Cabrini University Hosts “The Art + Effect Poster Contest”

This past fall, Cabrini University sponsored its first poster contest for high school students. The contest was titled “The Art + Effect Poster Contest” and students submitted “conceptual posters using traditional media or computer-generated graphics that highlighted the theme of equality.” This theme was chosen because of Cabrini’s recent emphasis on advocating for universal humans rights and dignity.

Jeanne Komp, Associate Professor of Graphic Design, stated “the contest and exhibition allows us to share our social justice mission with the greater community. The topic of equality has been especially timely in America. With all the media coverage, we felt that this social topic would be one in which high school students could relate to the most.” There were a total of 59 submissions from seven high schools spanning across Pennsylvania and New Jersey. From these 59 submissions, 20 contest winners were chosen to be featured on Cabrini’s campus.

Click here to view photos from “The Art + Effect Poster Contest.” To read more about Cabrini’s poster contest, view Cabrini media.

Seattle University Law Students Fight for Human Rights while Learning

Seattle University Law School is helping to shape the next generation of legal advocates through the school’s International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC), directed by law professor Thomas Antkowiak. Antkowiak’s past work includes overseeing a “socket of IHRC cases involving torture, wrongful conviction, arbitrary detention and protection of industrial lands.” Most recently IHRC helped to free Nestora Salgado-Gracia in the highly publicized case. Salgado is a grandmother with ties to Renton, Washington “who had been arbitrarily imprisoned in Mexico for three years while being denied due process. Salgado was arrested in 2013 after leading a legally permitted indigenous police force to defend local residents against drug cartels in her hometown of Olinala, Mexico.” Salgado praised Antkowiak during her visit to thank IHRC for helping her to win her freedom, as well as being her support and back-up for her case.

Antkowiak’s students also expressed similar praise as expressed by Salgado. Law students reported that working and learning in IHRC allowed for a clinical experience that offered opportunities for critical work that has incredible social value. Antkowiak said that serving as IHRC director is “his dream job, one that combines three of his professional passions-working on cases he cares about, engaging with students and conducting research. Seattle U’s Jesuit Catholic mission offers fertile ground for each of these efforts.”

To read more about IHRC and Antkowiak, visit Seattle news.

Fairfield University Students Advocate for Human Rights in Iran

At Fairfield University, students in the course Politics of Humanitarian Action, taught by Dr. Janie Leatherman, partnered with Scholars at Risk (SAR), an international network of higher education institutions and associations dedicated to protecting scholars and promoting academic freedom around the world, to advocate for human rights in Iran. Specifically, the students worked on the case of Dr. Mohammad Hossein Rafiee, a retired Iranian chemistry professor imprisoned in Tehran since June 2015. According to verdict records, Rafiee, who had a history of social and peace activism, was arrested without warrant and sentenced to five years in prison for “spreading propaganda against the system by giving interviews to media who are against the state.” Fairfield students traveled to New York City to meet with the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights on Iran, and subsequently visited the United Nations. The students wrote a 50-page background report for SAR on Dr. Rafiee’s case and avenues for advocacy in relation to several key stakeholders.

In September 2016, Dr. Rafiee was released on medical furlough due to poor health and was allowed to recuperate at home, without guards.

“SAR is so grateful to Professor Leatherman and her students for their research and advocacy on this case,” said Clare Farne Robinson, Scholars at Risk Advocacy Director. “Their efforts were instrumental in moving Dr. Rafiee’s case forward, and specifically led to inclusion of Professor Rafiee in a recent report by UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran. But beyond that, and perhaps most important, they provided much-needed hope to his family.”

Working for human rights reflects Fairfield’s Catholic commitment to defending the dignity of the human person. The course, Politics of Humanitarian Action, provides a way to enact this commitment and serves as the launch course of a new minor in Humanitarian Action. The minor, as envisioned, provides opportunities to students for service learning and experiential learning, connecting theory learned in the classroom with the realities of the world.  Read more about the Fairfield students’ work here.