Monday February 2, 2009

Is Free Really Fair?

Doug Dirks will discuss the fair trade movement to create a world where all people have viable economic options to meet their needs and alleviate poverty. The government's role in quality of life also will be among the discussion topics during Human Rights Week.

Is free really fair? Is it better to allow individuals to claim their own personal rights to basic necessities, or should governments enforce policies to ensure rights to a better quality of life and economic and political participation? What happens when these governments that are supposed to protect people's rights become corrupt?

University of Dayton students will examine these questions during Human Rights Week Feb. 1-7. They aim to educate the University and Dayton community about these issues and the United Nations’ Millennium Goals.

The following Human Rights Week events are free and open to the public:

7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, Kennedy Union ballroom: Doug Dirks, a proponent of fair trade in North American markets, will discuss the movement to create a world where all people have viable economic options to meet their needs and alleviate poverty. Dirks is on the board of the directors of the Fair Trade Federation, which works to expand trade practices that value the labor and dignity of all people.

7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6, Kennedy Union Barrett Dining Room: Anyone interested in a career in human rights can listen to professionals talk about the field. Tickets are limited and available through the Kennedy Union box office at 937-229-3333. Panelists include Bonnie Parish of the Family Service Administration; Megan Ware, a University of Dayton human rights program graduate who works as an executive assistant for the National Religious Campaign Against Torture; Casa Amiga director Maria Messer and human rights attorney Terrance Miller, who has monitored elections in Chile.

During both events, Ten Thousand Villages, a network of social entrepreneurs working to empower and provide economic opportunities to artisans in developing countries, will hold a fair-trade sale in the Kennedy Union Torch Lounge. Items for sale include handcrafts from around the world. Shoppers also can treat themselves to fair-trade gourmet coffee and chocolate.

Human Rights Week is a student-organized event. It receives support from the University of Dayton human rights program, which is housed within the department of political science. E-mail more information about UD Human Rights Week events.

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at 937-229-3391 or