IWU to Host Human Rights Workshop and Conference

Feb. 16, 2015     

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan University will host its third annual Human Rights Undergraduate Workshop and Student Research Conference Feb. 27-28. This year’s theme is “Human Rights and Free Expression” and will feature public lectures in State Farm Hall from a Scholar at Risk and an expert on hate speech and free expression.  

Students and faculty from Luther College and Macalester College will join IWU students and faculty at the workshop, which is sponsored by the Center for Human Rights and Social Justice. The conference sessions are open to students of all majors; please email Professor Irv Epstein to register for the free sessions.

John K. Wilson from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) will present “Hate Speech and the Limits of Free Expression” Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. Wilson is the co-editor of AAUP’s Academe Blog and editor of Illinois Academe, a publication of the Illinois conference of AAUP.

 Keynote speaker Semahagn Gashu Abebe is a Scholar at Risk from Ethiopia. Abebe will deliver the keynote address entitled “ The Implications of Anti-terrorism Laws on Freedom of Expression in Sub-Saharan Africa” on Feb. 28 at 12:45 p.m. Currently Abebe is a visiting assistant professor at the Human Rights Institute of the University of Connecticut. He received master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Goettingen, Germany.

The workshop will include films, roundtable discussions and student research presentations. IWU student presentations include: “Voices of Gaza” by Jennifer Oswald ’15; “The Clash between Freedom of Expression and Culture” by Kemi Adeleye ’15;  “Youth Engagement and Human Rights Through Case Studies” by Nicole Jovicevic  ’16; “Your Story Matters: An Adaptation Theatre Piece with the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal” by Sarah Menke ’15; “On the Global Water Crisis” by Mike Dickinson ’15; and an untitled presentation on media by Joe Ruskey ’15.

The workshop is sponsored by IWU’s Center for Human Rights and Social Justice with funding secured from the Re-Centering the Humanities grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

By Mallika Kavadi ’15