Conference Program: Panel Details

Except where noted, ALL events will take place in the Konover Auditorium at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
405 Babbidge Road, Storrs, CT, 06269, USA.

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 19                                          

1:00pm – 2:30pm Evaluating Human Dignity: Looking Forward
Quantitative human rights/human security/human development indicators are purposed to assess the level of some aspect of human dignity offered persons the world around. While great strides have been made in evaluating various aspects of human dignity, there remains room for both technical improvement and an increase in the substantive scope of available indicators. This panel will consider the future needs, possibilities, and limitations of the measurement of human dignity.

2:30pm – 4:00pm Translating Economic Rights into Practice: Multiple Paths to Enforcement
This panel explores the challenge of translating economic rights into practice, focusing in particular on the potential of (and limits to) strategies of legalization and grassroots social mobilizations.

4:00pm–6:00pm Thursday Keynote Lecture
Introduction: Richard Wilson

Keynote Lecture: Thomas Pogge(Yale University)

"Human Rights in the New Development Agenda" 

6:00pm –6:30pm Reception

6:30pm –8:00pm Dinner
(Location: Wilbur Cross Reading Room-Must register to attend)


8:00am –9am Breakfast reception

9:00am – 10:30am Health & Human Rights: Articulating, Implementing, Critiquing Right to Health Claims
As recently as 1994, an article in the inaugural issue of the journal Health & Human Rights could plausibly assert that, “The phrase ‘right to health’ is not a familiar one” (Leary 1994:24). While this may not hold true, conversations about health and human rights remain in their infancy, especially in the United States. What is the right to health? Is it a legal instrument? A framework for developing and implementing policy? A moral imperative demanding a lifetime of committed action? A floating assertion that neglects crucial questions of duty and priority? Or simply a catchy slogan or bumper sticker? How might we make sense of these different registers of right to health discourse and the divergent ways in which this right becomes “transformed, deformed, appropriated, and resisted” (Wilson 2001)? This panel will take stock of contemporary “right to health” claims and critically consider where, why, and how they have been — and should be — articulated, implemented and critiqued both locally and around the globe.

10:30am – 12:00pm Humanitarianism and the Photograph Rethought
This panel is co-sponsored by the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute
Jonathan Benthall’s Disasters, Relief and the Media (1993) ushered a new, critical literature on visual culture and humanitarian crises that has progressively widened our scope to consider a range of visual media and technologies. The photograph, however, remains a compelling and omnipresent tool of humanitarian activism. Recent theories of photography have challenged the image’s indexicality as well as its aesthetics (and aestheticizing practice) in order to empower the subjects in the photograph. This panel invites you to reflect on the photograph’s role in humanitarian activism against the backdrop of this changing theoretical and technological landscape. This panel was organized by the Research Program on Humanitarianism of the Human Rights Institute.

Chair: Eleni Coundouriotis (English, Research Program on Humanitarianism)

12:00pm – 2:00pm Friday Keynote Lecture

Introduction: Richard Wilson

Keynote Lecture: Aryeh Neier (Open Society Foundations)

“The Successes and Failures of the Contemporary Human Rights Movement”

(Location: Wilbur Cross Reading Room-Must register to attend)

2:30pm – 4:00pm Colombia’s Search for Justice in the Time of Conflict
This panel is co-sponsored by El Instituto, Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies.

The Historical Memory Group of Colombia’s National Commissionfor Reparation andReconciliation(CNRR) will deliver its final report in June 2013.  Created in 2005 in the midst of hostilities, the CNRR represents an unorthodox and contentious approach to transitional justice.  This panel will consider events both inside and around the CNRR, including the demobilization of paramilitary groups and the fledgling peace talks between the Colombian government and rebel groups.  The panelists include scholars and practitioners affiliated with the CNRR, as well as independent observers of the process with long experience in Colombia.

4:00pm – 5:30pm The European Court of Human Rights: Challenges of the New Europe
This panel is co-sponsored by the University of Connecticut School of Law

With the incorporation of Eastern Europe and Turkey into the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, the European court faces new challenges in the twenty-first century. The goal of this panel is to discuss the new challenges, legal, administrative and structural as the court expands to include a high volume of new claimants. Among the most prolific of the new applicants is the Russian Federation. This panel will also address one case study of the Russian Federation, with a particular focus on applicants from Chechnya.

6:00pm – 8:00pm Dinner followed by a performance by students from the Puppet Arts Program at UConn

The puppetry performance is entitled "The Architecture of Great Cathedrals" and is based on the play by Erik Ehn from his Soulographie series of plays about genocide.

It is created and performed by Anna Fitzgerald, Sarah Nolen, and Dana Samborski from the UConn Puppet Arts Program, with direction by John Bell, Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry.
(Location: Wilbur Cross Reading Room-Must register to attend)


8:00am –9am Breakfast reception

9am–10:30am Sanctuary Without Refugee Camps
Refugee camps have become the primary means of administering sanctuary in Africa, yet camps rarely if ever provide effective protection for refugees—nor do they serve hosts well.  This panel brings together people who are working on alternatives to refugee camps to consider the possibilities for creating sanctuary without refugee camps. 

10:30am–12:00pm Mobilizing for Economic and Social Rights in Canada and the United States
This roundtable is co-sponsored by the Office of Global Affairs

This roundtable will offer insights into efforts of national and local NGOs to press for social and economic policies within a human rights framework. The focus of this roundtable is on domestic ESR mobilization within two locales: Canada and the United States. Comprised of human rights advocates working in NGOs and academics, who have bridged the scholar-practitioner divide in their own human rights advocacy, it seeks to advance discussions on modalities and impacts of social mobilization for ESR through legislative and policy arenas at the municipal, provincial/state and national levels.

12:00pm –1:00pm Lunch
(Location: Wilbur Cross Reading Room-Must register to attend)

1:30pm – 3:00pm Affirmative Action Policies: Lessons Learnt and Moving Forward
Many countries across the world have affirmative action policies, which give preferential treatment to historically disadvantaged minority groups with the intention of compensating them for the damages caused by past discrimination. As such, these policies are extremely controversial and constantly debated across the world. Some of the key issues relate to whether these policies benefit the intended beneficiaries.  Do they damage the interests of non-minorities and are these policies welfare enhancing? This panel will take stock of the past and current debate on affirmative action policies and discuss the policy recommendations moving forward.

3:00pm – 4:30pm Roundtable: Human Rights in the Liberal Arts
This panel is co-sponsored by the Office of Global Affairs

What are the challenges and opportunities of running an interdisciplinary human rights program in the twenty-first century?  What issues ought we to focus on and how might we approach them?  What is the right balance between scholarship and applied legal/policy work?  While the field originated in law schools, what has been the contribution of humanities and social science scholarship in the past 10 years or so?

4:30pm – 5:00pm Conference Discussant: Rebecca Cook (University of Toronto) and Tricia Redeker Hepner (University of Tennessee)