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University of Dayton conference to address human rights threats, reinvigorate efforts to build innovative ways to combat them

The University of Dayton Human Rights Center's Social Practice of Human Rights Conference Oct. 1-4 will bring together internationally known speakers and researchers to explore the future of human rights as it relates to social, economic and environmental, and technological transformations in society. The conference's keynote and plenary addresses are free and open to the public. All events take place in Daniel J. Curran Place.

"We hope the conference bridges the divide between scholars and practitioners, bringing them together in one place for critical reflection on human rights research and advocacy," said Shelley Inglis, executive director of the Human Rights Center. "We will address urgent, high-risk threats and hopefully reinvigorate sustainable movements and innovative methods that not only counter these threats but also build a better future of human rights, even when it means, to quote Pope Francis, 'going against the grain.'"

#BlackLivesMatter co-founder Opal Tometi (7 p.m. Oct. 1); author and New York Times contributing opinion writer Zeynep Tufekci (7 p.m. Oct. 2), a 'techno-sociologist' known for her research on the social implications of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data on 21st century social movements; and MSNBC political analyst Anand Giridharadas (7 p.m. Oct. 3) are the keynote speakers.

Plenary sessions (9-11 a.m. Oct. 2; 4-6 p.m. Oct. 2; and 2-4 p.m. Oct. 3) will discuss the role of the human rights movement in supporting change across social and political, environmental-economic and technological systems.

Tometi is also the executive director of the United States' first national immigrant rights organization for people of African descent, Black Alliance for Just Immigration. In 2018, she was a recipient of a VH1 Trailblazer honor and was a Frederick Douglass 200 Awardee for her groundbreaking contributions to contemporary social movements. In 2016, Tometi and her fellow #BlackLivesMatter co-founders received the Glamour Women of the Year Award, BET’s Black Girls Rock Community Change Agent Award, and recognition by Fortune, POLITICO and Marie Claire.

Tufekci is an associate professor in the University of North Carolina School of Information and Library Science and author of Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest. She also has appointments with UNC's department of sociology and the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. She was previously an Andrew Carnegie fellow and a fellow at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University. A book signing will follow Tufecki's address.

Giridharadas also is an editor-at-large for TIME and a visiting scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. He is the author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World; The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas, about a Muslim immigrant's campaign to spare from death row the white supremacist who tried to kill him; and India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's Remaking, about returning to the India his parents left. He also has written for The Atlantic and The New Yorker, among others. A book signing will follow his talk.

In addition to the keynote addresses and plenary sessions, the conference will have a mix of workshops facilitated by the Human Rights Center’s partner JustLabs, roundtables, art exhibits and performances, panels and research sessions featuring research submitted by scholars and practitioners. Topics include fake news, white supremacy, immigration and migrant and refugee rights, Catholic and Islamic approaches to religious freedom, climate and economic justice, corporate accountability and grassroots activism, among others. The conference also will be featured on the web platform, OpenGlobalRights, which showcases analysis on critical human rights issues. 

Register for the free, public keynote and plenary sessions or the full conference here. The conference also is free for UD faculty, staff and students. The cost is $250 to attend the full conference; day passes are available for $70. For more information about the conference, visit the Social Practice of Human Rights 2019 website or contact the University of Dayton Human Rights Center at Click here for the full schedule of events.

For more information or interviews, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at 937-229-3391 or


News and Communications Staff