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Bringing Oscar Romero's Spirit Home

The 2023 Romero Human Rights Award ceremony and symposium is scheduled for March 24, 2023 - the anniversary of Saint Oscar Romero’s assassination. The theme for this year's Romero Award is the human right to housing, including the challenges of affordability and gentrification, eviction and displacement, homelessness and criminalization. The aim is to highlight innovative and sustainable solutions that shift housing systems and their relationship to land towards respect for human dignity, equity, and justice on the local, national, and global levels.


Romero Series

March 24, 1980

Anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, a martyr for the faith.

Human Right to Housing

Combating the challenges of affordability and gentrification, eviction and displacement, homelessness and criminalization.


Rob Robinson

The 2023 recipient of the Romero Human Rights Awardis a formerly homeless community organizer and activist based in New York City. His work focuses on changing people’s fundamental relationship to land and housing. He works with social movements around the world including the Movement of People Affected by Dams in Brazil (MAB), the Landless Workers Movement in Brazil (MST), Abahlali baseMjondolo in South Africa (the Shackdwellers movement), and the Platform of People Affected by Mortgages in Spain (the PAH). Rob is the USA-Canada Coordinator of International Alliance of Inhabitants, an alliance of 12,000 members worldwide which supports a Zero Evictions Platform. As a longtime member of the US Human Rights Network, his work is framed in international human rights law. In the US he works with communities on several social issues including, poverty and debt, police violence against the poor, gentrification, and access to broadband. He is a regular guest lecturer at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He has lectured at several US law school human rights institutes, including the University of Miami, Northeastern University Massachusetts, University of California at Berkeley, and Harvard. Rob is currently an adjunct professor of Urbanism in the Design and Urban Ecology program at Parsons New School University

Watch this 8-part docuseries that includes Rob and his work surrounding NYC housing struggles here: >>

Launch of the new MCP exhibit

The Romero Human Rights Award Ceremony reception will launch the new exhibit from the Moral Courage Project - UnHousing: Claiming the Human Right to Home - based on work conducted by our student team in Oakland, California in Spring 2022.




Schedule of Events

Symposium - 2:30-4:30pm - Courtroom, Keller Hall


Paul Benson - Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs

Opening Prayer

Molly Bardine - Chaminade Julienne High School


Ann Hudock is the president and chief executive officer of Counterpart International. She transforms organizations to achieve mission impact. Her career is dedicated to supporting leaders, organizations, and networks globally. She started her career in Sierra Leone supporting small farmers, including women’s cooperatives. Through this work, she learned the centrality of governance to development outcomes. An expert in civil society and media sector strengthening, her career spans more than three decades and includes for profit, nonprofit, and public sector leadership roles. Earlier in her career, she served in the United States Department of State working for the Under Secretary of Global Affairs as the special assistant for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. The government of Vietnam awarded her two medals for fostering the bilateral relationship. The University of Dayton named her a Distinguished Alumni. Dr. Hudock serves on the Millennium Challenge Corporation advisory council and chairs the advisory committee of the Human Rights Center at the University of Dayton. She served on the advisory committee for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and the board of the Association for Women in Development.

  1. Cassia Bechara has been a militant of the Landless Rural Workers Movement – MST since 2001. Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST) in Portuguese, is a mass social movement, formed by rural workers and by all those who want to fight for land reform and against injustice and social inequality in rural areas. She initially worked in the state of Pernambuco. She has coordinated camps and is now the National Director of the Movement's Internationalism Sector. Graduated in Social Communication.
  2. Siya Hegde (She, Her, Hers) earned her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Her passion for human rights led her to pursue internships at the Wake County Office of the Public Defender in Raleigh, North Carolina; the Southern Africa Litigation Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa; and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. While her Research Assistant experience at the Wilson Center reinforced her commitment to written scholarship, her work in public defense pushed her to examine the justice system’s civil structural barriers and their effects on indigent communities. In South Africa, Siya engaged in regional impact litigation initiatives defending the sexual and reproductive rights of girls in poor school districts, land rights of rural widows, and methods of promoting transparency in the prison system. As a law student, she coordinated the Community Outreach Program, advocated in the Domestic and Sexual Violence Clinic, competed on the International Moot Court Team, and served as the Executive Editor of the North Carolina Journal of International Law. She graduated from Colby College in 2013, where she received her B.A. in Environmental Policy.
  3. JoAnn Kamuf Ward is the Deputy Commissioner for Policy and External Affairs at the NYC Commission on Human Rights, where she works to advance equity and address all forms of discrimination, with a focus on housing, employment and public accommodations.  She also serves on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies (IAOHRA), a membership organization that supports and connects state and local human rights agencies across the country. Prior to joining the Commission, JoAnn directed the Human Rights in the U.S. Project at the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute (HRI) and led projects with the Law School's Human Rights Clinic. At HRI, she promoted the use of the human rights framework to strengthen racial, gender, and socio-economic justice, and enhance government accountability, with a focus on creating resources to foster human rights implementation at the state and local level. Prior to joining HRI, JoAnn worked in the general litigation group at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, and with the Fordham Law School Leitner Center for International Law & Justice. She has written about U.S. human rights policy on Just Security and Politico, and authored several law review articles. JoAnn lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two children.
  4. Shenise Turner-Sloss is a native of Dayton who works as a Logistics Management Specialist with the federal government and has over ten years of local and federal government experience in community development, logistics, and project and program management. A proud graduate of Dayton Public Schools, Shenise graduated from Fisk University with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and a Masters of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University in General/Public Administration. Shenise’s deep concern and passion for the stability of Dayton’s neighborhoods sparked the development of the non-profit organization “Neighborhoods Over Politics.” Serving as one of the co-founders for the organization, Shenise is a strong independent voice who is committed to neighborhood redevelopment and the economic sustainability of communities. In fact, she has procured and administered local projects totaling in excess of $7.6 million.
  5. Noni SessionEast Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative (Oakland)



