Program on Human Rights launched at Stanford


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Larry Diamond, Director, CDDRL; Helen Stacy,Coordinator, Program on Human Rights; Debra Satz, Director, McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society; Paul Wise, keynote speaker

In a new Stanford endeavor, FSI's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law has joined with the Bowen H. McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society to launch an interdisciplinary Program on Human Rights. Introducing CDDRL's latest program, Director Larry Diamond noted that "today's human rights interact with a number of other urgent global issues including climate change, immigration, security, women's rights, poverty, and child soldiers" to name but a few. The campus-wide Human Rights Program builds on the work of CDDRL's Program on Global Justice by bridging the normative and the empirical.

The October launch featured an interdisciplinary panel on human rights, "Bridging Theory and Practice", combining the work and insights of Senior Law Lecturer, FSI Senior Fellow and Human Rights Program Coordinator Helen Stacy, who also served as moderator, Political Science Professor Terry L. Karl, Stanford Law School Professor Jenny Martinez, Anthropology Professor Jim Ferguson, and Civil and Environmental Professor Ray Levitt.

Observing that each of the panelists works adeptly across several disciplinary fields, Program Coordinator Helen Stacy noted that "they dynamically cycle between high theory and everyday action in a constant arbitrage between principle and practice."

Invoking the French philosopher Michel Foucault, Jim Ferguson observed that "the world is a dangerous place" and we need to be careful, watchful, vigilant, and realistic. Just as "If you want peace, work for justice," he said, "If you want human rights, work to overcome economic inequalities."

A second session featured Philosophy Professor Debra Satz, Director of the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society, who introduced the new Undergraduate Human Rights Summer Fellowships, which will allow four undergraduates to immerse themselves in a summer-long internship with a leading human rights organization.

A final keynote address by pediatrician Paul H. Wise, the Richard Behrman Professor in Child Health and a core faculty member of the FSI's Stanford Health Policy center, addressed the aspirational, "Between the Concrete and the Clouds: Living Your Human Rights Principles."

Wise's professional life has been devoted to the real human rights of real children by improving child health-care practices and policies in developing countries. Active in child health projects in India, South Africa, and Latin America, Wise spends each summer in an indigenous village in Guatemala, where he teaches and provides needed care at the village clinic.