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  August 27, 2001

Fall Semester Dedicated to Human Rights Issues

More than three dozen human rights-related activities will take place at the University this fall as part of a Human Rights Semester.

Designated by Chancellor John D. Petersen, the semester's activities are intended to underscore the importance of human rights and to inform and engage members of the University community and interested members of the public about this critical topic. During a series of lectures, programs and conferences, UConn faculty, staff, students and members of the community will have the opportunity to learn about and discuss human rights throughout the world.

"As an academic community, we have a responsibility to discuss issues that affect not only those of us on campus, but those fundamental issues that impact people living in our state, our nation, and our world," Petersen says. "Human rights issues must be discussed in an open forum, whether the topic is racial discrimination, voting rights, or wartime torture and rape."

Dozens of lectures, exhibits and symposia will take place on all UConn's campuses during the Human Rights Semester, beginning this week.

Major events include a lecture Sept. 20 on human rights and the culture wars by Rhoda Howard-Hassmann, Gladstein Visiting Professor of Human Rights and a sociology professor at McMaster University in Canada; a lecture Oct. 4 by Lani Guinier, whose nomination for assistant attorney general was withdrawn by President Bill Clinton after critics branded her a "quota queen"; a talk by Randall Robinson, author of the book, The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks, on Nov. 6; a UConn Law School symposium titled Global Aids Crisis: The Intersection of Human Rights, International Markets, and Intellectual Property, on Dec. 3; and museum exhibits on rescuers of the Holocaust, Cambodia's killing fields and sculptures by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz.

Also in the fall, the UConn-African National Congress Partnership will host its second annual comparative human rights conference, an all-day event on the topic Education for Human Rights: Global Perspectives. The conference will take place on Oct. 16.

Through a variety of programs, such as the partnership with the ANC and a linkage with the University of Fort Hare in South Africa, the University has made a significant commitment to studying and advancing human rights.

Other human rights activities at UConn include the Gladstein Lecture, which brings a distinguished human rights scholar to campus each year. In addition, a human rights minor - an interdepartmen tal, interdisciplinary plan of study in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, requiring 12 classroom credits and a three-credit internship - has been established.

"The University has clearly made enormous strides in establishing human rights as an important part of both our public and our academic programs. The Human Rights Semester will offer us another opportunity to discuss and share these important issues with students, faculty, staff and interested citizens," says Petersen. "I hope everyone in the University community will join me in attending events that will illuminate these issues."

A full calendar of Human Rights Semester events is available online. Events will also be publicized in future issues of the Advance.

Allison Thompson

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