  1. Caitlin Schroering - is an Assistant Professor at UNC Charlotte. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies from the University of Florida, and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Denison University. Her research coalesces around multiple areas of social inquiry, including environmental sociology, resource conflicts, the human right to water, political economy, and transnational social movements, using feminist and anti-colonial research methodologies. Her primary line of research is based on extensive fieldwork with two movements fighting against water privatization, one in Brazil and one in the United States. 
  2. Leilani Farha (Video) is a Canadian lawyer who is the Global Director of THE SHIFT, a housing initiative, and former United Nations special rapporteur on adequate housing.
  3. Elisa Estronioli is a member of the National Coordination of the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB) and has lived for 10 years in Altamira (PA), the region affected by the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest. She has a degree in journalism from the University of São Paulo and a master's degree in geography from the Federal University of Pará.
  4. International Alliance of Inhabitants is a global network of associations and social movements of inhabitants, cooperatives, communities, tenants, house owners, homeless, slum dwellers, indigenous populations and people from working class neighborhoods. The objective is the construction of another possible world starting from the achievement of the housing and city rights.


Musical Interlude - 4:30-5pm - Atrium, Keller Hall

Light refreshments

Performance by the World House Choir

Award Ceremony - 5-6pm - Courtroom, Keller Hall

Caitlin Cipolla-McCulloch is a doctoral student at the University of Dayton in the Department of Religious Studies. She teaches an intro course in theology and religious studies to undergraduates. She holds two bachelor's degrees from the University of Dayton and a master’s degree from Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary and School of Theology. Her emerging research areas engage intersections of Latin American studies and theology, Mariology, and the Marianist Charism. She was the recipient of the Marianist Student Award as well as was a fellow at the Fund for Theological Education. She served for 3 years on the National Leadership Council of the Marianist Lay Community of North America and has been a committed member of the Ahava Lay Marianist community for over 10 years. She is a member of the College Theology Society, the American Academy of Religion, and the Mariological Society of America.

President Eric Spina

Eric F. Spina has served as president of the University of Dayton, a top-tier national Catholic research university, since July 1, 2016.

He quickly earned a reputation on campus and beyond for his open and collaborative leadership style that led to the development of an imaginative 20-year aspirational strategic vision rooted in the University’s Marianist heritage. Under his leadership, the University is navigating through the greatest public health crisis of our times as it charts a path toward becoming known as “The University for the Common Good.”

An engaged, energetic leader, Dr. Spina has made investments in initiatives targeted toward increasing diversity and accessibility, key strategic focal areas of his presidency. During his tenure, UD’s student body has established new records for size, academic quality, and racial and socioeconomic diversity. Nearly one in five entering first-year students in fall 2022 is from historically underrepresented racial/ ethnic groups. Approximately 17 percent also are eligible for federal Pell Grants, a marker of socioeconomic diversity, and 9 percent of the incoming class are the first in their families to attend college.

Romero Human Rights Awardee

Rob Robinson

Ifeanyi Nwanoro

Reception - 6-7pm - Atrium, Keller Hall

Launch of “UnHousing: Claiming the Human Right to Home,” exhibit based on work conducted by our student team in Oakland, California in Spring 2022.

Reflections will be provided by students and faculty: Ahmi’ Moore, Amariá Jones, Reagan Miller, Joel Pruce and Natalie Hudson.


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Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2790
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