Comparative Human Rights Lecture Series | Annual International Comparative Human Rights Conference
Annual International Comparative
Human Rights Conference
is intended to establish a tradition of serious global dialogue among scholars, students, and advocates for human rights and to cultivate cross-regional and cross-cultural appreciation of human rights issues.

The 14th Annual UNESCO Chair & Institute of Comparative Human Rights Conference


Conference Overview | Conference Speakers | Schedule of Events | Directions | High School Resource Packet

UConn Today News Article

To Register, please e-mail unescochairintern@uconn.edu or visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1DWhbgnCxnYhNGLMJh7Ma38c8lkctMSyLj1TXHdAYKEQ/viewform


Tuesday, October 22, 2013
9:00 A.M.
Student Union Theatre
2110 Hillside Road
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT

Conference overview:

It is a tragic reality of the contemporary world that although the rhetoric of human rights has become the staple of politics, in virtually every region of the world a substantial percentage of women continues to be subjected to degrading and unacceptable levels of violence.  Although the more egregious violence against women, such as the epidemic in the war environment of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) gets media attention, the more insidious violence committed daily by intimate partners or relatives against women is barely acknowledged and tackled as a priority public policy issue. This is despite the fact that violence is not secret; for a number of organizations, among them the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), have documented in various studies the horrifying extent of violence against women in daily interactions by their intimate partners and strangers.

Of far greater significance than the cold fact of the global epidemic of violence against women is the impact of the violence on society beyond the immediate harm caused. The 14th Annual UNESCO Conference on International Human Rights is convened to disclose the facts and raise social awareness and to discuss ways of prevention and elimination of this scourge that haunts the conscience of the world.

To help us understand and confront this plague, the Planning Committee of the UNESCO Chair in Comparative Human Rights has invited a range of distinguished international and national practitioners and scholars in the field to address the issue from various regional perspectives and interdisciplinary approaches.

Please join us to learn, engage and act to expand the frontiers of human rights and to banish the cancer of violence against women, which diminishes their dignity and indeed their humanity. 

Please be advised that when discussing facts about violence against women, speakers might disclose information that is graphic and/or explicit in nature.

To Register online, please link to: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1DWhbgnCxnYhNGLMJh7Ma38c8lkctMSyLj1TXHdAYKEQ/viewform

Conference is co-sponsored by:  
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
Residential Life
Human Rights Institute
Office of Global Affairs
Student Health Services
Women’s Center

  Presenters include:

Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura was appointed Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflicts by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on June 22, 2013. She has also served as Minister of Health and Sanitation, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for the government of Sierra Leone. Additionally, Ms. Bangura has served as the Spokesperson for the President on bilateral and international issues, and she has been involved in peace-keeping efforts with the United Nations Mission in Liberia.  She served as executive director of National Accountability Groups and co-founded the Campaign for Good Governance. Her efforts to solve issues related to affordable health care, women’s rights activism and sexual violence span over twenty years.  Ms. Bangura received degrees from the City University Business School of London, Nottingham University and Fourah Bay College at the University of Sierra Leone.

Professor Abena P.A. Busia is Chair of the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. She is co-director of the groundbreaking Women Writing Africa Project, a multi-volume anthology. As Professor Busia points out, "history is located in multiple places." This collection is designed to recognize the cultural legacy in that assortment of voices by gathering together the original "cultural production" of African and Indian women for the first time. She is also co-editor of Women Writing Africa: West Africa and the Sahel(2005). In addition to the Women Writing Africa Project, Professor Busia is also the author of Theorizing Black Feminisms (1993) as well as many articles and book chapters. Professor Busia is also the author of the poetry collection, Testimonies of Exile. She serves on the advisory board of the Ghana Education Project, as well as the board of the African Women's Development Fund, the first and only pan-African funding source for women-centered programs and organizations. She teaches courses in African American and African Diaspora literature.

Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, RN, FAAN is a researcher in the field of nursing, medicine, and public health at The John Hopkins University, and she is an avid supporter of women’s rights.  Dr. Campbell is the current chair of the board of directors of Futures without Violence and co-chair of the IOM Forum on the Prevention of Global Violence, and she has served on the congressionally appointed U.S. Department of Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence. She is also a recipient of the American Society of Criminology Vollmer Award

Dr. Lee Ann De Reus is an Associate Professor of Human Development & Family Studies and Women Studies at Pennsylvania State University-Altoona, and the co-founding Assistant Executive Director of Panzi Foundation USA.  As a scholar-activist, she travels regularly to Panzi Hospital in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to conduct research and develop programs for rape survivors. She leads an annual field experience in Rwanda for Pennsylvania State University students, and she co-founded Beza Kids.  Additionally, she heads the Genocide Relief Project, a local community-based anti-genocide advocacy, education and aid organization.  Dr. De Reus is a featured activist in John Prendergast's book, The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes. A frequent guest blogger for Women Under Siege and speaker about the crisis in the DRC, her 2013 presentations include TEDxPSU, Daring to Make a Difference for Congo and the Oslo Freedom Forum, A Different Kind of Warfare.

Advocate Hina Jilani is best known for her work as a pro-democracy campaigner, women’s rights activist and pioneering lawyer, and for her defense of women, children, minorities, and prisoners. She founded Pakistan’s first all-women law firm and legal aid center, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and Dastak, a shelter for victims of gender-based violence. She also founded the Women’s Action Forum for democracy in Pakistan.  Ms. Jilani served as Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders. In recognition of her human rights activism, she was awarded the 2001 Millennium Peace Prize for Women. 

