Western and Eastern traditions on the idea of human dignity, in ways that will ultimately provide for a better foundation to solve difficult human rights issues in practice.

Available for download on Sunday, April 26, 2020