U-M launches series of human rights initiatives

November 3, 2004
Contact: michigannews@umich.edu

U-M launches series of human rights initiatives

ANN ARBOR—The University of Michigan is launching an initiative to consolidate, expand and promote human rights education and research.

International Perspectives on Human Rights is a cross-disciplinary effort to involve faculty from a variety of departments and viewpoints, connecting scholars and students as well as organizations looking to the University as a resource. Each year, a Human Rights Fellow will be selected to promote undergraduate human rights education. U-M’s International Institute and the Institute for the Humanities are working together on the program.

The first Human Rights Fellow is Javed Nazir, a former editor of the Frontier Post in Pakistan and a Fulbright Scholar who spent 25 years as a journalist in south Asia. He has conducted extensive research on radicalization of religion and its impact on south Asia and Afghanistan. He came to U-M in 2001-2002 as a Journalist at Risk in the Michigan Journalism Fellows program.

Nazir, a visiting professor with an International Institute appointment, served as the Marsh Distinguished Professor in Communications in 2002-2003. He is teaching a course called Human Rights and Democracy this fall and will deliver a lecture on Human Rights in winter term 2005.

The University, known as a national leader in multi-disciplinary education and team teaching, draws students and scholars from differing fields to collaborate on finding solutions to major problems.

Fall courses include: "Indigenous Political Movements" (anthropology); "Feminist Thought" (women’s studies); and "Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, Justice And Human Rights—Lessons from Rwanda" (Institute for the Humanities and history).

"We are increasingly looking for ways we can more effectively teach on this issue and become more engaged in research in this area,” said Sioban Harlow, International Institute associate director. The human rights initiative includes a new Web site to serve as a public resource bringing together human rights experts as well as featuring listings of human rights-related courses and events at U-M. The public may access the site at: http://www.umich.edu/~iinet/asc/humanrights/index.html

For more on Nazir, visit: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/comm/detail/0,2005,4128_article_8734,00.html