West Virginia State University to Host International Human Rights Conference April 2-3

Contact: Kimberly Osborne
(304) 766-3363
March 23, 2015
West Virginia State University to Host International Human Rights Conference April 2-3

INSTITUTE, W.Va. – The West Virginia State University (WVSU) College of Business and Social Sciences in conjunction with the National Center for Human Relations will host the second annual Conference on International Human Rights Thursday, April 2, through Friday, April 3, at the Erickson Alumni Center on WVSU’s campus.

This two-day event will feature a variety of state and nationally known speakers and participants from a broad range of disciplines, offering presentations, posters and panel discussions addressing human rights. All conference events are free and open to the public, with the exception of lunch on Friday, April 3. Pre-registration is required.

“We are all affected by human rights violations,” said Dr. David Bejou, Dean of the College of Business and Social Sciences and Chair of the Human Rights Conference. “Through this conference, we have opened the doors for dialogue regarding such issues.”

This year’s theme, Celebrating Human Rights Heroes, honors the legacy of educator, author, orator and human rights pioneer Booker T. Washington, who rose from slavery to become head of Tuskegee Institute, advisor to presidents and a dominant voice for African-American rights.

The Conference will kick-off with the screening of the critically acclaimed film “Honor Diaries” Thursday, April 2, at 5:30 p.m. at the Erickson Alumni Center. The film gives attention to women’s rights issues in honor-based societies around the world. A reception will follow the screening.

The Friday morning session will feature back-to-back concurrent sessions from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., with a break in-between. Topics of discussion include social justice, violence against women and children, poverty and economic inequality, elder abuse, human rights legislation, discrimination, human trafficking and combating religious and disability discrimination.

Also throughout the day on Friday, WVSU student-made posters that address a variety of human rights topics will be on display. Attendees are encouraged to visit the student poster area during the break. Lunch will follow the sessions at 12:15 p.m.

Immediately after lunch, the conference’s keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Raymond W. Smock, co-editor of “The Booker T. Washington Papers” and author of the biographical “Booker T. Washington: Black Leadership in the Age of Jim Crow.”

In his address, “Booker T. Washington in History and Memory,” Smock will discuss Washington’s importance to American history, his Atlanta Address, the ideas of his chief critic W. E. B. DuBois, and why Washington is a vital force in understanding American and African-American history during the Jim Crow era.

Other speakers at the event include retired WVSU professor of Psychology James Spencer and WVSU faculty member Dr. Jessica Barnes-Pietryszynski.
“We hope to invite discussions and debates about the human rights issues that affect all of us locally, statewide, nationally and internationally,” Bejou said.

For more information, or to register for the conference, click here.

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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