The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

Partners for change at the intersection of academics and advocacy.

Event Archives

Center Events: 2015-2016

April 18, 2016
Human Rights Speaker Series
“Remembering Violence and the Violence of Remembering”
Khatharya Um, University of California, Berkeley
3pm, GWB 2.206

March 1, 2016
Human Rights Speaker Series
"Personal Injury Law and International Human Rights: Litigating Toxic Injustices"
Scott Hendler, Attorney and Counselor at Law, Hendler Lyons Flores
11:45am-1:15pm, Sheffield-Massey Room (TNH 2.111), Texas Law
Presented with the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law and co-sponsored by the Environmental Law Society, the Human Rights Law Society, and the Public Interest Law Association

February 29, 2016
"Certifiably Fair: Can Consumers Monitor Human Rights?"
José Aylwin, Chilean human rights lawyer; Co-Director, Observatorio Ciudadano (Citizens’ Watch); Adjunct Professor of Law, Universidad Austral de Chile
Jessica Champagne, Director of Research and Advocacy, Worker Rights Consortium
Michael Conroy, Co-Founder of Colibri Consulting-Certification for Sustainable Development
Julia Dehm, Postdoctoral Fellows, Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice
Sean Sellers, Co-Founder and Senior Investigator, Fair Food Standards Council
The roundtable will consider the possibilities and limitations of various forms of certification regimes for the realization, enforcement and governance of human rights.
Co-sponsored with LLILAS Benson

February 15, 2016
"In and Out of Syria: A Conference on the War and the Refugee Crisis"
Organized by Sofian Merabet in the Department of Anthropology and co-sponsored by a number of entities at UT Austin

February 9, 2016
G. Rollie White Lecture
"Policing the Police: the Federal Government’s Role in Reforming Police Practices"
Christy Lopez, Deputy Chief of the Special Litigation Section, Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice
Presented by the William Wayne Justice Center and co-sponsored by a number of entities at Texas Law

February 1, 2016
Human Rights Speaker Series
"Rights, Conflict and Crises"
Hina Jilani, Prominent Human Rights Lawyer and Activist; Advocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan
Co-sponsored with the Wilson Chair in Pakistan Studies at UT Austin

November 23, 2015
Colloquium on Inequality & Human Rights
“Sustainable Development Goals: A Course Correction?”
Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Professor of International Affairs, The New School

November 11, 2015
Colloquium on Inequality & Human Rights
“This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate”
Naomi Klein, Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow, The Nation Institute; C.L. and Henriette Cline Visiting Professor in the Humanities, UT Austin
Co-sponsored with the Humanities Institute and supported by the Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies

November 10, 2015
Dialogue with 2015 Rothko Chapel Oscar Romero Awardees
“Rights, Resources, Territory: the Struggles of the Garifuna and Lenca in Honduras”
Berta Cáceres, Consejo Civil de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras
Miriam Miranda Chamorro, Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña
Moderator: Joseph Berra, Attorney, Caribbean Central American Research Council and Texas Civil Rights Project
Co-sponsored with the Rothko Chapel, Native American and Indigenous Studies, and LLILAS Benson
View participant bios here.

October 30-31, 2015
Getting Radical in the South (GRITS) Conference
Co-sponsored with the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law and the Student Affairs Office at Texas Law

October 27, 2015
Film Screening
Screening of "Resistencia: The Fight for the Aguan Valley" and Q&A with director Jesse Freeston
Co-sponsored by the Anthropology Graduate Students Association, Native American and Indigenous Studies, the Institute of Latin American Studies Student Association, and LLILAS Benson

October 26, 2015
Colloquium on Inequality & Human Rights
“Right to Development After the Collapse of Development”
Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Associate Professor of Law and Development, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Founding Director, Program on Human Rights and Justice, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Founder, Displacement Research and Action Network
Co-sponsored by the South Asia Institute

October 22, 2015
Inaugural Frances Tarlton “Sissy” Farenthold Endowed Lecture Series in Peace, Social Justice and Human Rights
“Spiraling Down: Human Rights, Endless War”
Mark Danner, Journalist and Author; Chancellor’s Professor of English and Journalism, UC Berkeley; James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities, Bard College
Co-sponsored with the Rothko Chapel and supported by the Creekmore Adele Fath Charitable Foundation. Additional support from the Department of English and the School of Law.

October 16, 2015
Production of De Novo
Co-sponsored with LLILAS Benson and the Latin America Initiative and William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law at Texas Law

October 15, 2015
Oscar Romero Award Series
“More than Land: Economic Development, Environmental Protection, and Indigenous Rights”
Charles Hale, Professor of Anthropology and Director, LLILAS Benson, UT Austin
Karen Spring, Human Rights Activist
Christine Wade, Professor of Political Science, Washington College
Co-sponsored with the Rothko Chapel and the Baker Institute at Rice University; simultaneous interpretation available

October 12, 2015
Colloquium on Inequality & Human Rights
“Croesus' World: Human Rights in the Age of Inequality”
Samuel Moyn, Professor of Law and History, Harvard University

October 7, 2015
Speech by Visiting Dignitary
“United Nations and Human Rights in the XXI Century: Progress and Challenges”
Ambassador Alberto D’Alotto, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations
Co-sponsored with the Latin America Initiative and Human Rights Law Society at Texas Law and by LLILAS Benson

