Friday, November 14, 2008

Student conference on human rights


As Co-Directors of the Northwestern University Conference on Human Rights (NUCHR), we are excited to announce our 6th annual conference, "Humanitarian Aid: Sovereignty, Accountability and Effectiveness." The conference will examine the complexities of applying humanitarian aid. Focusing on disaster response by non-governmental organizations, participants will also discuss issues of state sovereignty and the responsibility to protect, NGO accountability and aid dependency. We would like to encourage your students to apply to attend the conference as student delegates. We would greatly appreciate it if you would forward the following announcement and, if possible, the attachment. Please let us know if you have any questions.

All the best,

Shalyn Hockey, Sarah Malin and Hallie Ryan
Northwestern University Conference on Human Rights

Majors: If you want to go, let me know, and we'll see what we can do to provide departmental financial support:


Northwestern University Conference on Human Rights

"Humanitarian Aid: Sovereignty, Accountability and Effectiveness"

January 22-25, 2009

Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

The sixth annual Northwestern University Conference on Human Rights (NUCHR) is proud to announce a national student conference on "Humanitarian Aid: Sovereignty, Accountability and Effectiveness," which will take place on Northwestern's Evanston campus on January 22-25, 2009. In the context of man-made and natural disaster response, speakers will examine complexities in satisfying the humanitarian imperative and addressing the potential disjuncture between theoretical and realistic goals. The focus will be on the work of non-governmental organizations as they seek a balance between the ethical responsibility of the international community and the sanctity of state sovereignty. The conference will take a twofold approach, providing a framework for analysis of humanitarian aid situations on the first day. Panels will focus on three key paradigms: the legal tension between concepts of humanitarian intervention and sovereignty, the ethical ramifications and dilemmas facing aid organizations, and the short and long term effects on a country's economy. The second day, experts will critically consider the humanitarian situation in Burma, keeping in mind the previously developed academic framework. Lastly, delegates break up into discussion groups and will have the opportunity to use the established framework and Burmese example to create their own analysis of various case studies.

NUCHR is dedicated to fostering social activism and raising awareness of international human rights issues by uniting student delegates from across the country with renowned activists, academics, and policy makers. This three day summit is also free and open to the public. In the past, the conference has focused on issues such as globalization and the universality of human rights, torture, human trafficking, American policy towards HIV and AIDS in the developing world, and American interventionist policy abroad. We have featured distinguished speakers such as Nicholas Kristof, Mark Hanis, Dr. Sheri Fink, Romeo Dallaire, Richard Holbrooke, Bernard Kouschner, Stephen Lewis, John Miller, and Cherif Bassiouni. This year, we have decided to expand the scope of our discussion to incorporate the increasingly pervasive phenomenon of independent student interest and mobilization towards international crisis action. Encouraging undergraduates to reflect and broaden their academic foundations on this topic will allow for more effective initiative and engagement.

The 2009 NU Conference on Human Rights is excited to announce that Nicolas de Torrente, Executive Director of Doctors Without Borders and Dirk Salomons, Director of the Humanitarian Affairs Program at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University will be delivering the key note speeches this year.

Please visit our Web site, for more information on NUCHR including the student delegate application (due December 1, 2008), the conference schedule and speaker updates. If you have any additional questions please contact the co-directors of this year's conference, Shalyn Hockey, Sarah Malin and Hallie Ryan at

Shalyn Hockey, Sarah Malin, Hallie Ryan


Northwestern University Conference on Human Rights