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Saturday, May 18, 2024
University celebrates anniversary of human-rights document

hghgh: Micheline Ishay, director of the International Human Rights Program at the University of Denver, spoke about the progress made in activism since the writing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

University celebrates anniversary of human-rights document

The UW-Madison Human Rights Initiative hosted Micheline Ishay Monday as part of its Fall Lecture Series to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

 

Ishay, professor and director of the International Human Rights Program in the Korbel School at the University of Denver, spoke about the progress made in the area of human rights since 1948.  

 

The Dane County United Nations Association brought Ishay to Madison and asked UW-Madison's HRI to host the historian for a lecture at the university.  

 

In her lecture, Ishay used 20-year intervals to illuminate the journey of human rights from 1948 to 2008.  

 

Each [interval] represents moments of dramatic struggle '¦ They represent affirmations that can also generate new human rights responses - responses that will be deepened and golden as the meaning of human rights,"" Ishay said. 

 

Scott Straus, a UW-Madison political science professor and member of the Human Rights Initiative, said Ishay's focus on progress is essential for the future of human rights. 

 

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""She pushed us to reflect on the 60th anniversary of this landmark document of the Universal [Declaration] of Human Rights. The questions she raised are really important for all of our futures,"" he said.  

 

According to Ishay, a poster display at an airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, inspired her to think about the future of human rights. She said she started to picture a poster for each 20-year interval to depict the progress of human-rights activism.  

 

Ishay said two images came to mind when depicting a poster to represent human-rights activism after 2008.  

 

""The United States is at a crossroads, and I see two images: an image of an angel of death with a black hood resembling the ones we saw at Abu Ghraib, and then I see the angel of progress,"" she said.  

 

Ishay emphasized the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

 

""It would be clearly wrong to conclude that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has left no imprint in history,"" she said. ""We would not be here talking today in this manner if it was not for this documentation.""  

 

Ishay is also the author and editor of several books, including ""Internationalism and its Betrayal,"" ""The Nationalism Reader"" and ""The History of Human Rights."" 

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