October 1, 2015
Oscar Romero Award Series
“Dispossessed and In Danger: The State of Indigenous Rights”
Suzanne Benally, Executive Director, Cultural Survival
Ana Paula Hernandez, Program Officer for Latin America, Fund for Global Human Rights
Juliet Hooker, Professor of Government, UT Austin
Co-sponsored with the Rothko Chapel

September 28, 2015
Colloquium on Inequality & Human Rights
“A New Greek Tragedy?: Inequality, Human Rights and Democracy”
James Galbraith, Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations and Professor of Government, LBJ School, UT Austin
Alvaro Santos, Professor, Georgetown University Law Center
Philomila Tsoukala, Professor, Georgetown University Law Center
Co-sponsored by the Center for European Studies

Center Events: 2014-2015

April 23-24, 2015
[Annual Conference]
"Frances T. 'Sissy' Farenthold: A Noble Citizen"
This conference served as the culmination of our three-year project on Sissy Farenthold. It considered from both an historical and contemporary perspective many of the issues to which Sissy has dedicated her life. The conference was closely tied to the Frances T. “Sissy” Farenthold Papers at UT’s Briscoe Center for American History, which touch on many facets of her wide-ranging career, from her political campaigns to her important role in national and international women’s peace movements and in human rights advocacy around the world.

April 15, 2015
[Human Rights Speaker Series]
"The Arab Upheaval: Roots, Dynamics, and Prospects"
Gilbert Achcar, Professor of Development Studies and International Relations, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Co-sponsored by Texas A&M University, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Middle Eastern Studies at UT Austin
March 26, 2015
[Human Rights Speaker Series]
"Battling for Immigrants’ Rights: Litigation, Advocacy, and Government Service"
Lucas Guttentag , Senior Counselor to the Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security (on leave from positions at Yale and Stanford Law Schools)
Presented by the William Wayne Justice Center and co-sponsored by the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice and the Immigration Clinic

March 24, 2015
[Human Rights Speaker Series]
"The Ideological Origins of the Dirty War: Fascism, Populism, and Dictatorship in Twentieth-Century Argentina"
Federico Finchelstein, Associate Professor of History, Chair of the Historical Studies Department, and Director of The Janey Program in Latin American Studies, The New School for Social Research
Co-sponsored by the Institute for Historical Studies in the Department of History

March 12, 2015
[Human Rights Speaker Series]
“The Armenian Genocide and Modernity”
Peter Balakian, Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities; Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing, Colgate University
Co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Institute for Historical Studies

February 5, 2015
[Texas International Law Journal Symposium]
Immigration and Freedom of Movement
This symposium aims to explore issues concerning international trade and migrant workers; immigration detention and other restrictions on movement; and international human rights.

Co-sponsored by the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice and the Latin American Initiative at the University of Texas School of Law.

February 3, 2015
[Film Screening]
Aqui y Alla
This film follows a Mexican immigrant who returns home to a small mountain village in Guerrero, Mexico after years of working in the US, and struggles to rebuild his family and follow his dream of starting a band: the Copa Kings.

Co-sponsored by the Chicano/Hispanic Law Students' Association, the Texas Hispanic Journal of Law and Policy, the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, and the Bernard & Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice.

December 1, 2014
[World AIDS Day Conference]

November 17, 2014
[Colloquium on Health & Human Rights]
Nutrition, Gender and Food Security in Africa
  • Raj Patel, M.A., Ph.D., Research Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs, UT Austin; Visiting Professor, Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University, South Africa
November 3, 2014
[Colloquium on Health & Human Rights]
Bioethics and Human Rights: Can Human Rights Survive the Posthuman?
  • George Annas, J.D., M.P.H., William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights, Boston University School of Public Health
October 22, 2014
[Colloquium on Health & Human Rights]
What is (a) Life Worth? Genealogy and Anthropology of Inequality
  • Didier Fassin, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., James D. Wolfensohn Professor of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study
October 6, 2014
[Colloquium on Health & Human Rights]
Sexual and Reproductive Health: Inequality and Human Rights
  • Sofia Gruskin, J.D., M.I.A., Director, Program on Global Health & Human Rights and Professor of Preventive Medicine and Professor of Law, University of Southern California
September 22, 2014
[Colloquium on Health & Human Rights]
Recognizing Social Determinants of Health, Combating Health Disparities
  • Lovell Jones, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
  • Mitchell Katz, M.D., Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services

Center Events: 2013-2014

April 21, 2014
Speaker Series: Comparing European and North American Approaches to Human Rights
Approaches to Labor Rights
Mitchel Lasser, Jack G. Clarke Professor of Law and Director of Graduate Studies, Cornell Law School
Kerry Rittich, Professor, Faculty of Law and the Women's and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto

April 7, 2014
Speaker Series: Comparing European and North American Approaches to Human Rights
Approaches to Universal Jurisdiction
Juan Garcés, Spanish Attorney, Lead Counsel in criminal case against Augusto Pinochet in Spain
Michael Tigar, Emeritus Professor of the Practice of Law, Duke Law School, and Professor Emeritus of Law, Washington College of Law, American University

March 24, 2014
Speaker Series: Comparing European and North American Approaches to Human Rights
Approaches to Employment Discrimination
Laura Carlson, Associate Professor of Law, Stockholm University School of Law
Samuel Bagenstos, Professor, University of Michigan School of Law

