April 27, 2009
Webster University to Host Dennis Kucinich and International Criminal Court Judge, Among Others at St. Louis Human Rights Conference May 1 & 2
ST. LOUIS, May 1, 2009 — A conference on “American Exceptionalism” and human rights will feature U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (OH,10th Dist.) and International Criminal Court Judge Hans Peter Kaul, among other distinguished leaders in international human rights, May 1 and 2, at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.
The topic is timely since recently the Obama administration released four Bush-era memos regarding interrogation techniques of torture of suspected al Qaeda members. As a result, the ongoing discussion heats up over the diminished U.S. ideal of itself as the global beacon for democracy and human rights while at the same time condoning the use of torture.
“This conference will specifically addresses the topic of American leadership, past and future, with respect to international human rights,” said David Carl Wilson, dean, Webster University College of Arts and Sciences. “We are focusing on the International Criminal Court and the UN Human Rights Council because the US currently does not participate in either of these international bodies. I am looking forward to a lively discussion and am excited about the incredible level of participation we have, including Congressman Kucinich, the Hon. Hans Peter Kaul and several accomplished human rights scholars and lawyers from prestigious institutions across the U.S. and around the world.”
The two-day conference will explore the American influence on– and resistance–to the International Criminal Court and United Nations’ Human Rights Council, as well as other issues of global leadership in human rights. It will be held Friday, May 1, from noon to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, May 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in Webster University’s Emerson Library Conference Room at 101 Edgar Road, Webster Groves, Missouri. The conference is free except for a $10 fee for lunch on Saturday. RSVP to 314-968-6997or at: www.webster.edu/depts/artsci/news/Exceptionalism.htm.
The conference will feature formal remarks by Kucinich and Kaul, as well as Bruna Molina, former UN secretary of the Commission on Human Rights and secretary of the War Crimes Commission on Rwanda; and Rashida Manjoo, South African human rights lawyer, an Eleanor Roosevelt Fellow at Harvard Law School and Webster University’s current E. Desmond Lee Professor of Global Awareness, among others.
The conference is the culminating event for Webster’s 2008-2009 ‘Year of International Human Rights,” which celebrated the 60th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a series of community events and academic study focusing on human rights. The conference is sponsored by Webster University, the College of Arts & Sciences, the E. Desmond Lee Professorship in Global Awareness and the United Nations Association of St. Louis.