Middlebury

International human rights to be the focus of symposium Nov. 1-13

October 26, 2007

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? Middlebury College will present a student-organized symposium titled "Faces Behind Human Rights" with events running from Thursday, Nov. 1, through Tuesday, Nov. 13. Organized by the student group Amnesty International at Middlebury College, the symposium will include lectures by prominent scholars and activists, a panel discussion, art exhibit, theatre performance and film screening. All events are open to the public and free, except for the theatre production for which there is a $1 charge.

"Next year will be the 60th anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights and we wanted to ask what the term 'human rights' really means," said Saila Huusko, a Middlebury College sophomore and one of the symposium organizers. "We hope that by bringing people to campus who have dedicated their lives to defending the rights of others around the world, we may bring more clarity to the subject."

Artist William Ayton's exhibit
"Universal Declaration of Human Rights-
30 Articles" will open at the college
library on Nov. 1. Above: Article 5,
acrylic on canvas.

The symposium begins Thursday, Nov. 1, with an exhibit of paintings titled "Universal Declaration of Human Rights - 30 Articles" by artist William Ayton at the Middlebury College Library, located on Storrs Avenue, off College Street (Route 125). Later that evening, a theatre performance titled "Manifesto for Another World: Voices from Beyond the Dark" will open at Hepburn Zoo, located in Hepburn Hall on Hepburn Road, off College Street (Route 125). Written by Ariel Dorfman and directed by Middlebury College sophomore Nerina Cocchi, performances will take place on Thursday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 2, at 8 and 11 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 3, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $1 and may be purchased at the McCullough Student Center Box Office, by calling 802-443-6433 or online at: http://www.middlebury.edu/arts.

On Monday, Nov. 5, Jordanian journalist Rana Husseini will give a keynote address titled "From Crimes of Honor to Empowerment: Women in Islam" at 7:30 p.m. in Mead

Keynote speaker Raina Husseini is
a reporter for The Jordan Times.

Chapel, located on Hepburn Road, off College Street (Route 125). As a Jordanian female journalist writing for The Jordan Times, Husseini focused on social issues with an emphasis on violence against women as well as the brutal crimes committed against Jordanian women in the name of family honor. Her many international awards include the 2004 Marie Claire Women of the World award for bringing attention to honor crimes against women in Jordan and the 2000 Human Rights Watch award for reporting on violence against women.

There will be a preview screening of the new documentary film "Peace Has No Borders" on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 4:30 p.m. in the Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room, located on Hillcrest Road, off College Street (Route 125). The film's director, Deborah Ellis, assistant professor of film studies at the University of Vermont, will introduce the film.

On Thursday, Nov. 8, at 12:30 p.m. Alex Pial, a Sudanese refugee and now member of the Burlington-based New Sudan Education Initiative, will discuss education as a human right. Drawing on his experiences in a Kenyan refugee camp, Pial will describe how human rights policy shapes the education of refugees, how the international human rights agenda shapes the resettlement process in the United States, and how the diasporic Sudanese are working to rebuild their war-torn country through education. The lecture is titled "Refugees and human rights: A firsthand account of life in refugee camps and resettlement in Vermont" and will take place in the Gifford Annex lounge in Gifford Hall, located on College Street (Route 125).

On Thursday evening at 9 p.m. a group of Middlebury College international students will share their perspectives on human rights around the globe. Senior Htar Htar Yu of Burma and first-year students Saheena Rasheed of Maldives; Alhaji Jalloh of Sierra Leone; and Shabana Basij-Rasikh of Afghanistan will participate in this open conversation at Ross Commons, in the Fireplace Lounge, located on College Street (Route 125).

Middlebury College sophomore Nerina Cocchi will lead a theatre workshop titled "Theatre of the Oppressed" on Saturday, Nov. 10, beginning at 4:30 p.m. in Room 221 of the Kevin P. Mahaney '84 Center for the Arts, located on South Main Street (Route 30).

Hannah Wu, program planner for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, will give a lecture on human rights titled "The Official Perspective" at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, at the Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room, located on Hillcrest Road, off College Street (Route 125).

Vietnamese dissident and democracy
activist Doan Viet Hoat will speak
about human rights activism.