March 3, 2014
Speaker Series: Comparing European and North American Approaches to Human Rights
Approaches to Religious Freedom and Secularism
Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, Professor Emeritus of Social Sciences, University Paris Diderot-Paris 7
Hilal Elver, Research Professor in Global Studies and Co-director of the Project on Climate Change, Human Security and Democracy, University of California, Santa Barbara
Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice, Emeritus, Princeton University, and Research Professor, Global and International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

February 28, 2014
The Health & Human Rights Working Group and FACE AIDS present:
"Exploring Black Queer Sex, Love, and Life in the Age of AIDS"
Marlon Bailey, Assistant Professor of Gender Studies and American Studies and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Theatre & Drama at Indiana University

February 17, 2014
Speaker Series: Comparing European and North American Approaches to Human Rights
Approaches to Race, Citizenship and Immigration
Liz Fekete, Executive Director, Institute of Race Relations
Leti Volpp, Robert D. and Leslie Kay Raven Professor of Law in Access to Justice, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

February 13-14, 2014
Annual Conference
Human Rights Constitutionalism: Global Aspirations, Local Realities
This conference explored the political and historical currents that led to the current focus on rights in today's constitutionalism, and the effects of this focus on the human rights agenda in different regions of the world.

February 3, 2014
Speaker Series: Comparing European and North American Approaches to Human Rights
Approaches to Counter-terrorism
Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Dorsey & Whitney Chair in Law, University of Minnesota Law School, and Professor of Law, Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster
Aziz Rana, Associate Professor of Law, Cornell University Law School

January 29, 2014
Human Rights Happy Hour Speaker Series
"Human Rights and the Politics of Migration: A Latin American Perspective"
Pablo Ceriani, Professor of Law and Coordinator of the Migration & Human Rights Program, National University of Lanús (Argentina)
Co-sponsored by LLILAS BENSON

November 22-24, 2013
"Sexual Citizenship and Human Rights: What Can the US Learn from the EU and European Law?"
This conference brought together academics, practicing attorneys and therapists, state policy makers, and activists to explore several difficult issues at the intersection of sexual self-determination and human rights.

November 14, 2013
"The Place of Israel in Asia: Settler Colonialism, Mobility, and Memory among '48 Palestinians"
Magid Shihade, Birzeit University
Co-sponsored by the Department of English, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the South Asia Institute, and Students for Islamic Awareness
Listen to audio.

November 7, 2013
"Whither the Arab Spring? Legal and Political Reflections on Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary Egypt"
Sahar Aziz, Texas A&M Law School
Jason Brownlee, Department of Government
Co-sponsored by Middle Eastern Studies and the Egyptian American Rule of Law Association

October 28, 2013
Human Rights Happy Hour Speaker Series
Donald Ferencz, Visiting Professor, Middlesex University London, and Convenor, The Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression
"Criminalizing the Illegal Use of Force: Tragedy or Triumph?"
Listen to audio.

October 7, 2013
Human Rights Happy Hour Speaker Series
Pablo de Larrañaga Monjaraz, Professor of Constitutional Law and Regulation, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)
"A Regulationist Perspective to Human Rights: Blueprint of an Inquiry"
Co-sponsored by LLILAS Benson and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Latin American Law
Listen to audio.

September 11, 2013
"The Legacies of the September 11 Coup d'état in Chile: Four Decades Later"
Co-sponsored by LLILAS Benson, the Department of Government, and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Latin American Law

Center Events: 2012-2013

April 8, 2013
"The Inter-American System of Human Rights: From an auspicious beginning to an uncertain future"
Charles Moyer, Inter-American Institute of Human Rights
Respondent: Professor Ariel Dulitzky
Listen to audio from the talk.

Speaker series audience

Frances T. "Sissy" Farenthold discusses the legacy of the Dirty Thirty, March 2013

March 28, 2013
"The Legacy of the Dirty Thirty"
This panel discussion explored a pivotal period in Texas politics in which a group of lawmakers, known as the Dirty Thirty, challenged the influence of special interest in the Legislature and the power of the House leadership.
Co-sponsored by The Texas Observer and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
View the video here!

March 26, 2013
"Prisons in Latin America: Building up the Wall of Separation between Justice and Revenge"
Miguel Sarre, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Public Law, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)
Co-sponsored by the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and the Immigration Clinic
Listen to audio from the talk.

February 25, 2013
"Zero Dark Thirty and Torture in American Discourse"
Ramzi Kassem, Associate Professor of Law and Director, Immigrant & Non-Citizen Rights Clinic, City University of New York
Presented by the Department of Anthropology, the National Security Clinic, the Rapoport Center, the Department of Sociology, and the South Asia Institute

February 7-8, 2013
Annual Conference
"Impunity, Justice and the Human Rights Agenda"
This multidisciplinary conference brought together scholars, human rights advocates and policy makers from around the world to assess critically the human rights movement's focus on anti-impunity.
Visit the conference website.

November 30, 2012
World AIDS Day Conference
"The Future of Access"
Speakers: Jeff Hitt (Texas Department of State Health Services), Matthew Kavanagh (Health GAP), and Taylor Mockler (FaceAIDS)
Co-sponsored by the Rapoport Center Health & Human Rights Working Group, FaceAIDS, and the Department of English

November 12, 2012
"From Civil Rights to Human Rights"
Ramsey Clark, Former Attorney General
Presented by the William Wayne Justice Center and the Rapoport Center
View the video here!

