West Virginia State University to Host Third Annual International Human Rights Conference

Contact: Kimberly Osborne
(304) 766-3363

March 24, 2016
West Virginia State University to Host Third Annual International Human Rights Conference

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 third annual Conference on International Human Rights Thursday, March 31, through Friday, April 1, at the Erickson Alumni Center on WVSU’s campus.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Human Rights and Energy,” and a variety of state and nationally known speakers will offer presentations addressing this theme. All conference events are free and open to the public.

“Despite the importance of energy and its relationship to many of our society’s socio-economic goals, little recognition has been given to this area,” said Dr. David Bejou, dean of the College of Business and Social Sciences and chair of the Human Rights Conference. “This conference is an attempt to highlight the importance of energy as a human right by promoting an international debate to discuss and understand these relationships.”

The conference will kick-off with registration and a screening of the critically acclaimed film “Honor Diaries” Thursday, March 31, at 6:15 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.

Registration continues Friday, April 1, beginning at 8 a.m. followed by presentations beginning at 9 a.m. on a variety of topics including disability rights, children’s rights, and the life and career of African-American educator Fannie Cobb Carter.

Adrienne Belafonte Biesemeyer, executive director of the Anir Foundation/Anir Experience, will deliver the conference’s keynote address Friday at 2:15 p.m. on the topic of “Renewing Personal Energy: Where We Place it and What We Do with It.”

A graduate of both WVSU and the former West Virginia College of Graduate Studies, Biesemeyer established the Anir Foundation with her daughter, Rachel Blue, in 1997. Biesemeyer is the oldest child of performer and social activist Harry Belafonte who has introduced generations of Americans to the music of Jamaica’s streets and fields, and with it an awareness-raising message about poverty and inequality.

Other presentations on Friday will include an “Introduction to the National Energy Technology Laboratory,” at 1 p.m. by Dr. Grace M. Bochenek, director, U.S. Dept. of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Also throughout the day on Friday, WVSU student-made posters that address a variety of human rights topics will be on display.

For more information, contact Conference Chair Dr. David Bejou at dbejou@wvstateu.edu or (304) 766-3025.

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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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