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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Human Rights Focus In Rosenfield Talks

In the coming week, Grinnell students and faculty will have the opportunity to hear from leading experts in the field of human rights as they gather for this year’s first Rosenfield symposium.

The Rosenfield program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights hosts several symposia each year and recent topics have included water, incarceration in the U.S., and global pharmaceuticals.

“We’re trying to switch things up a little bit and give people a chance to ponder some of the origins, the theories, and the importance of human rights,” said program director Sarah Purcell, History. “And then apply [it], throughout the rest of the year both in classes and in other talks.”

The Rosenfield Program Committee, which is comprised of faculty and student members, worked closely with members of the Grinnell community to choose five speakers with diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise.

The speakers include best-selling author Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, Boston University School of Public Health Professor Michael Grodin, UCLA Professor of History Lynn Hunt, Professor at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of International Studies Jack Donnelly and Visiting Fellow and Associate Director of the Human Rights Watch Carol Boggart.

The student response has been positive thus far, particularly about the many different perspectives on human rights that the speakers bring.

“I didn’t know that world health was integrated into human rights,” said Rebecca Heller ’11. “I think it’s really cool because I just pictured human rights as people in chains and it’s really neat that they’re making it really interdisciplinary.”

Purcell commented that she hopes the symposium will inspire students to consider the issue of human rights in their own lives. “I think it would be a good way for [students] to connect work that they do in different academic disciplines to their own volunteer work and their own social activism as a way to consider those things in relation to one another.”

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