November 6, 2012
Human Rights Happy Hour Speaker Series
Jonathan Miller
Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School
"Borrowing a Constitution: The U.S. Constitution in Argentina and the Heyday of the Argentine Supreme Court (1853-1930)"

October 23, 2012
Human Rights Happy Hour Speaker Series
Clifford Carrubba
Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for the Study of Law, Politics, and Economics, Emory University
Matthew Gabel
Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis
"The Politics of Compliance with International Courts: A General Theory with Evidence from the European Court of Justice"

October 16, 2012
Human Rights Happy Hour Speaker Series
Mala Htun
Associate Professor of Political Science, University of New Mexico
"Politics of Inclusion: Women, Afrodescendants, and Indigenous Peoples in Latin America"

September 25, 2012
Human Rights Happy Hour Speaker Series
James Gibson
Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government and Director of the Program on Citizenship and Democratic Values, Washington University in St. Louis
"Electing Judges: The Surprising Effects of Campaigning on Judicial Legitimacy"

Center Events: 2011-2012

September 7, 2011
Guest Speaker
Jorge Enrique Taiana
Former Foreign Minister of Argentina
"Un balance delicado: El defensor de derechos humanos en un gobierno democrático"*
*Lecture will be in Spanish with simultaneous interpretation

September 7, 2011
Human Rights & the Arts Film Series
Tropa de Elite by José Padilha
Post-film discussion by Professor Daniel Brinks (Government; Rapoport Center)

September 19, 2011
Human Rights Happy Hour Speaker Series
Inderpal Grewal
Professor and Chair of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Yale University

"Humanitarian Citizenship and Race: Katrina and the Global War on Terror"

October 3, 2011
Human Rights Happy Hour Speaker Series
Catalina Smulovitz
Director, Department of Political Science and International Relations
Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (Argentina)

"Legal Inequality and Domestic Violence. Who gets what and when at the Sub national Level?"

October 17, 2011
Human Rights Happy Hour Speaker Series
Tara Melish
Associate Professor of Law & Director, Human Rights Center
University at Buffalo Law School, SUNY

"From Monuments to Ladders: Collapsing Social Rights Typologies into a More Usable, Enforcement-Oriented Schema"

October 31, 2011
Human Rights Happy Hour Speaker Series
John Ciorciari
Assistant Professor of Public Policy
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

"Archiving Memory after Mass Atrocities"

November 4, 2011
Guest Speaker
Graeme Austin
Professor, School of Law
Victoria University of Wellington

"Rights in Culture in Aotearoa, New Zealand: Treaty Rights and Human Rights"
Co-Sponsored by Professor David Adelman, Harry Reasoner Regents Chair in Law, UT Austin

November 8, 2011
Guest Speaker
Mimi Thi Nguyen
Assistant Professor of Gender and Women's Studies and Asian American Studies
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

"Of Prosthetics and Pageants"
Co-Sponsored by Center for Asian American Studies, American Studies, and Center for Women and Gender Studies

November 14, 2011
Human Rights Happy Hour Speaker Series
Henry Steiner
Professor of Law
Harvard University

"Muslims in Europe: Multiculturalism, Cultural Clash, Human Rights"

December 1, 2011
World AIDS Day Conference
AIDS, Health, and Criminality
Co-sponsored by Face AIDS and the Department of English

December 1-2, 2011
Politics of Memory: Guatemala's National Police Archive

February 20, 2012
Human Rights Happy Hour Speaker Series
Jorge Contesse
"Inter-American Constitutionalism: The Creation and Internalization of Human Rights"
Co-sponsored by the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

March 1-2, 2012
Annual Conference
Property Rights and the Human Rights Agenda
This multidisciplinary and comparative conference explored the ambivalent relationship between human rights and property and the extent to which the right to property might advance a human rights agenda. Conference panels considered such topics as changing conceptions of property, the role of property rights in dispossession and redistribution, and the implications of private titling.

April 16, 2012
Human Rights Happy Hour Speaker Series
Benjamin Gregg
"The Social Construction of Human Rights in Africa"

Center Events: 2010-2011

Annual Conference: "Aftershocks: Legacies of Conflict"

On February 17-18, 2011, the Rapoport Center's seventh annual conference capitalized on the performance of Black Watch at the University of Texas, and explored some of the same intersections of violence, the colonial past, memory, and trauma that the play invokes, as well as the unique role that performance can play in the analysis. Learn more.

