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.

Peace & Justice in ACCU’s Summer Newsletter

This week, ACCU released the Summer 2015 issue of Update, its quarterly newsletter. You can read it in its entirety here, but be sure to pay special attention to the sections devoted to peace and justice. These highlights include:

  • Catholic Higher Ed: Serving First-Gen and Low-Income Students, showing their commitment to helping students achieve a college education.
  • Partnerships Benefit Communities and Students by allowing students to put Catholic Social Teaching into practice.
  • Students Create a More Sustainable Tomorrow through their actions, which range from a recycling project after a sporting event to a campus club’s efforts in the greater community.
  • Notre Dame of MD Recognized by United Nations after being granted non-governmental organization status.
  • Organic Kitchen Garden to Feed Holy Names University and further educate the Holy Names University community.
  • Service Reflects Mission to Make a Difference following a life-changing six-month oral history project.
  • Saint Mary’s University Presents Award to Pope Francis as recognition of extraordinary service to the vulnerable and marginalized members of society.
  • ‘Pope Francis Challenge’ Spurs Action at Holy Cross College by getting students and faculty to reach out and offer friendship to the marginalized.

 To subscribe to Update, please email Paula Moore.

Panel on Nuclear Issues

From Nuclear Deterrence to Disarmament: Evolving Catholic Perspectives

Thursday, May 7, 2015

6:00-8:00 pm

Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
170 East 64th Street, New York, NY 10065

 Featuring

  • Archbishop Bernadito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations
  • Des Browne,vice chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative
  • Rev. Bryan Hehir,Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Maryann Cusimano Love,associate professor of international relations, Catholic University of America

Timed to coincide with the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, speakers will discuss recent developments in Catholic approaches to nuclear proliferation and disarmament, including major recent statements issued by the Holy See.

Sponsored by:  

  • U.S. Global Engagement Program, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
  • Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
  • Nuclear Threat Initiative
  • Office of International Justice and Peace, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Georgetown University
  • Boston College
  • America

Free and open to the public.

Seating is limited. Register by Wednesday, May 6th, using promotional code ND5715 to register at no cost.

 This event also will be live streamed. Watch live stream »

For more information, contact Stefanie Ambrosio.