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Hands On Human Rights Track

Conference Attendees are Welcome to Attend Any Panel on Any Track

Understanding and Using Media and Technology in Building Peace

Thursday 11:15 AM - 12:45 PM
Room: Washington College of Law 601

The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) works to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts around the world. As part of this mandate, USIP’s Center of Innovation identifies new practices, conducts research and develops innovative strategies for applying media and technology to the challenge of peacebuilding. At this session, Theo Dolan will introduce Salam Shabab, a multi-media peace program for Iraqi youth (ages 14-18). Salam Shabab is a totally unique format for Iraqi TV in that it directly engages Iraqi teens as part of a competitive reality show while building from a peacebuilding curriculum. Anand Varghese will outline USIP’s Blogs & Bullets initiative – a research project focused on creating a broader, fact-based picture of how new media affects social change, politics and conflict. 

- Theodore Dolan, Program Officer, Center of Innovation:Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding, United States Institute of Peace
- Anand Varghese, Center of Innovation: Science, Technology, and Peacebuilding, United States Institute of Peace
- (INTRODUCTIONS) Pallavi Kumar, Assistant Professor, American University School of Communication

The Media and Citizen Engagement on Human Rights

Thursday 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Room: Washington College of Law TBD

How do you expand and sustain media and public attention on human rights issues? The award-winning Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting shares its full-cycle model aimed at increasing international reporting on undercovered issues such as: atrocities against civilians committed by the Lords Resistance Army, statelessness for individuals of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic, and equal access to clean water. The Center will discuss its multimedia awareness campaigns aimed at sparking and expanding engagement of policymakers and the public.


- Ann Peters, Director of Development and Outreach, Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting
- John Sawyer, Founder & Executive Director, Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting
- (INTRODUCTIONS) Declan Fahy, Assistant Professor, American University School of Communication


Thursday 4:15 PM - 5:45 PM
Room: Washington College of Law TBD

In this session, the Center for Research on Collaboratories and Technology Enhanced Learning Communities (COTELCO) will share its experience with analyzing, as well as developing, collaboration laboratories, virtual organizations, and transnational advocacy networks. The projects of TRANSCEND, Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP), and Pawns to Partners (P2P) will be highlighted to introduce the tools that are to sustain movements and activities in a global scale. In TRANSCEND project, COTELCO has partnered with ASEAN Studies Center to create a global virtual network of academic research centers, policy think-tanks, government agencies and non-governmental organizations dedicated to developing new approaches to global governance. IDPP makes use of online communication technologies to establish a virtual institute and offer online graduate level degrees in the ASEAN region. Lastly, P2P takes a closer look at the formation of a transnational advocacy networks by the civil society participants of World Summit on Information Society.

Confirmed Speakers:

- Derrick Cogburn, Associate Professor of International Relations at American University; Senior Scientist and Chief Research Director at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University
- Norhayati Zakaria, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Business and Management at the University of Wollongong in Dubai (participating via Skype from Dubai)
- (INTRODUCTIONS) Nanette Levinson, Director, International Communications Program, American University School of International Service


Friday 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Room: TBD

Human Trafficking and Forced Labor: Where is the State?
This session will look at the issue of human trafficking and forced labor as revealed in documentary films.  Join Ann Jordan, Director of the Program on Human Trafficking and Forced Labor, in viewing two film clips and discussing the role that states play in addressing these issues.  The first film, “The Day My God Died” recounts the stories of girls and women who are trafficked into horrific conditions of forced prostitution in Mumbai. The second film, “Lives for Sale” reveals the life choices and dangers encountered by thousands of people who decide to risk rape, forced prostitution, or loss of a limb or life in order to find a job in the United States.  These films raise disturbing questions about whether states are fulfilling their human rights obligation to prevent these abuses and protect victims or are looking the other way.


- Ann Jordan, Director, Program on Human Trafficking and Forced Labor at the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law


Friday 1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Room: TBD

This session includes two innovative organizations that are using technology to document human rights support and abuses. Witness is an international human rights organization that uses video to open the eyes of the world to human rights violations and empowers people to transform personal stories of abuse into powerful tools for justice, promoting public engagement and policy change. They will highlight key principles of effective video for advocacy, emerging challenges and opportunities, and concrete next steps that human rights organizations, technology providers and social media communities can take to make the power of video-for-change safe, ethical and effective. Digital Democracy seeks to empower marginalized communities to use technology to build their futures, encourage democratic engagement and protect human rights.  They will discuss their Handheld Human Rights program in Burma which uses mobile phones to connect human rights workers around the country. Using mobile text messages connected with a detailed computer interface, HHR helps aid workers quickly and securely share critical information in order to coordinate responses and save lives. The program includes a systematic approach to localizing open source software, creating curriculum and working with groups on specific HR strategies, as well as aggregating existing info.

Confirmed Speakers:

- Mark Belinisky, President & Co-Founder, Digital Democracy
- Jenni Wolfson, Managing Director, WITNESS
- (INTRODUCTIONS) Angelica Das, Associate Director, Center for Social Media, American University School of Communication