Nostalgia de la Luz film screening and human rights discussion

March 7, 2011
Luis Carcamo-Huechante, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Texas at Austin
Zipporah Wiseman, University of Texas at Austin School of Law
Lucas Lixinski, Postgraduate Fellow in Human Rights, Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice
(Organized by the Rapoport Center Working Group on Human Rights & The Arts)

Human Rights Happy Hour Speaker Series: Fall 2010

  • September 27: Daniel M. Brinks and Varun Gauri, "Assessing the Distributive Impact of Social and Economic Rights Litigation: More Litigation = More Inequality?" Brinks is an Associate Professor at the Department of Government at the University of Texas. Gauri is a senior econmist in the Development Research Group of the World Bank.
  • October 11: Karen Knop, "The Informal State in International Law: the United States, Gender and Unilateralism." Knop is a professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. Lecture co-sponsored by the Center for Women's and Gender Studies.
  • October 25: Lora Wildenthal, "Asylum Rights between Left and Right: The German Case." Wildenthal is an associate professor of History and chair of the History Department at Rice University. Lecture co-sponsored by the Institute for Historical Studies.
  • November 8: Samera Esmeir, "Temporalities of Struggle: National Liberation Movements and International Strategies of Rule." Esmeir is an assistant professor in the Rhetoric Department at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • November 18: Thomas Pogge, “TRIPS, Human Rights, and the Health Impact Fund." Pogge is the Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale University. Lecture co-sponsored by the Law & Philosophy Program.
  • November 22: Paola Bergallo, "Cycles of Right to Health Litigation: The Elusive Argentine Experience.” Bergallo is a professor at the Universidad de San Andrés in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Lecture co-sponsored by LLILAS and the Center for Women's and Gender Studies.

World AIDS Week, November 15-19, 2010

Face AIDS Austin hosted a series of events throughout the week:

  • Monday, November 15, from 5-7 PM in WCH 1.110 enjoy a business-casual dinner with professionals who work for social justice.
  • Tuesday, November 16, from 7-9 PM in JGB 2.21 come see the HIV/AIDS Speaker Panel with free pizza. Speakers who study global health and social justice will field questions.
  • Wednesday, November 17, from 7-9 PM in WEL 1.316 Ransom Notes and One Note Stand will host a benefit concert centered around health equity. Tickets are $5 and will be sold outside Welch that day and at our West Mall table every weekday 10am-2pm.
  • Thursday, November 18 from 7-9:30 PM in Jester West Fire Place Lounge watch a free screening of "And the Band Played On" with free snacks.
  • Friday, November 19 1 PM SSB lobby, volunteer with the local nonprofit the Care Communities to help a local individual in need.  

Center Events: 2009-2010

Annual Conference: "Walls: What They Make and What They Break"

The conference this year was held on February 25-26, 2010, in conjunction with the Texas International Law Journal, and will result in the journal's annual symposium issue in spring 2011. Entitled "Walls: What They Make and What They Break," our 6th annual conference sought to consider a number of questions. Do walls create more conflict than have the crises they seek to contain, as has been argued, with regard to the Israel/Palestine wall? What happens when walls, once fortified and relied upon, are torn down? (Consider, for example, the consolidation of “fortress Europe” after the collapse of the Berlin wall.) Do the walls around “gated communities” – from Johannesburg to Los Angeles to Jerusalem – function in some of the same ways as border walls? And what about those who are left out of gated or walled spaces? What roles will walls play in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world? What legal structures provide the foundation for the authority to build walls, and how do those legal structures vary from nation to nation?

This event was co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute, South Asia Institute, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, School of Law, Center for American Architecture and Design, Teresa Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies and UT Libraries.

Articles and Media Coverage
  • The Statesman, UT to spotlight border walls, human rights
    February 18, 2010
    Do border walls and other barriers create more conflict than the crises they are meant to contain? What happens when walls, once fortified and relied upon, are torn down? Do the walls around gated communities — from Johannesburg to Los Angeles — function like border walls?

For more information, please visit the conference website.

"Paint for Peace" Human Rights Fair, March 11

Students were invited to join the Rapoport Center's Human Rights Student Advisory Council on March 11, 10AM-3PM on Gregory Plaza, for food and activities. They paint on the human rights mural; took part in the human rights quilt exhibit, and visited booths filled with challah French toast, calligraphy, Korean sweet pancakes, piñatas, art auctions and much more! Several of UT's student human rights organizations participated, including Amnesty International, FaceAIDS, Liberty in North Korea, Nourish International, Oxfam-UT, Rapoport Service Scholars, Texas Feminists and The White Rose Society. Please see the Paint for Peace event flyer for more information.

"Service Learning: A Roundtable Discussion on Community Engagement Programs," Tuesday, March 9

A special event in anticipation of the Ethnic & Third World Literature Group's 2010 Sequels Conference on April 8th& 9th. Participants: Alice Batt, Rhetoric &

Writing; Sean McCarthy, Rhetoric & Writing; Marion Rocco, Bridging Disciplines Program; Steven Smith, Bridging Disciplines Program; Virginia Raymond, Texas After Violence Project; and Vandana Nakka Peterson, Rapoport Center. For more information, please see the flyer.

"Canción del Cuerpo" (Song of the Body): March 5, 6 and 7, 2010

"Canción del Cuerpo" is the culmination of more than two years of collaboration between the University of Texas and el Colegio del Cuerpo. Initiated with a lecture by Restrepo at the Rapoport Center in 2008, the collaboration has grown into an ongoing project that has seen students and faculty from across the University of Texas community interact with members of el Colegio del Cuerpo, both in Austin and Cartagena, on topics ranging from dance and corporal education to human rights advocacy and law to photo-journalism and anthropology. This special program will present new works by several featured choreographers, performed by dance majors in the University's Dance Repertory Theatre together with company members of El Colegio del Cuerpo, under the Artistic Direction and The University of Texas Faculty Members Lyn C. Wiltshire and Yacov Sharir and guest choreographer Restrepo.March 5, 6 and 7: "Canción del Cuerpo" (Song of the Body)
Presented by UT Department of Theatre and Dance and Texas Performing Arts, with Special Guest Choreographer Álvaro Restrepo and el Colegio del Cuerpo, from Cartagena, Colombia, in the B. Iden Payne Theatre. View the UT Feature Story, "The Beginning of a Movement," including photographs and video.

