Human Rights Education Program

Oscar winner to be honored at SMU human rights symposium

Rob EpsteinFilmmaker Rob Epstein (right), director and writer of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival hit “Howl” and the Oscar-winning documentary “The Times of Harvey Milk,” will be honored during the 2010 SMU Media and Human Rights Symposium. “Tribute! A Conversation With Rob Epstein” begins at 7 p.m. April 6 in the Angelika Film Center at Mockingbird Station.

The event kicks off the two-day symposium, cosponsored by SMU and the Division of Cinema-Television in Meadows School of the Arts. Symposium panels are scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 7 in the Meadows Museum and will focus on how the media impacts human rights in America. Themed sessions will explore justice in journalism; new media and human rights; media and the death penalty; and media, race, ethics and justice.

Rick Halperin, director of SMU’s Human Rights Education Program, will serve as keynote speaker during a luncheon April 7. Halperin is a former chair of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA.

Regional and national leaders participating in the symposium include:

SMU participants and moderators include Meadows Dean José Antonio Bowen; Craig Flournoy, Division of Journalism, Sean Griffin, Derek Kompare and Rachel Lyon, Division of Cinema-TV; Mark McPhail, Division of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs; and Tom Mayo, Dedman School of Law.

The symposium is free and open to the public. Reservations are required for all events and can be made through the SMU Cinema-Television Division, 214-768-2129.

Calendar Highlights: Nov. 10, 2009

Plantation store, 1939Clements Center Brown Bag Lecture: Clements Center Fellow Sarah Cornell examines the clashes between workers and planters in early 20th-century Mississippi and Louisiana in “Planters and Peons: Mexican Workers in the U.S. South” at noon Nov. 11 in the Texana Room, DeGolyer Library. Bring your lunch. For more information, contact the Clements Center for Southwest Studies, 214-768-3684. (Right, African American and Mexican cotton pickers in a plantation store, Mississippi Delta, 1939.)

“Holocaust Legacies” symposium: A panel of Holocaust historians, educators and survivors – as well as gerontologists, social workers and pastoral care clergy – will discuss findings from a study on resilience, forgiveness and survivorship among older Holocaust survivors in “Holocaust Survivors: Stories of Resilience.” Presenters include Roberta R. Greene, School of Social Work, University of Texas; and Harriet L. Cohen, Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Department of Social Work, TCU. The symposium takes place 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Nov. 12 in the Great Hall, Perkins Prothro Hall, and is part of the “Holocaust Legacies: Shoah as Turning Point” series presented by SMU’s Human Rights Education Program.

A song in their hearts: The Dallas Opera/SMU Emerging Artist Program presents Opera in a Box: Follow Your Dreams, written and directed by Meadows Opera Theatre Director Hank Hammett. Using props and costumes, four aspiring opera singers share their personal passions, experiences and joys while creating some of their favorite characters onstage. The performance is sung in English and begins at 1 p.m. Nov. 13 in the Taubman Atrium, Owen Arts Center. Cosponsored by The Dallas Morning News. Free and open to the public.

Meadows Wind EnsembleSix by Tenn: The Meadows Wind Ensemble (right) leads an evening of music and poetry featuring mezzo-soprano and SMU Professor Virginia Dupuy in a performance of Warren Benson’s Shadow Wood: Six Poems of Tennessee Williams, composed on commission for the Meadows Wind Ensemble and featured on the Ensemble’s first commercial CD in the late 1990s. The program also features Joseph Schwantner’s Music of Amber with Meadows pianist and professor Samuel Holland as guest soloist, Augusta Read Thomas’s Magneticfireflies and a set of works by Toru Takemitsu. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Nov. 13 in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 each for students, faculty and staff members. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 ((214-SMU-ARTS).

“Meadows at the Bath House” Series: The Meadows School of the Arts faculty jazz quintet Jampact will perform with videographers and movement artists using live cameras and improvisation to create a unique performance experience. The show begins at 8 p.m. Nov. 13 in the Bath House Cultural Center on White Rock Lake, 521 E. Lawther Drive. Tickets are $5 each. For more information, contact Kim Corbet at 214-542-5663 or visit the Bath House Cultural Center website.

Calendar Highlights: Nov. 3, 2009

Akira SatoAll that jazz: SMU’s Meadows Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Akira Sato (right) presents an evening of small-group jazz featuring classic works such as Stella by Starlight by Victor Young, Take Five by Dave Brubeck, Windows by Chick Corea and Groovin’ High by Dizzy Gillespie. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Nov. 3 in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Free and open to the public. For more information, call the Division of Music at 214-768-1951.

