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Beyond Conventions: Reimagining Human Rights in a Time of Change

Ford Foundation-1

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (EDT)

Beyond Conventions: Reimagining Human Rights in a Time...

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Type End Quantity
Beyond Conventions
By invite only. Non-transferable.
Ended Free  

Event Details

In our final 75th anniversary Ford Forum, we gather activists, rights defenders, government and private sector leaders, artists and writers to challenge us all to think beyond conventions and to reimagine what human rights can and should be in an era of transformation. “Beyond Conventions: Reimagining Human Rights in a Time of Change” will be held at the foundation on Sept. 20, 2011.


A live stream of the event will begin at 9:00 a.m. and continue throughout the day until 5:30 p.m. We will not, however, be streaming from 12:35 to 1:30 p.m. Please note the times listed below for panel sessions and performances.

Beyond Conventions: Human Rights in a Time of Change

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Session One: Human Rights on Trial (9:20-10:40 a.m.)

An Open Hearing on the Movement’s Past—and Its Future

The global human rights movement has achieved tremendous success. It has reshaped international and domestic policy worldwide, confronted authoritarian regimes, supported dissidents and defended the rights of millions. It has grown from a mere handful of organizations to a powerful global network, winning passage of standards-setting conventions, securing breakthrough legal victories and capturing the imaginations of people everywhere. But it also has unfinished business. How will the movement confront the challenges of implementing rights? Effectively tackle the increasing role of non-state actors? Build a movement of inclusion and diversity? Embrace economic and social rights as a next frontier? In this curtain-raising session, we will interrogate these propositions and explore the future direction of this vital movement.

Geoffrey Robertson QC Geoffrey Robertson QC (Moderator) Human Rights Lawyer
Jackie Dugard Jackie Dugard Co-Founder and Executive Director
Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa
Jeremy Heimans Jeremy Heimans Co-Founder and CEO
Diego Luna Diego Luna Actor and Activist
Anthony D. Romero Anthony D. Romero Executive Director
American Civil Liberties Union
Salil Shetty Salil Shetty Secretary General
Amnesty International

Session Two: Women of the World (11:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.)

A Conversation with Global Leaders

At the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995, then-First Lady Hillary Clinton proclaimed that “human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.” Where are we today, and where are we headed? Are women’s rights the defining cause of the 21st century? Has heightened global awareness of women’s equality improved the lived realities of women and their families? Two leading voices for human dignity come together to explore how women everywhere can work across sectors and movements to solve the world’s most intractable problems.

Cynthia McFadden Cynthia McFadden(Moderator) Anchor and Correspondent
ABC News
Michelle Bachelet Michelle Bachelet Executive Director
UN Women
Melanne Verveer Melanne Verveer U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues

Live Performance by Sussan Deyhim (12:00-12:10 p.m.)

Sussan Deyhim is an Iranian composer, vocalist and performance artist who is known around the world for creating a unique sonic and vocal language imbued with a sense of ritual and the unknown. Deyhim was part of ballet companies in Iran and Europe before moving to New York in 1980 and embarking on a multifaceted career involving music, theater, dance, media and film. She has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Peter Gabriel, Talvin Singh, Branford Marsalis and Shirin Neshat.

Sussan Deyhim Sussan Deyhim Composer, Vocalist and Performance Artist

Lunchtime Discussion: We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident (12:35-1:30 p.m.)

The State of Rights in the United States

After 235 years, the United States is still striving to fulfill the promise of rights set forth in its Declaration of Independence. As a leading voice on human rights around the world, what is the next generation of achievements needed at home? From criminal justice to immigration and education, what are the priorities and the paths that define a new era of rights? This lunchtime conversation will explore the issues we must confront to achieve “a more perfect union.”

Jeffrey Toobin Jeffrey Toobin(Moderator) Staff Writer
The New Yorker
Wade Henderson Wade Henderson President and CEO
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Harold Hongju Koh Harold Hongju Koh Legal Adviser
U.S. Department of State

Live Performance by Universes (1:55-2:05 p.m.)