Koji Nakano: "Innovation and Tradition: A Confluence of Asian Musical Cultures and Philosophies"

On March 5, 2010, Nakano, a Japanese composer, demonstratde his philosophies and compositional techniques with regard to multi-culturalism in twentieth and twenty-first century Western art music. He discussed his current interest in Asian traditional music, especially East and Southeast Asian musical cultures and their influence on his compositional style, and he played excerpts of recordings from his works inspired by various Asian traditional music, philosophies and spirituality. The presentation was co-sponsored by the Musicology & Ethnomusicology Division and by Texas Performing Arts. For more information, please visit the School of Music Events Calendar.

Human Rights Happy Hour Speakers, Spring 2010

  • February 8: Elizabeth Bartholet, Harvard Law School , "A Human Rights Perspective on Unparented Children & International Adoption."
  • February 22: Eduardo Restrepo, Pontífica Universidad Javeriana.
  • March 8: María Victoria Uribe, Colombian National Commission of Reparations and Reconciliation.
  • March 29: Adeno Addis, Tulane University, "Neither Members nor Strangers: Imagining 'The People' in the Age of the Diaspora."
  • April 19: Cecilia Medina, President, Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Third Annual World AIDS Day Conference: December 1, 2009

The third annual World AIDS Day Conference sponsored by the Health and Human Rights Working Group of the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice was held on Tuesday, December 1, 2009, from 9 to 3 in the Texas Union Governors' Room. This year's conference explored aspects of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic that concern issues of public memory, human rights, documentation, and representation. Please see the conference schedule.

After the conference, the Center for Women's and Gender Studies screened the award-winning documentary Where the Water Meets the Sky at 4:45 p.m. in the Glen Maloney Room (SSB G1.310). Narrated by Morgan Freeman, Where the Water Meets the Sky is the story of a remarkable group of women in a remote region of northern Zambia who are given the opportunity to learn how to make a film. Their topic? The plight of young women orphaned by AIDS.

Human Rights Happy Hour Speakers, Fall 2009

  • Sarah Snyder, Cassius Marcellus Clay Fellow, Department of History, Yale University, "The Development and Influence of Helsinki Watch"
  • Lisa Hajjar, Associate Professor & Department Chair, Law and Society, University of California, Santa Barbara, "Does Torture Work?"
  • Murhabazi Namegabe, Director, Bureau pour le Volontariat au Sevice de l'Enfance et de la Santé (BVES), Democratic Republic of the Congo, "Children and Armed Conflict "
  • Gillian Slovo, South African born novelist, playwright and memoirist, "Ruth First and the South African Struggle"

Center Events 2008-2009

(under construction)

Center Events: 2007-2008

Conference on the Legacy of El Salvador's Civil War

The fourth annual conference of the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice took place on April 17 and 18, 2008. Image, Memory and the Paradox of Peace: Fifteen Years after the El Salvador Peace Accords was organized around the recent acquisition by the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center of a historic collection of photojournalistic work documenting El Salvador’s twelve-year civil war. In coordination with the UT School of Journalism’s Donna DeCesare, the Rapoport Center planned a stimulating and unique forum for discussion and debate concerning human rights, engaged from a variety of perspectives ranging from foreign policy to the visual arts. The conference included the opening of the exhibition “Inside El Salvador” at the Ransom Center with some of its featured photographers in attendance, as well as a closing session on the legacy of martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero led by representatives of The Rothko Chapel in Houston. In addition, a number of panels offered perspectives on El Salvador’s civil war, focusing particularly on the ways images have created a narrative on violence and human rights that informs our understanding of the country’s past, present, and future. In the spirit of the Rapoport Center, the conference brought together a multidisciplinary group of academics, activists, artists and policy-makers to explore the relationship between the local and the global, as well as the economic and the political. The Salvadoran civil war was discussed not merely as an episode of history, but also as a legacy whose effects – both tangible and intangible – are obvious in the country to this day. For more information, please see the conference home pageor read the press release.

Center Events: 2006-2007

Human Rights Happy Hour Speakers, Spring 2007

On April 23rd, Garifuna artist Andy Palacio presented a talk entitled, "How Does One Assign Value to Culture?" The discussion, which explored the history, music and cultural survival of the Garifuna, also featured a special acoustic performance by this renowned musician. Andy Palacio is not only the most popular musician in Belize, he is also a serious music and cultural archivist with a deep commitment to preserving his unique Garifuna culture (read more about Garifuna culture). Long a leading proponent of Garifuna popular music and a tireless advocate for the maintenance of the Garifuna language and traditions, in December 2004 he was appointed Cultural Ambassador and Deputy Administrator of the National Institute of Culture and History. Listen to the presentation.

On April 11, Mexico City writer, director and producer Julio Solórzano Foppa presented a talk entitled, "Human Rights in Guatemala." In particular, his lecture addressed the case of his mother, Alaíde Foppa, who was kidnapped and disappeared by the Guatemalan Army in 1980. As Alaíde Foppa was a feminist, poet, art critic and university professor, Mr. Solórzano Foppa discussed their efforts for justice in Guatemala. An audio recording of the discussion will be posted online soon.

