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Human Rights Workers From Across
The World Gather At UConn

Released: August 2, 2005

Release # 05060
Nana Amos
(860) 486-3054
Institute of Comparative Human Rights

STORRS , Conn.– More than 35 young human rights workers and activists from more than 20 nations will gather at the University of Connecticut from Aug. 7 - 14 to participate in the first Intergenerational Conference on Human Rights, “Human Rights as a Tool for Social Change.”

The participants will spend the week attending events and learn from their counterparts the best ways to solve problems and achieve their goals. The participants range in age from 18 to 32. Most work for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in other nations including Russia, Egypt, Liberia, Ukraine, Argentina, Turkmenistan, Columbia, India, Ghana, Nepal and Sudan.

The conference was organized by UConn Professor Amii Omara-Otunnu, North America’s only United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair, and directors of the Institute for Comparative Human Rights and the Coalition of Human Rights Organizations.

“The conference is premised on the presumption that every new generation of human rights leaders builds on the work of those who came before it,” said Omara-Otunnu. “The Intergenerational Conference seeks to promote the sharing of experiences and understanding of - and provide an impetus for - the empowerment of youth leaders that will enable them to play a crucial and constructive role in the development of human rights in their communities.”

The conference hopes to provide tools and a platform for open debates about policies, programs, activities and processes necessary for human rights leadership. Participants will receive training in areas such as grassroots organizing, building coalitions, effective communication, use of media for human rights education, and understanding of the processes and relevance of restorative justice.  It is planned that discussions will be conducted under the rubric of four principal areas; namely poverty, education, health conflict resolution and/or transformation.

Specific areas of focus will include issues such as human trafficking, the plight of children, refugees and war, hunger, HIV/AIDS, religious intolerance, gender discrimination, racism and classism, peace education and environmental concerns.  Conference facilitators will serve in an ongoing capacity as mentors to the young conference participants upon their return to their home countries.

For a full conference schedule, list of speakers and information about the UNESCO Chair and the Institute for Comparative Human Rights, visit: http://web.uconn.edu/unescochair/messageChair.htm


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