Maguire Public Scholar Lecture: Law Professor Jenia Turner will examine the limits of advocacy in representing clients accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide in “Ethical Dilemmas of International Criminal Defense Attorneys,” part of the “Holocaust Legacies: Shoah as Turning Point” series. The lecture takes place noon-1 p.m. Nov. 5 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center West and Central Ballrooms; heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served at 11:30 a.m. Presented by SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility and Human Rights Education Program. Free and open to the public; no RSVP necessary.

Gilbert Lecture Series: Poet Jeff Dolven, professor of Renaissance literature at Princeton University and author of Scenes of Instruction in Renaissance Romance, speaks on “Styles of Disjunction” Nov. 5 in DeGolyer Library. Reception at 6 p.m. in the Texana Room; lecture at 6:30 p.m. in the Stanley Marcus Reading Room. Free and open to the public. Presented by the Department of English, Dedman College.

Meadows Chamber Music Showcase: Performers will present chamber works ranging from the early Classical period to the 20th century at 8 p.m. Nov. 6 and 2 p.m. Nov. 8 in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Free and open to the public. For more information, call the Division of Music, 214-768-1951.

Calendar Highlights: Sept. 15, 2009

Illuminated Paris Vulgate, ca. 1250, from SMU's Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible CollectionGood books: Nearly 60 remarkable bibles – including Medieval, Renaissance, Reformation and early American editions – are on view in “The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection” in the Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries, Bridwell Library, through Dec. 11, 2009. For more information call 214-768-3483 or visit the Bridwell Library website. (Right, a page from an illuminated Paris Vulgate, ca. 1250.)

Patriotic pride: SMU celebrates Constitution Day 2009 at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 17 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Commons. The Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution and the traveling Liberty Bell will be present, and cake and punch will be served. For more information, contact Mariana Sullivan, 214-768-4498.

Remembering a pioneer: Author and editor Charlotte Whaley will give a lecture on her latest work – a collection of memoirs by Alice Marriott, one of the first women in the Southwest to hold an advanced degree in anthropology and who studied Southwestern American Indian culture. Reception at 6 p.m., lecture at 6:30 p.m., followed by a book signing for Alice Marriott Remembered. All events take place in SMU’s DeGolyer Library. Sponsored by Friends of the SMU Libraries/Colophon and DeGolyer Library. For more information, call 214-768-3225.

“Holocaust Legacies” lecture: Georgetown University Professor of Philosophy Thomas Beauchamp, senior research scholar with the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and primary author of the Belmont Report, will participate in a lecture and panel discussion, “From the Nuremburg Code to the Belmont Report and the Final Rule: The Protection of Human Research Subjects in the 21st Century,” Sept. 17 in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. Reception at 6:30 p.m., lecture at 7 p.m. Presented by SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility and Human Rights Education Program as part of “Holocaust Legacies: Shoah as Turning Point.” Free and open to the public.

'Galileo Goes to Jail' book coverStanton Sharp Lecture: Author, editor and historian Ronald L. Numbers (Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths About Science and Religion), Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will discuss “Anti-Evolution in America: From Creation Science to Intelligent Design” Sept. 18 in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. Reception at 3:30 p.m., lecture at 4 p.m. Sponsored by SMU’s Clements Department of History, Dedman College. For more information, contact the history department, 214-768-2967, or visit its Sharp Lectures web page.

Fun and games: Prospective students can explore The Guildhall at SMU during its Fall 2009 open house, 10 a.m.-noon Sept. 19 at the SMU-in-Plano campus, 5232 Tennyson Parkway, Building 2. Activities include food and games for all ages and a bounce house for kids, plus LEGO Star Wars for gaming enthusiasts. RSVP online at the Guildhall website.

Tate-Willson Lecture: Nigel Biggar – Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology and director of the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life at the University of Oxford – will discuss “Behaving in Public: Christian Ethics in a Polyglot Secularity” at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 22 in 106 Prothro Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Graduate Program in Religious Studies Office, 214-768-2432. Presented by the Graduate Program in Religious Studies and cosponsored by SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility.

New lecture series explores Holocaust’s lingering impact

'Holocaust Legacies' posterSMU’s Human Rights Education Program is cosponsoring a three-month series of lectures, symposiums, film screenings, photography exhibits and musical performances examining how the Holocaust continues to affect the world.

“Holocaust Legacies: Shoah as Turning Point” begins Sept. 9 with a 7 p.m. reception and a 7:30 p.m. introductory panel discussion in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum. The program will run through the end of November with events held both on and off the SMU campus, and all events are free and open to the public.

Panel members on Sept. 9 will include Christopher Anderson, associate professor of sacred music in Perkins School of Theology; Janis Bergman-Carton, art history chair in Meadows School of the Arts; Elliott Dlin, executive director of the Dallas Holocaust Museum; Rick Halperin, director of SMU’s Human Rights Education Program and Tom Mayo, director of SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility.