On March 27th, University of Houston anthropology professor Christine Kovic presented a talk entitled, "Central American Migrants and Mexico's Southern Border: Human Rights and the Criminalization of Poor Workers." Professor Kovic's previous research explores issues of indigenous rights and the Catholic Church in highland Chiapas. Her presentation focused on her recent research on the human rights of Central American migrants crossing southern Mexico in their journey to the United States.

On March 6th, Professors Derek Jinks and Scott Sullivan of the University of Texas School of Law presented a talk entitled, “Rule of Law in Wartime: The Issues and the Academic Program.” Jinks and Sullivan, along with a few of their students, discussed their unique law seminar, in which students work closely with the instructors in the legal representation of individuals detained at the US military base on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The casework serves as a vehicle for the exploration of several issues that have broader jurisprudential significance for the role of law in war, and topics covered in the course include the designation of persons as “enemy combatants;” military tribunals; detention; interrogation; and the role of the judiciary in time of war. An audio recording of the talk can be accessed here.

On February 20th, Professor Robert D. King of the University of Texas Linguistics Department presented a talk entitled, "Language Rights?" King's lecture addressed various language issues, such as whether English should be declared the official language of the United States and what rights we have or should have in regard to language. Professor King is the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Regents Chair of Jewish Studies and Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Linguistics Department at UT. His most recent publications include Nehru and the Language Politics of India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996) and “Does One Nation Equal One Language?” (The Atlantic Monthly, April 1997). The thread running through his current work is the relationship among language, ethnicity, nationhood, and politics in the largest sense of the word.

On February 5th, the Rapoport Center welcomed our first speaker for the Spring 2007 Human Rights Happy Hour! Author Rachel Holmes presented a reading and discussion of her most recent book, African Queen: the Real Life of the Hottentot Venus (2007). African Queen is a probing look at historical racism and sexual exploitation presented through the life of an extraordinary woman, Saartjie Baartmen, the so-called Hottentot Venus, exhibited in 1810 in London and Paris. Holmes is a writer, broadcaster, columnist and reviewer, as well as an activist on behalf of HIV positive people in South Africa.

Conference on Gender and Globalization

On April 12th and 13th, the Rapoport Center co-sponsored a conference organized by students of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. The conference, entitled "Gender, Globalization and Governance," explored various themes related to gender, globalization and governance, including women's human rights activism, violence, challenges of the feminization of migration, women in the informal labor market, and the gendered nature of the HIV/AIDS crisis. For more information, please visit the conference website or read the Press Release.

Activist Scholarship Conference: Abriendo Brecha IV

The fourth annual conference on Activist Scholarship in the Americas took place on February 22-24. Abriendo Brecha IV drew together scholars, activists, artists and others whose research and creative intellectual work is developed and carried out in alignment with communities, organizations, movements or networks working for social justice. This year’s conference theme was "Public Education, Marginalized Publics, and the Politics of Insurgency." The conference explored how research, and intellectual and artistic production can engage with issues of public education, broadly defined. The Rapoport Center co-sponsored a panel entitled, "Human Rights Clinics in Latin America," which featured a discussion with four human rights experts on existing types of clinics in Latin America, the relationships between the clinics and their clients, the pedagogical methodology used, the way cases are selected, and the possibility of creating a human rights clinic at the University of Texas. Also, Rapoport Center Human Rights Scholar Annelies Lottman was featured in the workshop, "The Living Newspapers Across the Disciplines and The Free Minds Project," along with several people involved with community activism, including the Humanities Institute’s Living Newspapers Program and The Free Minds Project. The discussion focused on performance as an educational and political tool for human rights and justice.

Internship and Field Research Workshop

On February 9th, a select group of faculty representing a range of academic disciplines gave presentations on both quantitative and qualitative field research methodologies. The workshop also covered details about the application process for the Center for Latin American Social Policy's (CLASPO) Summer Funding Program. Finally, Rapoport Center Human Rights Scholars Elise Harriger and Rachel Lopez provided information about internship opportunities in Latin America. The worshop was co-sponsored by CLASPO, LLILAS and the Rapoport Center. For more information, please see the workshop program , or contact Paloma Diaz, at (512) 232-2409 or

27th Annual Student Conference on Latin America

On February 1st through 3rd, the Rapoport Center co-sponsored the 27th Annual Conference of the Institute of Latin American Studies Student Association (ILASSA), the oldest student-run academic conference on Latin America in the world. Nearly 100 undergraduate and graduate students from Texas and the U.S., as well as Canada, Bolivia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Puerto Rico, and Europe presented their research. Student research varied in academic discipline and subject, but included remittances and the economics of immigration, national identity, social movements, and indigenous rights. Discussion moderated by UT faculty and doctoral candidates followed each student presentation. For more information, please visit the conference website or contact Catherine Pees Scott at (512) 659-8426 or

Conference on Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy

On December 1st and 2nd, the Rapoport Center hosted a conference on "The Life and Legacy of George Lister: Reconsidering Human Rights, Democracy and U.S. Foreign Policy." The conference was co-sponsored by the Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies and the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law.

