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CSULB to Hold President’s Forum on International Human Rights

International human rights experts, genocide survivors, authors and filmmakers will gather at CSULB Feb. 11-13 for The President’s Forum on International Human Rights: Modern Genocides and Global Responsibility, a new initiative aimed at increasing global engagement among students, faculty, staff and the Southern California community.  

“This forum is being initiated to broaden our understanding of some of the most difficult challenges facing human advancement,” CSULB President F. King Alexander said. “It will provide opportunities to discuss and examine modern genocides and the global responsibilities we all share as world citizens to prevent and eradicate such atrocities from contemporary society.”

Francis M. Deng, the United Nations’ special representative of the secretary-general on the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities, will deliver the keynote address at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11. Deng has served as representative of the United Nations secretary-general on internally displaced persons, a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, human rights officer in the United Nations secretariat and ambassador of the Sudan to Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the United States.

Other speakers during the three-day forum include Ishmael Beah, who wrote about his experience as a child soldier in Sierra Leone in A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier; Immaculée Ilibagiza, a Rwandan genocide survivor who shares her inspiring story in the award-winning autobiography Left to Tell; and Ervin Staub, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and founding director of the Ph.D. concentration in the psychology of peace and the prevention of violence, emeritus. Staub has been recognized for his work to promote healing and reconciliation and prevent new violence in Burundi, the Congo and Rwanda.

In addition, the three-day forum includes film screenings, art performances and displays and a series of panel discussions with experts from throughout the world. Panels will focus on a number of issues including the meaning of genocide, redress and reconciliation and the role of governments in preventing genocide. On Wednesday, Feb. 13, a career fair will offer students a chance to talk with representatives from organizations that fight for human rights.

“Through the eyes of international experts, genocide survivors, filmmakers and many others, it is expected that this event will serve as a significant educational tool and resource for CSULB and the Southern California community,” Alexander said. 

The forum is being sponsored by the CSULB Foundation, the Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education at the University of Southern California, the Port of Long Beach; the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the California Conference for Equity and Justice, Behr Paints; and Lowe’s of Central Long Beach.

All forum events are free and open to the public. No registration is required. Please arrive early as seats will be occupied on a first-come basis. For a complete schedule of events or for more information, visit the Web site for President’s Forum on International Human Rights