South Students Attend Human Rights Workshop in U.K.
Posted on April 4, 2022 by Lance Crawford
Dr. Douglas Marshall, Honors College interim dean, and three University of South Alabama students recently returned from the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights workshop in England. The Honors College at South has been a member of the Consortium since 2019 and returned to the U.K. this year after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Consortium hosts teaching and research seminars on human rights, global conflict, humanitarian aid, peacebuilding and related subjects. Their aim is to understand and develop constructive solutions to the problems of today, drawing from scholars and students from a wide variety of disciplines.
“Though most people don’t use or hear the term ‘human rights’ a lot in daily conversation, they are at the core of modern society,” said Marshall.
Marshall said the battle has been long and difficult to institutionalize the idea that every person has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in documents ranging from the Magna Carta to the U.S. Bill of Rights and constitutions around the world. The Oxford Consortium seeks to help student to recognize and fulfill their role in maintaining those rights.
“In some cases, because it might be integral to their career ambitions,” Marshall said. “In other cases, so they can be part of a better-informed citizenry about the importance of human rights.”
Mitchell Chambers, a senior from Montevallo, Ala., was one of the students who attended the workshop. He says his favorite experience at the consortium was hearing from humanitarians such as Dr. David Mwambari, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, and Asma Awan, a humanitarian with the Red Cross who has worked in conflict zones around the world.
“Being able to hear from the people who are on the ground doing the work was eye-opening, Mitchell said. “They really surprised me and upset my preconceived notions of what humanitarians actually do.”
Participation in the consortium isn’t limited to students in the Honors College. Any student on campus with an interest in human rights and next year’s workshop is welcome.
For information on the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights, contact the Honors College.
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