In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that affirms human rights for everyone. Now, 70 years later, Bryant’s Global Studies program is commemorating the anniversary with a speaker series dedicated to exploring the articles in the agreement.
“This is not something that is binded by law,” said English and Cultural Studies Professor Alex Perullo, Ph.D., who is also the director of the Global Studies program. “It’s more like a recommendation. So the question becomes, what is the responsibility of governments and citizens?”
That is the question being explored through the series, with each guest speaker focusing on a specific article in the Universal Declaration.
“I love my job because it’s like the entire world is sitting around one table. It’s really fascinating to see how these important decisions are made.”
“Even if our students only attended one speaker, they understand this broad conception that there is a document out there and that a lot of people are working to ensure that at least one of these articles is being enforced,” says Perullo.
The series culminated with a presentation by Dr. Annelies Verstichel of the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the United Nations. Verstichel spoke about the inner workings of the United Nations and resolutions under discussion within the UN Security Council and General Assembly.
“I love my job because it’s like the entire world is sitting around one table,” Verstichel said. “It’s really fascinating to see how these important decisions are made.”
The other three speakers in the series were:
- Alex M. Nading, Senior Fellow for the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, who discussed medical epidemics such as zika and ebola. Nading focused on the responsibilities that citizens, scholars and researchers in the international community have to deal with these problems.
- Bridgewater State University Assistant Professor of Anthropology Navid Fozi, who reviewed the "Question of Religious Freedom in Iran." Fozi drew various historical links to the Universal Declaration and emphasized Iran’s religious diversity.
- Dr. Richard Wilson, Gladstein Chair of Human Rights at the University of Connecticut, who discussed "How to Deal with Hate: Balancing Security and Freedom of Speech." He examined a variety of issues, including an analysis of hate speech cases and the challenges of prosecuting cases where vulnerable populations are affected by hate crimes.