Over the past months, the University of Minnesota-Antioquia Human Rights Partnership has been working on the issue of forced resettlement in Antioquia, Colombia. Legal clinics operating in Medellín and supported by the Partnership have worked with victims who have been forcibly relocated, often as a result of armed conflict. In particular, the clinics have targeted the Colombian state's failure to adopt legislative and administrative measures aimed at protecting the rights of those affected by resettlement. After submitting a petition to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) at the end of 2014, the Partnership has recently learned that they will be granted a hearing in Washington DC on March 19th, 2015.
On February 9, the Minnesota International Relations Colloquium hosted a discussion with Séverine Autesserre, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Columbia University, about her recently published book, Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and Everyday Politics of International Intervention (Cambridge University Press, 2014). While Dr. Autesserre specializes in international relations and African studies, her current research examines how everyday elements influence peacebuilding interventions on the ground.
Images of violence have become a constant in international discourse. Videotaped beheadings are used to manipulate outrage. Advocates of global action against the violence in Syria try to raise the stakes with a provocative photo of children in a cage.In the midst of this global debate played out in images, the Holocaust, Genocide and Mass Violence workshop considered the question, what role should photographs of violence play in our own pedagogy? Do photographs assist our understanding of the violence that often at the core of our work or do they just provoke emotions that cloud and confuse our analytical understanding of human rights violations?
This international symposium will examine the dynamics of public remembrance in post-communist Europe as it reaches beyond the role of legal tribunals, truth commissions, official apologies, lustration and reparations and into less formal forms of memory, including museums, film and television series, and visual art. The highlight of the symposium is the keynote address by John-Paul Himka, Professor of History and Classics, University of Alberta. Professor Himka will discuss recent political, social and cultural developments that have facilitated a more nuanced understanding of the complexities and discontinuities in representations of the Holocaust and the role that memory plays in contemporary discussions of national identity in Eastern Europe.
On 29 December 2014, the StarTribune published the following article in its Op-Ed section:
Urban and economic planners increasingly speak about "clusters" of industries driving, and even defining, a region. Think Silicon Valley or the burgeoning med-tech industry thriving in multiple Minnesota communities. The same concept seems to be in effect locally regarding advancing global human rights. The latest indication is the recently announced collaboration between the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Human Rights Watch (HRW), an independent, international organization that documents human rights conditions and presses for "positive and sustainable change."
The University of Minnesota and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs are excited to host Meriem El Haitami and Dr. Rachid Touhtou from Morocco as visiting scholars for the 2015 Spring term. As recipients of the Andrew Carnegie Centennial Fellowship in Support of Visiting Scholars in the Social Sciences from Arab Universities, they will work with Humphrey School Professor James Ron on human rights issues specific to their interest.
The Human Rights Program talks to the two scholars about their work at the Humphrey School, their research interests, and how they see their time at the University contribute to their work. Here are excerpts from the interview:
The University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the Human Rights Program, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Human Rights Center, and the Program in Human Rights and Health will work with renowned international human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) to evaluate the organization's research and advocacy work. The collaboration is made possible through the structure of a Capstone project conducted by graduate students enrolled in their final semester in the Humphrey School and other programs including the Human Rights Program.
On November 13, the University of Minnesota hosted a screening of the film "Soft Vengeance" followed by a discussion with filmmaker Abby Ginzberg . The event was part of the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change distinguished lecture series. The documentary focused on the life of jurist and activist, Albie Sachs and South Africa's fight against the apartheid regime. At a young age of 17, Albie Sachs attempted to start a movement by purposely sitting on a non-white bench.
As part of the 25th Anniversary celebrations of the Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Global Change, the University of Minnesota hosted a panel discussion titled "Social Justice and Global Change: The University's Role" on November 14. The discussion focused on the University's role in effecting social justice and positive change in the world. The panel was chaired by Raymond Duvall, Professor of Political Science and ICGC Affiliate Faculty, University of Minnesota and included prominent speakers like August Nimtz, Professor of Political Science and ICGC Affiliate Faculty, University of Minnesota, Naomi Scheman, Professor of Philosophy and Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies and ICGC Affiliate Faculty, University of Minnesota, Barbara Frey, Director, Human Rights Program and ICGC Affiliate Faculty, University of Minnesota and Suren Pillay, Associate Professor, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape.
On October 8, the University of Minnesota hosted Combatants for Peace as part of a series of events to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Members of Combatants for Peace work towards building peace and understanding between Palestinians and Israelis by breaking the cycle of violence. During the event, the speakers shared their stories of what led them to pursue nonviolent means and reach an understanding between the two sides.