Published April 7, 2016
The massive flow of refugees and other migrants into Europe has caught the world’s attention in recent months, with more than 1 million people streaming across the continent’s borders just last year.
To enhance our understanding of the historical roots and global dimensions of this crisis, experts from leading human rights organizations will gather at UB on April 14 for a daylong symposium on refugees, migrants, human trafficking and slavery.
Presenters will range from Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, to Evelyn Chumbow, a survivor of and activist against human trafficking.
The free, public event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 14 in 120 Clemens Hall, North Campus.
It will be followed by a scholarship fund dinner in Buffalo that benefits students interested in human rights.
Both the symposium and dinner honor the memory of Alison L. Des Forges, a member of the UB community who fought to call the world’s attention to an earlier great humanitarian crisis: the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.
Des Forges, who received her doctorate in African History from Yale University, was an internationally known historian and senior adviser to the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch based in New York City. She taught at several universities, including UB; the University of California, Berkeley; and Beijing University. She received an honorary doctorate from SUNY during UB’s 155th general commencement ceremony in 2001.
She was one of the world’s leading experts on Rwanda, serving as an expert witness in 11 trials at the United Nations International Criminal Court for Rwanda. Her award-winning book “Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda” was a landmark account of the 1994 genocide. Her tireless efforts to awaken the international community to the horrors that occurred earned her a MacArthur Fellowship in 1999.
The symposium will open with registration and welcoming remarks at 9 a.m., followed by a morning and an afternoon panel, and a final wrap-up session.
The morning panel, which runs from 9:30 a.m. to noon, is titled “From the Middle East and Africa to Europe.” It includes the following presentations:
The afternoon panel, which runs from 1-3 p.m., is titled “Within Africa and from Africa to North America.” It includes the following presentations:
The event will conclude from 3:30-4 p.m. with a brief presentation on local perspectives by Amy Fleischauer, director of survivor support services for the International Institute of Buffalo. That will be followed by a general wrap-up discussion.
Sponsors include the Alison L. Des Forges Memorial Committee, UB Asian Studies Program, UB Community for Global Health Equity, UB departments of Comparative Literature, History and Political Science, UB Humanities Institute, UB Department of Philosophy Samuel P. Capen Chair, UB Office of the Vice Provost for International Education, and UB School of Social Work.
A dinner and discussion will follow the symposium. Proceeds will support an endowment that funds Alison L. Des Forges Memorial Scholarships for graduates of the Buffalo Public Schools demonstrating a strong interest in pursuing studies at UB related to human rights and social justice.
The dinner, which costs $100 per seat, will take place from 6:30-9:30 p.m. April 14 at the Jacobs Executive Development Center, 672 Delaware Ave., Buffalo.
Reservations are required. Interested persons should contact Kathleen Curtis at 716-645-2077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.