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.
The Human Rights Program is thrilled to announce Christie Nicoson as the recipient of the 2015 Rotary Peace Fellowship. Christie is the Program and Operations Director at World Without Genocide, a human rights organization headquartered at William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota. She is one of fifty individuals selected this year from around the world for a fully funded academic scholarship. Christie will start her master's degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden in fall of 2015.
As part of its ongoing "Thursdays at 4" series, the Institute for Advanced Studies, in collaboration with the Human Rights Program, held a panel discussion titled "Cracks in the Wall: 25 Years After Berlin" on November 6. In light of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the panel discussion brought to the fore possible ways to animate the ruptures of divided groups.
Speakers Matthias Rothe of the German, Scandinavian, and Dutch Department; Chen Alon and Sulaiman al-Khatib of Combatants of Peace; and Mona Smith, a Dakota Multimedia Artist, were able to highlight the unique efforts that help provide a new perspective and forms of memory surrounding the events of the Berlin Wall, the Israel/Palestine division, and the US/Mexico Border.
Although a number of initiatives spearheaded by international organizations like the UN and UNESCO to promote gender equality in education have seen some success, the overall state of gender equality and education rights in the world remains deplorable. With women constituting nearly two-thirds of the world's illiterate population, a world with equal access to education for women remains a distant dream. The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Malala Yousafzai, an impassioned teenager from the Swat Valley in Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi, a child rights advocate from the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, therefore, has immense potential to shape the future of gender and education rights in the coming years.
Today, freely available multi-drug therapy has ensured that leprosy does not pose a serious public health concern. However, the stigmatization of millions of people affected by the disease remains largely unaddressed. This work was taken up by the United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the early 2000s. Their work led to the adoption of Resolution A/RES/65/215 by the UN General Assembly in 2010 which outlined the "Principles and Guidelines for the Elimination of Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy and Their Family Members". It was followed by the Nippon Foundation's initiative in 2011 to disseminate the Principles and Guidelines throughout the world.
On October 22, the Twin Cities community and the University of Minnesota students, faculty, and staff spent the afternoon listening to Fran Quigley, a clinical professor of law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, and a specialist in human rights advocacy. Using his book, How Human Rights Can Build Haiti: The Lawyers, the Activists, and the Grassroots Movement, as a framework for discussion, Quigley educated and engaged his audience on the Haitian cholera epidemic and its implications with respect to human rights.
The Human Rights Program is excited to welcome a new Student Advisory Board. As a diverse cohort committed to human rights practice and scholarship, it will coordinate a number of human-rights activities and events on campus. In addition to providing direction to the staff, the members will also assist in disseminating human rights scholarship in the graduate and undergraduate student community thereby enhancing the educational experience for all. Here's a snapshot of the Student Advisory Board member profiles.