Halperin, who each December escorts educational groups to former Nazi death camp locations in Poland, is committed to raising awareness of what he calls “the crime within the war,” even as the number of people who lived through the war, and the Holocaust, dwindles with each passing year. September marks the 70th anniversary of the Nazi German invasion of Poland and beginning of World War II.

“It’s safe to say most Americans don’t think about World War II any more,” Halperin said. “We fought the war, defeated the Nazis, and came home the good guys. We mushroomed into a world power. Most Americans since then have lived a relatively safe and comfortable life.”

But the legacy of the Holocaust continues at many levels, Halperin said: The Nazis committed the greatest art theft in history, looting the collections of Jewish families whose descendents are still litigating to see their treasures returned. All major war crime tribunals bear the stamp of the post-World War II Nuremburg Trials, and the United States in May deported a nearly 90-year-old man, John Demjanjuk, for Nazi war crimes.

Halperin noted that in Europe, sensitivity to the Shoah’s legacy is reflected even in restrictions to how people talk and write about the Nazi regime. “You can buy a copy of Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf in the SMU Book Store – that’s free speech,” Halperin explained. “You can deny the Holocaust in the U.S., and that’s free speech, too. You can’t do that in Europe.” Halperin said he expects the series to be “a powerful, emotional, somber and sobering series of events.”

Co-sponsors for the 2009 Fall Program Series are SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, SMU Meadows School of the Arts, SMU Perkins School of Theology, TCU’s Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Department of Social Work and the University of Dallas.

Find a complete schedule at the SMU News site

Calendar Highlights: Sept. 1, 2009

SMU Unbridled logoFaculty-Staff Campaign Kickoff: Join your colleagues in campuswide events to mark the launch of the faculty and staff component of The Second Century Campaign on Sept. 3. School and area events will take place throughout the day (find yours here) and will culminate in an all-University celebration hosted by SMU President R. Gerald Turner at 4 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center. For more information and to make a gift, visit smu.edu/fs.

Jewish life, past and present: Photographer Loli Kantor has documented the disappearing population of Holocaust survivors and their lives within the vanishing shtetls of Poland and Ukraine. In the process, she found glimpses into a re-emergence of Jewish life and culture in Central and Eastern Europe that is beginning to transform larger communities. Her work is collected in There Was a Forest – Jews in Eastern Europe Today, on display through Nov. 15 in the Hawn Gallery, Hamon Arts Library. Kantor will lecture on campus at 6 p.m. Sept. 11 in the Taubman Atrium, Owen Arts Center, followed by a reception at 7 p.m. Both events are part of “Holocaust Legacies: Shoah as Turning Point,” a semester-long series presented by SMU’s Human Rights Education Program.

SMU wide receiver Emmanuel SandersGame time: The Mustang football team hosts its season opener against Stephen F. Austin at 7 p.m. in Ford Stadium. Traditional tailgating parties and other festivities will take place on The Boulevard for most of the day. Find a complete season schedule, ticket information and more at 2009 Gameday Central, and learn more about Sellout 2009. (Right, wide receiver and senior co-captain Emmanuel Sanders, SMU’s career leader in touchdown catches and the first player in University history to record three 600-yard receiving seasons.)

Tate Lecture Series opens: New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria, moderated by former White House adviser David Gergen, will offer their insights on current events and international politics in the first event of the 2009-10 Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series season. The event begins at 8 p.m. Sept. 8 in McFarlin Auditorium.

Tune In: Understanding the Rwandan genocide

Rwanda in Central Africa was the scene of the mass killing of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and Hutu political moderates in 1994 by Hutus over the course of 100 days.

In April, Mark McPhail spoke about his experiences as an expert witness before the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UNICTR) in 2008. McPhail, chair of the Division of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, shared his personal reflections on the tragedy, its political and moral legacies, and the implications it holds for international justice and reconciliation in the 21st century. The lecture was presented by SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. Click the YouTube screen to watch the video.

To help students better understand the genocide, SMU’s Human Rights Education Program traveled to Rwanda during summer 2009, where the group visited such sites as the Nyarubuye Genocide Memorial and Urukundo Home for Children. Laura, one of the group, blogged for SMU Student Adventures about her experiences and impressions – including a visit to Murambi, the site of some of the worst massacres of the genocide.

Read Laura’s Rwanda blog
Visit SMU Student Adventures
Read more about the Rwanda Genocide

Rick Halperin honored for teaching excellence

<img alt="Rick Halperin" src="http://www.smu.edu/News/2008/~/media/Images/News/Thumbnails/rick-halperin-10sept2008.ashx?w=150&h=150&as=1" align="left" style="padding-right:5px" Rick Halperin, director of SMU’s Human Rights Education Program in Dedman College, has received a 2009 Piper Professor award from the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation.

