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Higher Education and Human Rights Symposium

Universities and colleges are institutions with significant influence and power in their communities, nationally and worldwide, and thus play  a vital role in ensuring respect for and promotion of human rights. Fifty years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution,” in which he highlighted land grant colleges as a tool of systemic discrimination, we ask: What can colleges and universities do to advance human rights? What should they do? What must they do?

Speakers will address issues many academic institutions are now tackling: protecting scientific and academic freedom on globally connected campuses; supporting the diaspora of scientists, engineers, and health professionals displaced by conflict; prioritizing community  involvement in scientific research that addresses local human rights concerns; providing equal and inclusive access to STEM education and careers; ensuring that academic governance structures protect human rights on campus; and understanding, acknowledging, and addressing universities’ legacies of slavery and oppression. We will examine these  issues through the human rights principles of access, participation, informed consent, and justice.

Speakers will include:

  • Shirley Malcom, Director, Education and Human Resources Programs, AAAS
  • Mustafa Bahran, Visiting Professor, Carleton University
  • Marcia Chatelain, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies, Georgetown University
  • Karen Horting, Executive Director and CEO, Society of Women Engineers
  • Jonathan Lazar, Professor of Computer and Information Sciences, Towson University
  • Bethany Letiecq, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Science, George Mason University
  • Alexis McKenney, HU Resist, Howard University
  • Arelis Palacios, Associate Director for Undocumented Student Services, Georgetown University
  • Jeffrey H. Toney, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Kean University

View the agenda and register to attend