On Wednesday, Oct. 8 and Thursday, Oct. 9, Webster University’s East Academic Building filled with students, faculty and staff conducting lively discussion regarding human rights for the 2014 Annual Human Rights Conference.
The topic this year was “Rights of the Family,” which many attendees thought was timely.
“It’s so relevant at this moment in time with all the states discussing marriage equality,” Junior Webster student Kelsey Deters said. “So you’re getting to hear leaders in all these fields when its happening historically which is just amazing.”
The topic drew in speakers from all over the nation. Talks were held by scholars such as Harvard Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights Jacqueline Bhabha and Miami University Professor of Family Studies Katherine Kuvalanka.
“It’s important for all of us to be figuring out in our own societies and cultures close to us who is not benefitting from legal protections and what we can do to allow everyone to get the opportunity to live their lives as they want,” Kuvalanka said.
The Human Rights Conference is planned by Webster’s human rights department, but mainly run by Dr. Lindsey Kingston, Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies.
“I think many people spend most of their lives in a very comfortable bubble, and I think it’s important to be aware of these issues because once you are you’ll see them everywhere. We’re all about building awareness,” said Kingston.
Students also help plan the event. An 8 week course is offered in the first term of fall that qualified students may take to learn about the conference’s topic. At the same time, they’re tasked to help in getting the word out, planning logistics, or working in the expo section of the event.