The Piper Professor Program honors superior teaching in Texas colleges and universities. Nominations are requested annually from all accredited institutions of higher learning in the state, and 15 awards are given each year.

The award selection committee “seek(s) out the well-rounded, outgoing teacher, devoted to the profession, who has made special impact on his students and the community.” An adjunct lecturer in the Clements Department of History, Halperin also teaches in the Human Rights Education Program as well as in SMU’s Master of Liberal Studies program.

“The Piper Professor Award is especially important because it is for outstanding teaching, and only 15 are awarded,” says Kathleen Hugley-Cook, director of SMU’s Office of National Fellowships and Awards. “At SMU, our nominee is selected through colleague nomination. So this Piper Award is deeply meaningful not only because there was exceptional support from former students for Dr. Halperin’s nomination, but also because it represents immense respect from his faculty colleagues across the University. He makes a great difference to our entire community, and his great teaching has a lasting impact on students and faculty alike.”

A longtime human rights advocate and member of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA, Halperin regularly leads SMU groups on human rights educational journeys to places such as Cambodia, Rwanda, South Africa, El Salvador, Bosnia and numerous Holocaust sites across Europe. Every December he takes a group to death camps and other Holocaust sites in Poland for two weeks.

Halperin was chair of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA from 1992-93 and again from 2005-07. He is a member of the National Death Penalty Advisory Committee and the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and served as President from 2000-06 and again in 2007-08.

Sister Helen Prejean to speak at SMU April 23

Sister Helen PrejeanSister Helen Prejean, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States, will speak at SMU April 23 as part of a panel discussion, “Arts, Social Change, and Human Rights,” from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater.

Hosted by SMU, Fort Worth Opera and the Dallas Opera, the panel will be moderated by Rick Halperin, director of the Human Rights Education Program in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

The other panelists include Jonathan Pell, artistic director for the Dallas Opera; Darren K. Woods, general director of Fort Worth Opera; and Jake Heggie, composer of the modern opera derived from Dead Man Walking.

Sister Helen Prejean, a former teacher from Louisiana, joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille at a young age and dedicated her life to the poor of New Orleans. She began a prison ministry in 1981 and became a pen pal and spiritual adviser to convicted felons, which led her to share her experiences through Dead Man Walking. The book was made into a major motion picture in 1996.

Sister Prejean received the Robert O. Cooper Peace and Justice Fellowship from SMU in 1998. The fellowship is sponsored by the SMU Office of the Chaplain, in collaboration with the Human Rights Program, the Ethnic Studies Program and the Dallas Peace Center.

The panel discussion will highlight examples of how the arts have impacted communities and will emphasize efforts to integrate the arts into social change. The event also will spotlight Heggie’s operas Dead Man Walking, which will be presented by Fort Worth Opera in May, and Moby Dick, which the Dallas Opera will premiere in 2010.

The panel is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow the discussion.

An inmate’s fight for constitutional rights

Fred CruzIn 1960, at age 21, Fred Cruz was arrested for robbery, convicted and sentenced to 50 years on a Texas prison farm. The San Antonio native denied committing the crimes but couldn’t afford a lawyer to appeal his case. With only an 8th grade education, Cruz read every law book he could find and filed his own appeal.

Fred Cruz’s story is now an independent film by producer/director Susanne Mason and will debut at SMU at 6 p.m. April 15, 2009 in McCord Auditorium, Dallas Hall. “Writ Writer: One Man’s Journey for Justice” tells the story of Cruz’s evolution into a jailhouse lawyer, the legal battle he waged against physical and racial violence, and how he used writs of habeas corpus to secure the constitutional rights of Texas prisoners.

Told by wardens, convicts and former prisoners who knew Cruz, “Writ Writer” uses contemporary and archival film footage to show the transformation of a prisoner and a prison system still haunted by their pasts. The film was honored as an official selection of the 2008 South By Southwest Film Festival. The SMU screening is sponsored by the University’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies in Dedman College.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion on prisons, rights, race and violence featuring the following participants:

  • Rick Halperin, moderator, director of SMU’s Human Rights Education Program
  • Susanne Mason, director and producer of “Writ Writer”
  • Robert Chase, Clements Center Fellow and author of the upcoming book, Civil Rights on the Cell Block: Race, Reform and Punishment in Texas Prisons and the Nation, 1945-1990
  • Ernest McMillan, civil rights veteran and community activist
  • Reginald Gordon, community activist

The program is free and open to the public; advance registration is required. Register online at the Clements Center website or contact Ruth Ann Elmore at 214-768-3684.

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