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Human Rights Institute

Past Events

In 2014, the 7th Annual Conference on Human Rights, Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding Lives and Communities Postwar, featured a keynote address by Dr. Kenneth Rutherford, co-founder of the Landmine Survivors Network who is renowned for his work with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines that led to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty as well as for his participation in the global movement that led to the 2008 Cluster Munitions Ban Treaty. Other speakers included Melissa Stockwell, Iraq War veteran, and Jacqueline Murekatete, survivor of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

John Prendergast, Kean University's Human Rights Senior Fellow, presented a premiere screening of The Good Lie on October 8, 2014 in the state-of-the-art STEM Auditorium. The premiere was hosted by Mr. Prendergast, an internationally acclaimed human rights activist, who appears in the film and has a longstanding relationship with the University. Eighty percent of every dollar collected went to the Enough Project's work for peace in Sudan and South Sudan, with the remaining twenty percent going back to the Human Rights Institute. For more information: The Good Lie

In 2013, the theme of the 6th Annual International Conference on Human Rights was #ENOUGH! - Affecting Change from the Frontlines to Your Newsfeed. The keynote was provided by John Prendergast, a human rights activist and best-selling author who has worked for peace in Africa for more than 25 years. He is co-founder of the Enough Project, an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity affiliated with the Center for American Progress.

In 2012, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn and internationally recognized activist Dr. Tererai Trent explored the conference theme of Creating Opportunity through Education: Empowering Women in the Developing World to Combat Oppression.

In 2011, Immigration: A Melting Pot No More? focused on the changing nature and divisive issue of immigration in modern America. The conference featured a diverse panel of immigration experts, including former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton and New York Times Columnist Lawrence Downes, who shared truly divergent views on the subject. 

In 2010, Combating Hatred examined the issue and effect of hate speech with Morris Dees, founder and chief trial counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

In 2009, the Human Rights Institute turned its attention to the complicated and controversial issue of Slavery in the 21st Century. With more than 27 million people enslaved worldwide today, Kean brought together experts expose the prevalence and the horrors of this issue, and educated the audience on steps that can be taken to combat slavery. 

The conference featured presentations from Dr. Kevin Bales, international founder of Free the Slaves, as well as Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier and author of the critically-acclaimed autobiographical novel A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Child Soldier. 

The HRI pursues its mission through several initiatives including workshops, curricular offerings, training, and the development of major symposia and conferences on peace and human rights. One of the HRI’s signature events is the annual international conference on human rights.  Darfur: the First Genocide of the 21st Century was the topic of the inaugural conference in 2008.  Nicholas Kristof, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and columnist with The New York Times, and former Sudanese slave Simon Deng examined the ongoing atrocities in Darfur through eyewitness accounts. 


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