Featured Speaker: Alison des Forges Memorial Committee Symposium on Human Rights – University of Buffalo 4/16/13

Ken Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch; Howard French, Associate Professor, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; Uri Zaki, Director of the U.S. branch of B’Tselem, Israel’s preeminent human rights organization; Commentators: UB Professors Tara Melish and Shaun Irlam, and post-doctoral scholar Nimer Sultany
509 O Brian Hall 
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Alison L. Des Forges Memorial Committee, Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, Buffalo Human Rights Center, UB Gender Institute, Buffalo State College’s Anne Frank Project and Western New York Peace Center
To honor the memory of the internationally-known historian and human rights activist Dr. Alison L. Des Forges (1942-2009), a symposium highlighting the current human rights crises in the Middle East and in Central Africa will take place at UB. Last December, in a New York Times article on the current situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where an estimated four million people have died in conflict over the past several years, correspondent Jeffrey Gettleman referred to Rwanda as “the Israel of Africa”, arguing that both countries use their history of genocide as a rationale for military action affecting their neighbors. The symposium will address such questions as: Does Gettleman’s comparison between Rwanda and Israel have merit? Are there other ways in which Israel and Rwanda are similar or different? Why is Syria in the news and Congo is not? What are the roles of the United States in these two important world regions and what should they be? Ken Roth will ask “Are There Parallels between Rwanda’s and Israel’s Experience and Conduct”; Howard French will discuss “Guilt, Oversimplification, and Inattention in Perspectives and Policies toward the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa” and Uri Zaki will address “Israel at 65: Democracy, Occupation and In Between”.


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