Ms. Anuradha Kapoor is currently the Founder, Director and Managing Trustee of Swayam, a women’s rights organization.  She advocated for the passage of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act in 2005, and she now works to implement this act at both the state and federal levels. Ms. Kapoor helped found AMAN Global Voices for Peace in the Home, an international network of organizations working against Domestic Violence. She also participated in judicial training at the Asia Pacific Forum on Judicial Education on Equality Issues.  Additionally, Ms. Kapoor was responsible for initiating and coordinating a national level campaign on violence against women and girls.

Dr. Nancy Lombard is a published researcher and lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy, and she is particularly interested in the prevention of violence against women.  She is currently Associate Director of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Research in Families and Relationships, and she is also affiliated with the British Sociological Association, Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, and Cross Party Group on Violence against Women.  Additionally, she is a founding member of the Gender Violence Prevention Network.  Prior to 2003, she served as Deputy Manager at North Kensington Women’s Aid in London.  Dr. Lombard was commissioned by the Scottish Executive to investigate male domestic abuse in Scotland.   She has been a volunteer, researcher, fundraiser and activist within the movement for fifteen years. 

Dr. Rashida Manjoo is the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, and she is a part-time Professor in the Department of Public Law at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.  She has established herself as an internationally recognized lawyer, teacher, advocate, and public servant.  She founded the gender unit at the University of Natal’s law clinic and founded the Domestic Violence Assistance Programme at the Durban Magistrates Court.  Ms. Manjoo works on the advisory board to the International Criminal Court’s Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, and she was previously a member of the Court’s Women’s Caucus for Gender Justice.  Additionally, she is a member of the International Coalition for Women’s Human Rights in Conflict Situations and the Women Living under Muslim Laws Network.  She served as the former Parliamentary commissioner of the Commission on Gender

Mr. Joseph Vess (invited) is a Senior Program Officer at Promundo, an organization that focuses on sexual and gender-based violence prevention, and men's engagement in crisis, conflict and post-conflict settings. He coordinates Promundo’s work on SGBV prevention in post-conflict Central Africa, men’s engagement in the prevention of child abuse and sexual exploitation in Eastern Europe, and violence prevention with young men and boys in the former Yugoslavia. He has worked with a wide variety of groups on bystander intervention skill-building, the establishment of healthier masculine norms that challenge SGBV, men's involvement in female economic empowerment initiatives and the acknowledgment of the detrimental effect that gender inequality has on both men and women.

Dr. David A. Wolfe PH.D., ABPP, C.PSYC. is the RBC Chair in Children’s Mental Health at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and he heads its Centre for Prevention Science.  He is a professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Toronto, and he is also a fellow of the American Psychological Association.  Additionally, he once served as President of Division 37 (Child, Youth, and Family Services).  Dr. Wolfe is extensively published, and he has received numerous awards for his work in abnormal child and adolescent psychology, focusing on child abuse, domestic violence, and developmental psychopathology.  His efforts in violence led to the Fourth R, which is an evidence-based program for school-based violence, and it is used to reduce adolescent violence and risk-related behaviors. 



8:15 a.m.   

General Registration

9:00 a.m.        

Opening Video/Welcome by Emily Kaufman and Introduction of Prof. Amii Omara-Otunnu

9:05 a.m.        

Conference Overview by Prof. Amii Omara-Otunnu, UNESCO Chair-holder and Executive Director

Introductory Remarks on the Nature and Scope of Violence Against Women

9:15 a.m.        

Introduction of Prof. Abena Busia by Ashley Robinson, Planning Committee

9:17 a.m.        

Poetry Reading by Prof. Abena Busia

9:25 a.m.        

Remarks and Introduction of Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura by Vice Provost Dan Weiner

9:30 a.m.        

Keynote Address by Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura, United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict

Address followed by Q&A (moderated by Prof. Amii Omara-Otunnu)

10:15 a.m.      

General Plenary Session: Moderated by Prof. Bandana Purkayastha

  • Ms. Kathleen Holgerson, Women’s Center Director, UConn
  • Dr. David Wolfe, RBC Chair in Children’s Mental Health, Canada
  • Ms. Anuradha Kapoor, Founder and Managing Trustee, Swayam, India

11:15 a.m.      


11:30 a.m.      

Academic Plenary Session: Moderated by Prof. Rafael Perez-Escamilla

  • Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, Co-Chair, Forum on the Prevention of Global Violence, United States
  • Dr. Lee Ann De Reus, Co-Founder of Panzi Foundation, United States/Congo
  • Dr. Nancy Lombard, Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy, United Kingdom

11:30 a.m.      

Workshop for High School Students

  • Facilitated by the UConn Women’s Center Violence Against Women Prevention Program

2 p.m.             

Afternoon Keynote: Dr. Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Human Rights Council (Introduction by Mike Kurland)

3:30 p.m.        

Regional Plenary Session: Moderated by Prof. Abena Busia

  • Advocate Hina Jilani, Pioneering Lawyer and Activist, Pakistan
  • Ms. Alexa Hassink, Programme Associate and Communications Officer, Promundo (Latin America and the Caribbean)
  • Ms. Condencia Brade, Co-Founder and Executive Director, SCESA (United States)

5:00 p.m.

Conference Ends


Directions to the University of Connecticut, Storrs:

Travel I-84 east/west to exit 68.  Travel south on Route 195 straight through intersection with Route 32.  At intersection of Route 195 and Route 44 (Mansfield Four Corners) proceed straight approximately 1.5 miles to the Storrs Campus.

North Parking Garage:
From Route 195, turn right onto North Eagleville Road (Congregational Church on right).  At the second light, turn left onto North Hillside Road.  At the first stop sign, turn left.  The entrance to the North Parking Garage will be immediately on your left.

Student Union Theatre:
Upon exiting the North Parking Garage, walk straight up Hillside Road.  The Student Union is the second building on your left


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