The symposium will wrap up with a keynote address by Doan Viet Hoat on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 4:30 p.m. in Dana Auditorium of the Sunderland Language Center, located on College Street (Route 125). Hoat is a Vietnamese dissident who spent 20 years in prison for criticizing the government. He has received several awards for his work, including the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in 1995 and the Golden Pen Award from the World Association of Newspapers in 1998.

All events are open to the public and free, except for the theatre production for which there is a $1 charge. For more information, contact student organizers Saila Huusko at shuusko@middlebury.edu, Rowan Braybrook at rbraybro@middlebury.edu or Prerna Seth at pseth@middlebury.edu or call 802-443-5198.

To follow is a schedule of symposium events:

2007 Student Symposium
Faces Behind Human Rights Nov. 1-13

Thursday, Nov. 1
Art exhibit: "Universal Declaration of Human Rights - 30 Articles"
By artist William Ayton
Middlebury College Library, Storrs Avenue, off College Street (Route 125)

8 p.m. Theatre Performance
"Manifesto for Another World: Voices from Beyond the Dark"
Written by Ariel Dorfman and directed by Middlebury College sophomore Nerina Cocchi.  Additional performances on Friday, Nov. 2, at 8 and 11 p.m., and on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 8 p.m. For tickets, visit the McCullough Student Center Box Office, call 802-443-6433 or buy online at: http://www.middlebury.edu/arts.
Hepburn Zoo, located in Hepburn Hall on Hepburn Road, off College Street (Route 125)

Monday, Nov. 5
7:30 p.m. Keynote Address
"From Crimes of Honor to Empowerment: Women in Islam"
Rana Husseini, journalist for The Jordan Times, has won numerous international awards for her reporting on violence against women in Jordan.
Mead Chapel, located on Hepburn Road, off College Street (Route 125)

Wednesday, Nov. 7
4:30 p.m. Film Screening
"Peace Has No Borders"
Introduced by the film's director, Deborah Ellis, Assistant Professor of Film Studies at the University of Vermont
Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room, located on Hillcrest Road, off College Street (Route 125)

Thursday, Nov. 8
12:30 p.m. Lecture and Discussion
"Refugees and human rights: A firsthand account of life in refugee camps and resettlement in Vermont"
Alex Pial, Sudanese refugee and now member of the Burlington-based New Sudan Education Initiative, will discuss education as a human right. Drawing on his experiences in a Kenyan refugee camp, Pial will describe how human rights policy shapes the education of refugees, how the international human rights agenda shapes the resettlement process in the United States, and how the diasporic Sudanese are working to rebuild their war-torn country through education.
Gifford Annex Lounge, located in Gifford Hall on College Street (Route 125)

9 p.m. Panel Discussion
"Where I Grew Up: Student Perspectives on Human Rights"
Drawing on personal experience, a group of Middlebury College international students will share their perspectives on human rights in a casual conversational setting. Speakers include Htar Htar Yu of Burma; Saheena Rasheed of Maldives; Alhaji Jalloh of Sierra Leone; and Shabana Basij-Rasikh of Afghanistan.
Ross Commons, Fireplace Lounge, located on College Street (Route 125)

Saturday, Nov. 10
4:30 p.m. Theatre Workshop
"Theatre of the Oppressed"
Conducted by Nerina Cocchi, Middlebury College sophomore
Room 221 of the Kevin P. Mahaney '84 Center for the Arts, located on South Main Street (Route 30)

Monday, Nov. 12
4:30 p.m. Lecture
"Human Rights: The Official Perspective"
Hannah Wu, Program Planner for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room, located on Hillcrest Road, off College Street (Route 125)

Tuesday, Nov. 13
4:30 p.m. Keynote Address

 "Human Rights Activism: How it Enhances One's Life"
Doan Viet Hoat, a Vietnamese dissident who spent 20 years in prison for criticizing the government. Hoat is the recipient of numerous international awards for his efforts to bring democracy to Vietnam.
Dana Auditorium, located in the Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125)

All events are open to the public and free, except for the theatre production for which there is a $1 charge. For more information, contact student organizers Saila Huusko at shuusko@middlebury.edu, Rowan Braybrook at rbraybro@middlebury.edu or Prerna Seth at pseth@middlebury.edu or call 802-443-5198.