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Amnesty International hosts human rights conference at the U of C

By Chase Little, March 5 2015 —

The University of Calgary chapter of Amnesty International (AI) will host a human rights conference in the Students’ Legislative Council’s chambers in MacHall from March 6–7.

AI U of C president Andrea Oakunsheyld said she’s excited to expose students to a world of activism happening outside Calgary.

“The human rights conference is trying to connect students to the outside world of activism and humanitarianism,” Oakunsheyld said.

Speakers include activists, victims of human rights abuses and student leaders, including Chilean political prisoner Sarah Rodriguez and AI Canada secretary general Alex Neve.

Neve has done extensive human rights work in Africa and South America, including missions to Tanzania, Guinea, Burundi, Chad and Colombia. He was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada in 2007.

Several professors will speak at the event, including women’s studies professor Rebecca Sullivan. Aboriginal rights activist Autumn Eaglespeaker will also speak alongside associate professor of business David Lertzman who will discuss the conflict between resource extraction and human rights.

Student speakers include Oakunsheyld, SU arts representative Kalista Sherbaniuk and Model UN award winner Bhagya Ramesh.

Oakunsheyld said there isn’t always an outlet for these students to get experience in activism. She hopes the conference enables them to branch out and learn from experts.

“It’s easy to talk to your professors, but students will get to connect with speakers outside the university,” she said.

The conference begins at 5 p.m. on March 6 and runs all day on March 7.


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