Wednesday January 25, 2006

United Nations Praises Human Rights Week

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights said the week "sets an example for other human rights programs at…other universities."

The University of Dayton's annual week to draw attention to human rights has received high praise from Louise Arbour, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights.

"Your Human Rights Week sets an example for other human rights programs at… other universities," Arbour wrote in a letter. "Human rights can be truly realized only if their promotion and protection start at the community level."

MacDonald will deliver the University of Dayton's Human Rights Week's keynote address at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, in the Kennedy Union ballroom. MacDonald will discuss the United States' role, as the richest and most powerful nation on Earth, in tackling poverty because "it's the right thing to do and it's in the United States' national interest." MacDonald's talk is free and open to the public.

According to the center, each year more than six million children die of hunger; every 24 hours, more than 30,000 children die from preventable diseases; and more than 120 million children will never go to school.

Sister Dorothy Stang, SND, a Dayton native who spent most of her life serving the poor and protecting the Amazon rainforest, will be honored with a memorial Mass and honorary degree at
4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, in UD's Immaculate Conception Chapel.

"She was a tireless defender of human rights and the environment," UD President Daniel J. Curran said. "She worked unflaggingly on behalf of the poor and the powerless. As a Catholic, Marianist university, we are called to carry on her mission. She is an extraordinary role model."

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1, in the Kennedy Union ballroom, a representative from Winrock International will talk about its work with people internationally to increase economic opportunity, sustain natural resources and protect the environment. It is free and open to the public.

Human Rights Week — started by UD's human rights program, the first such undergraduate program in the nation — aims to engage students in social justice issues locally and globally. It runs Jan. 29 through Feb. 3.

At 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 30, in Kennedy Union Boll Theatre, a session for UD students will discuss whether consumers, the international community or corporations have the lead responsibility in upholding human rights in the workplace. It is not open to the public.

Organizers say they want to provide everyone on campus with an understanding of human rights and how they can show support for human rights initiatives on campus and in the local community.

"Through dialogue about human rights we hope to encourage students to identify, investigate and question pre-existing social norms relating to the fulfillment of people's basic needs," said Andrea Smith-Rippeon, Human Rights Week student coordinator.

Much of that dialogue will happen in the form of student projects, panels, art displays, a cultural arts performance and student organization activities.

The following is a complete schedule of events, which are free and open to the public unless noted otherwise.

Jan. 29
4 p.m., Kennedy Union Boll Theatre: An expression of culture through dance and song.
6 p.m., Kennedy Union Boll Theatre: Student-faculty panel on racism and diversity.

Jan. 30
5–6 p.m., Kennedy Union Torch Lounge: Student presentations.
6 p.m., Kennedy Union Boll Theatre: National Issues Forum on human rights and the global economy. For UD students only.

Jan. 31
10 a.m.–4 p.m., Kennedy Union Torch Lounge: Teach-in and student research symposium.
6-10 p.m., ArtStreet: 6 p.m., art show opening; 7:30 p.m., film – "Dayton: The City of Peace;" 8 p.m., Bobbi Dillon and Josh Rauch: "Human Rights and their Role in Rebuilding War-torn Bosnia;" 8:30 p.m., Leslie Cebula: "Making The City of Peace."

Feb. 1
12 p.m., Miriam Hall atrium: "Walk the Talk." For UD students only.
5:30–6:30 p.m., Kennedy Union Torch Lounge: Student presentations.
7 p.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom: Winrock International presentation on sustainable development.

Feb. 2
4-6 p.m., Immaculate Conception Chapel: Memorial Mass and honorary degree ceremony for Sr. Dorothy Stang, SND, slain nun who protected the Amazon rain forest.
7:15 p.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom: Keynote address by Lawrence MacDonald, Center for Global Development.

Feb. 3
6 p.m., Barrett Dining Room: Dinner and career panel. Ticketed event for UD students and faculty only.
9 p.m.–9 a.m.; Miriam Hall Atrium: Student film festival, films are from the UN series
"Life-4." For UD students only.

For interviews, contact Shawn Robinson at (937) 229-3391.