Alumni Short

Human Rights Advocacy Week Raises Awareness of Issues Local and Global

Ithaca, NEW YORK, April 27
As warm weather drew Law School students outdoors in mid-March, members of Cornell Advocates for Human Rights (CAHR) were hard at work drawing their peers’ attention to an array of human rights topics through Human Rights Advocacy Week. The student organization has sponsored this annual event for several years.

The 2012 program kicked off on Sunday, March 11, with a legal outreach trip to Syracuse. On Monday Nate Houghton presented “Founding Your Own Nonprofit: Tips from the CEO of the Congo Leadership Initiative.” “It was an honor to be a part of Advocacy Week at the law school, and I was thrilled to have the chance to interact with so many talented and driven individuals,” says Houghton. “Cornell's commitment to service has always been strong, and events like Advocacy Week do so much to keep that spirit alive.”

Adds Anna Dolidze, J.S.D. ’12, “Interest in the study of human rights, research, and scholarly exchange is enormous in the Cornell community.” On Friday, March 16, Dolidze convened and moderated Cornell Law’s first Interdisciplinary Graduate Panel on Human Rights in order to “share ideas and create a dialogue among graduate students of human rights across disciplinary lines.”

On the previous afternoon, so many students flocked to the Saperston Student Lounge for “Approaches to Human Rights Advocacy in China” that presenter Xingzhong Yu expressed astonishment when he entered the room. After his lecture on the difficulties and strategies surrounding human rights advocacy in his native country, the Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang Professor in Chinese Law lingered to answer questions from a cluster of audience members. “Promoting human rights is a sacred job for every person and institution,” says Yu. “CAHR’s Human Rights Advocacy Week provides a great opportunity for that purpose. I felt very lucky that I could participate in it.”

Cheryl Blake ‘13, CAHR Advocacy Week Chair, reflects on the event: “Through Advocacy Week, we've worked to showcase both international and local human rights issues. We've been able to draw on the Law School's unique international resources, like Professor Yu and our J.S.D. and other graduate students. Our local events, such as legal outreach about homeless children's access to education [during the Syracuse trip] and our bake sale for Ithaca's Advocacy Center, reinforce the significance of human rights in our own communities.”

-- Owen Lubozynski