By Jillian Carson, Program Coordinator, ISHR
On Thursday October 3rd, the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR), the Blinken European Institute and the Harriman Institute hosted Stavros Lambrinidis, the European Union’s first appointed Special Representative for Human Rights at Columbia University.
Mr. Lambrinidis is an attorney who served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece. He also previously held the post of Vice-President of the European Parliament, and from 2004 to 2009, served as Vice-President of the Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee. Mr. Lambrinidis graduated from Yale Law School and, early in his career, served as Chairman of the Committee for Human Rights in the Bar Association of Washington, D.C.. Mr. Lambrinidis took office on September 1, 2012 and his mandate will run until June 2014. He and the EU delegation to the United Nations visited New York for the opening of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly.
Challenges in Human Rights and Foreign Policy
By Amy Sall, graduate student of human rights at Columbia University
On September 17th, The Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR) hosted their annual Fall Reception where human rights advocates, scholars, and students gathered to welcome the new school year. Hosted on the top floor of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), the backdrop of the New York City skyline was a befitting scene for the diverse crowd of current and future human rights practitioners. The attendees included incoming and returning human rights students and professors from across Columbia, as well as scholars and fellows at the ISHR.
The reception was a great way to meet students, professors, human rights advocates and fellows. Hedayt Selim, a first-year student from Cairo in the Master of Arts in Human Rights Studies program, was among many of the guests attending the ISHR Fall Reception. “It’s a great opportunity to branch out and meet professors and fellow students that you wouldn’t otherwise meet."...
By Janine White, Program Coordinator for the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University
From May 23-28, 2013, I participated in the Most Mira-Humanity in Action (HIA) International Exchange. Most Mira (Bridge of Peace) is a peacebuilding NGO in northern Bosnia, and its founder, Kemal Pervanic, was a 2012 participant ISHR’s Human Rights Advocates Program. HIA is a human rights education NGO based in the US and with offices in several European countries, including Bosnia. Through this project, HIA Senior Fellows supported Most Mira’s annual youth arts festival, involving children in a drama program that culminated in a rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. During the 5-day festival, Senior Fellows and Most Mira staff, along with other experts in this field, also came together to discuss the challenges and opportunities that this local NGO faces within the current political context in post-conflict Bosnia.
This blog post, previously published here, is a summary of my impressions and reflections from this...
By Megan Baker, student at Columbia College
On May 24, 2013, the Foro Internacional de Mujeres Indigenas (International Indigenous Women’s Forum), or FIMI, honored two indigenous women, an elder and a youth, with the 2013 FIMI Leadership Award at the “Honoring Indigenous Women’s Visions and Creativity” awards ceremony held at Deutsches Haus at Columbia University. The awards ceremony was hosted by the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR) Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Program in partnership with FIMI. This award marked these women’s demonstrated exceptional leadership and the impact they have had in their communities, countries and at the international level defending and advocating for human rights.
The first to be honored was Myrna Cunningham, an indigenous Miskita woman from the community of Waspam in Nicaragua. Ms. Cunningham began her career as a primary education teacher, but left her community to study medicine and surgery. She became the first female Miskita doctor and worked for the Ministry of Public Health, but following...
In the spring of 2012, a group of Columbia undergraduate students took part in the Alternative Spring Break Program for Columbians Vested in Global Exchange for Positive Development. The GEQUA program offered students the opportunity to engage in a local gender equality project with Fundación Brethern y Unida, one of the oldest NGOs in Ecuador, which focuses on educating youth about sustainable development and the environment.
ISHR helped support select undergraduate students to participate in this program. Below, two of these students, Jessica Eaton and Christian Hubbard, reflect on their experience, and consider how their time in the field has altered their understanding of human rights and the environment.
Indigenous Rights, Women's Rights and Organic Farming: Lessons learned in the back of a pick-up truck
By Christian Hubbard
Prior to going to Ecuador, if you would have asked me what corn and human rights have to do with each other, I definitely would have said nothing. But after my stay in Ecuador I now have...
We hope everybody's semester is getting off to a good start. It has obviously been a busy few weeks for human rights... The news from Burma last week of a ceasefire deal between the government and the Karen rebels and a declaration of amnesty for 651 Burmese political prisoners, 130 of whom were reconciled with their families on Friday, was a moment for celebration - even as we wait to see what it means more broadly for human rights in Burma.
In the US, on the other hand, the new year brought us the more concerning National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which signed into law the ability of the US government to indefinitely detain citizens. On the tenth anniversary of the opening of the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay last week, hundreds of activists led a march to the White House to condemn Obama's betrayal of his promise to close the prison. Amnesty released this spoof video as a reminder...
As everything is wrapping up for Christmas, we wanted to say a MASSIVE thank you to everyone for contributing to the first successful semester of RightsViews! We have had a great response from students and faculty. An especially big thank you to those who have started blogging with us - there have been some fascinating posts this semester reflecting the diversity of interests and passions within the Columbia human rights community. Thanks also to all of our readers - we have lots planned for the blog in the new year so stay tuned for some great content, and more of it!
For anyone who is not tucked up at home for Christmas (like ourselves), then we leave you with this and maybe we'll catch you down at Zuccotti...
Occupy Wall Street Plans To Occupy Christmas (VIDEO link)
See you in January,
Tanya and Eve, The editors