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Davis, California

Monday, February 26, 2024

UC Davis celebrates Human Rights and Humanities Week

Today the UC Davis Human Rights Initiative will kick off its first Human Rights and Humanities week.

This will be a series of separate lectures, colloquiums and symposiums, finishing Friday with the second annual Symposium on Human Rights.

“I’m really happy it has come together so well. It shows the importance of studying human rights at UC Davis,” said Dr. Keith David Watenpaugh, associate professor and director of the Human Rights Initiative.

Sarah Leah Whitson, the Executive Director of Middle East and North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch, will be the keynote speaker for the Provost lecture this evening.

“The important thing about the Provost lecture, is that she’ll [Whitson] give us up to date information about human rights in Syria,” Watenpaugh said.

Whitson’s lecture is the main event for the public, titled, “At last, an Arab Spring: Black Swans of the Middle East; Human Rights Watch Reports from the Ground.” It will be held in the AGR Room of the UC Davis Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

“Whitson is an expert on Middle East and North Africa issues, having led landmark investigations of human rights conditions in Libya and Saudi Arabia since joining Human Rights Watch in 2004,” stated a press release.

On Wednesday, the Environments and Societies: History, Literature and Justice Colloquium will be presented by Richard P. Hiskes, Senior Political Theorist & Associate Director of University of Connecticut Human Rights Center.

This will be held in Voorhies 126 from 4 to 6 p.m. It will highlight the impact of the environment on human rights. “The Relational Foundations of Emergent Environmental Rights: From Hobbes to Human Rights to Water,” written by Hiske, will be analyzed during the session.

Thursday welcomes the First Annual Graduate Student Symposium. Scholar John Nguyet Erni, chair of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, will be the keynote speaker.  According to Watenpaugh, there will also be students flying in from Japan for this symposium.

An all day event beginning at 10 a.m., the Graduate Student Symposium is in the Andrews Conference Room of the Social Science and Humanities building.

Friday’s event is an academic symposium, in which international scholars will gather to discuss the origin of human rights. There will be scholars from Scandinavia and Canada in attendance.

Watenpaugh is the keynote speaker for the symposium, which begins at 10 a.m. in the Founder’s Board Room in the UC Davis Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center. He said that he believes that UC Davis will be a leader in the field of human rights in the next decade.

DANIELLE HUDDLESTUN can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.



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