Scholars at Risk’s Senior Program Officer Chelsea Blackburn Cohen will be delivering closing remarks at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) Higher Education and Human Rights Coalition in Washington, D.C. on July 12.
The coalition brings together scholars, activists, scientists, practitioners and organizations to address the following questions: What can colleges and universities do to advance human rights? What should they do? What must they do? Fifty years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution,” in which he highlighted land grant colleges as a tool of systemic discrimination, we find that universities and colleges are institutions with significant influence and power in their communities, nationally and worldwide, and thus play a vital role in ensuring respect for and promotion of human rights,
Speakers will address issues many academic institutions are now tackling: protecting scientific and academic freedom on globally connected campuses; supporting the diaspora of scientists, engineers, and health professionals displaced by conflict; prioritizing community involvement in scientific research that addresses local human rights concerns; providing equal and inclusive access to STEM education and careers; ensuring that academic governance structures protect human rights on campus; and understanding, acknowledging, and addressing universities’ legacies of slavery and oppression. We will examine these issues through the human rights principles of access, participation, informed consent, and justice.