Universes is an international ensemble company of multi-disciplined writers and performers who fuse poetry, theater, jazz, hip hop, politics, down-home blues and Spanish boleros to create theatrical works that are moving, challenging and entertaining. The group breaks the bounds of traditional theater to set forth their own brand, inviting old and new generations of theater-crafters and theater-goers to reshape the face of American performance.

Universes Universes International Ensemble Performance Company

Session Three: Technology — The Next Frontier (2:05-3:10 p.m.)

The Possibilities and Pitfalls of Technology in the Pursuit of Human Freedom

How are human rights defended or denied in an online world? In this conversation, we tackle the role technology can play in advancing the human rights agenda. What do freedom of expression and the right to privacy mean in the digital environment? What is the role and what are the limitations of technology in fueling social movements? What are the threats that human rights defenders face online and how can they protect themselves? A provocative panel of technologists and human rights defenders offers thoughtful conclusions about how the movement can activate the digital space and get wired for change.

Sewell Chan Sewell Chan(Moderator) Deputy Editor
The New York Times
Tim Berners-Lee Tim Berners-Lee Inventor
World Wide Web
Rebecca MacKinnon Rebecca MacKinnon Senior Fellow
New America Foundation
Elisa Massimino Elisa Massimino President and CEO
Human Rights First
Andrew McLaughlin Andrew McLaughlin Executive Director
Civic Commons
Danny O'Brien Danny O'Brien Internet Advocacy Coordinator
Committee to Protect Journalists

Session Four: On the Frontlines of Human Rights (3:10-3:55 p.m.)

A Conversation with Madeleine K. Albright and Desmond Tutu

Throughout their distinguished careers, Madeleine K. Albright and Desmond Tutu have been leaders and game-changers. They have witnessed some of the worst atrocities and greatest triumphs of the 20th century. In this special conversation, they will share their collective wisdom as they discuss what they’ve learned over decades of intense engagement with global struggles for human rights, reflect on unfinished business and look ahead to the challenges facing the next generation.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault Charlayne Hunter-Gault (Moderator) Foreign Correspondent
Madeleine K. Albright Madeleine K. Albright Former U.S. Secretary of State
Desmond Tutu Desmond Tutu Chair
The Elders

Session Five: Paths to Prosperity (4:25-5:20 p.m.)

Human Rights and the Pursuit of Economic and Social Inclusion

The significance of human rights conventions as tools on the road to justice is well-established. And the growth of democratic movements and governments across the globe brings hope. But these successes have failed to create a path to economic prosperity that is more broadly shared. Billions of people are denied economic opportunity and access to resources. An equal number continue to face discrimination and exclusion. Can traditional human rights strategies deliver justice for those who are excluded and marginalized not just politically but socially and economically? This conversation will explore the new opportunities and voices that are offering answers to fundamental questions about the future of the human rights movement and its ability to move a globalizing world toward dignity for all.

Lyse Doucet Lyse Doucet(Moderator) Correspondent
BBC World Service
Hossam Bahgat Hossam Bahgat Founder and Director
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
Nonkosi Khumalo Nonkosi Khumalo Chair
Treatment Action Campaign
Angélique Kidjo Angélique Kidjo Founder
Balakrishnan Rajagopal Balakrishnan Rajagopal Director
MIT Program on Human Rights and Justice
Kenneth Roth Kenneth Roth Executive Director
Human Rights Watch

Live Performance by Angélique Kidjo (5:20-5:30 p.m.)

Angélique Kidjo has cross-pollinated the West African traditions of her childhood in Benin with elements of American R&B, funk and jazz, as well as influences from Europe and Latin America. Her internationally acclaimed repertoire includes collaborations with Carlos Santana, Alicia Keys and Joss Stone. Kidjo’s album “Djin Djin” won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Album in 2008 and her most recent album, “Oyo,” was nominated for the same award in 2011.

Angélique Kidjo Angélique Kidjo Grammy Award-Winning Recording Artist






Ford Foundation
320 East 43rd Street
New York, NY 10017

For more information, please contact or 1 212 573 5171.

Have questions about Beyond Conventions: Reimagining Human Rights in a Time of Change? Contact Ford Foundation-1

When & Where

Ford Foundation
320 E 43rd St
New York, NY 10017

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (EDT)

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