Called "Mr. Human Rights" by historian Arthur Schlesinger, George Lister served at the State Department for six tumultuous decades, from the 1940s until 2002. Lister was particularly effective at drawing attention to the cause of human rights in Latin America, serving as the Department's first Human Rights Officer in the Latin American bureau. Lister's papers were donated to the Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas in July 2005, providing the Rapoport Center an opportunity to initiate critical research and discussion on the institutionalization of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, and, more generally, on the struggle to promote human rights in Latin America.

The conference used Lister as a launching point for exploring various themes related to human rights policy development, including the institutionalization of human rights in U.S. foreign policy decision-making, the relationship between NGOs and the State Department, and the role of mid-level bureaucrats in shaping U.S. foreign policy. As Lister was a specialist in Latin America, U.S. foreign policies towards Latin America formed the basis of a large portion of the discussion, with special emphasis on the countries where Lister was most involved.

Watch video of the conference proceedings (video courtesy of Donald Dodson). More information on Lister may be found on the conference home page and on our George Lister Resources page.

National Guantánamo Teach-In

On Thursday, October 5th, the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice joined 200 other schools in 44 states in a nationwide, day-long teach-in on the detentions in Guantánamo. The day’s events included a real-time webcast of panel discussions followed by a live photo presentation, play reading and discussion of the role of the arts in human rights advocacy.

A video of the play reading, "Guantánamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom," can be viewed here. Human Rights Scholar Annelies Lottmann produced the performance and several of the actors are UT Law students, including Human Rights Scholars Rachel Lopez and Radney Wood.

Read more about this multi-media event in the press release.

Human Rights Happy Hour Speakers, Fall 2006

On September 25th, the Rapoport Center welcomed our first speaker for the Fall 2006 Human Rights Happy Hour! Professor Thomas Franck of New York University presented a talk entitled, "State Responsibility in the Era of Individual Criminal Culpability." The presentation was based on Professor Franck’s current representation of Bosnia in its genocide case against Serbia before the International Court of Justice.

On October 9th, Professor Liliana Obregon of the Universidad de los Andes Law School in Bogotá, Colombia presented a talk entitled, "A Historical Look at the Inter-American System of Human Rights." Professor Obregon specializes in the history and theory of international law and international institutions in Latin America, and also studies comparative systems of human rights protection and third world approaches to international law.

On October 23rd, Professor Amr Shalakany of the American University in Cairo, Egypt, presented a talk entitled, "Comparative Law as Archeology: On Sodomy, Islamic Law and the Human Rights Activist." Professor Shalakany served as legal advisor to the PLO Negotiations Support Unit in Ramallah during the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process and has taught at Harvard Law School and Birzeit University.

On November 6th, Denise Gilman of Georgetown University Law Center presented a talk entitled, "Calling the United States' Bluff: How Sovereign Immunity Undermines the United States' Claim to an Effective Domestic Human Rights System." Ms. Gilman has worked for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Human Rights First, and the Washington Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights and Urban Affairs.

On Monday, November 20th, Dr. Rosalva Aída Hernández Castillo of the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology in Mexico presented a talk entitled, "Indigenous Peoples of Mexico and their Struggles for Rights: Gender Perspective on Cultural Citizenship." Dr. Hernández Castillo is an anthropologist and activist who lived in Chiapas for fifteen years. She is currently exploring new and old opportunities for power through indigenous women, collective organization, and daily resistance by analyzing the comparative histories of indigenous women's initiatives in Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Veracruz.

More information about the Happy Hour speakers in the series may be found on our Human Rights Speaker Series page.

Chiapas Weaver Speaker Event

On Thursday, November 9th, the Rapoport Center co-sponsored a speaker event entitled, "Weaving Consciousness: Women and Indigenous Identity in Chiapas, Mexico." Celia Santiz Ruiz, founding member of the Mayan women's weaving cooperative, Jolom Mayaetik, spoke about her experiences as an indigenous woman living in Chiapas, Mexico. The event was co-sponsored by ILASSA, Humanities Institute, Center for Women's and Gender Studies, College of Liberal Arts, LLILAS, and the Mexican Center. For more information, please contact Kristen Petros at

Immigration Events

On Wednesday, November 15th, the Rapoport Center presented “Immigrants and U.S. Workers: The Paradox of Non-Citizen Worker Rights,” a talk with Michele Wucker, author of LOCKOUT: Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong When Our Prosperity Depends on Getting It Right. Wucker’s discussion addressed several challenging questions: “Who benefits from competing proposals to either make it easier for foreign-born workers to get jobs legally, or to make it harder for those who came here under wink-wink-nod-nod laws to continue to live and work in this country? What kinds of policies will best balance the economic interests of immigrant workers and U.S. citizens? Can protecting the rights of non-citizens paradoxically leave U.S. citizens better off?” The event was taped for public access television by the local chapter of the ACLU. Read more about Wucker and her publications.

On Monday, November 20th, the Rapoport Center co-sponsored a free public screening of local filmmaker Heather Courtney’s critically acclaimed documentary Letters from the Other Side,” a film about Mexican immigration. What made the screening so special was that the women featured in the film were finally granted Visitor Visas eight months after they were initially denied, and they were at the screening to talk with the audience in a Q&A directly following the film. The theater where the event took place was sold out, with many people sitting on the floor! Read more about the film and watch a trailer.