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More colleges should be teaching human rights courses today (opinion)

Inside Higher Ed

Originally Posted: July 24, 2020

Our society is under simultaneous assaults on political, cultural, economic and social norms. Many people, especially those in different generations, are polarized as we confront an accelerated pace of change against institutionalized racism, bigotry and a systemically flawed criminal justice system that for too long has targeted the marginalized because of their skin color, ethnicity, country of origin or (lower) economic standing.

I am 70 years old, and I am energized and excited to witness and support a younger generation demanding its turn at changing this country into what it can and must become in order to move forward.

I came of age during a similar era of historic and tumultuous times. I lived through the violence and internal combustion in America known as the 1960s, when the country was daily tearing itself apart with no end in sight. Snipings, bombings, assassinations and riots were tragic and common occurrences, not aberrations. From the violence inflicted either by or in the name of the government, we remember the civil rights struggles, especially in the Deep South, and the incessant racialized killings of those who followed Martin Luther King Jr. and his moral crusade to pressure leaders to make good on the promise of human dignity for all. READ MORE

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Courageous Conversations: 9 Leaders Telling Brave Stories

Forbes

Originally Posted: June 22, 2020

SMU alumna Neha Husein ’19 is featured in this article.

What is a courageous conversation that you have recently had?

Courageous conversations are defined by the difficulty of the subject matter and the bravery of the subject discussing the topic. “Whether we’re leading companies, building our career, raising a family, or fighting for justice, we all need to be able to communicate when it’s uncomfortable, confusing, and difficult, and do it in a way that actually builds trust and strengthens our relationships,” shares Sofiya Deva of Warm Robots.

Nine leaders and influencers were selected to be part of Warm Robots’ inaugural “Council of Courage” that who then offered their own experiences and definitions of what a courageous conversation is. Their stories were shared as a collaborative project with Pinterest in their Stories beta as a multimedia project. Here are the nine influential leaders and their thoughts. READ MORE

8) Neha Husein

Neha Husein is a human rights entrepreneur and recent SMU graduate with degrees in human rights and marketing and minors in advertising and nonprofit studies. Neha is the Founder & CEO of Just Drive, an app that rewards undistracted driving that she created after she was rear-ended by a driver that was texting.

She believes in systemic change and says, “Having conversations about race, climate change, and various social justice issues with family members can be tough, but real systemic changes begins within households. Have those courageous conversations with your family and friends, move the needle.” READ MORE

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Thursday at 6pm: A Conversation with Human Rights Alumna Dominique Earland ’17

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How do I decide what to major in if I don’t even know what I want my career to be yet?

SMU News

Being the first to go to college can be hard. SMU senior, Kaityln, shares her TOP TEN TIPS to help you through the experience.

Watch

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First in her family, finding her place

SMU News

Originally Posted: December 9, 2019

The daughter of a single mom who worked two jobs to support her family, Kaitlyn Contreras was determined to attend college.

“I knew I wanted to go to college; I just didn’t know how,” she says. “But I followed the advice of my grandmother. She never went to school and never learned to read or write, but she taught me to always ask questions.”

As an eighth-grader, Kaitlyn began asking questions, seeking a more challenging high school than the one in her neighborhood.

What Kaitlyn couldn’t know then was that asking questions would open the door to unique opportunities. READ MORE

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Texas has been ground zero for capital punishment for over 40 years

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: December 1, 2019

Dec. 1, Rick Halperin, director of the SMU Human Rights Program, co-authored by Roger C. Barnes for a piece about Texas being “ground zero” in the U.S. for carrying out capital punishment.

Thus far in 2019, there have been 20 executions carried out in the United States.

Eight of them have been in Texas.

There are four more executions scheduled in the country by year’s end, and one of them is to be carried out in Texas. Since the death penalty in the U.S. was reinstated in 1976, there have been a total of 1,510 executions. A staggering 566 of them have been in Texas.

In other words, Texas has been ground zero for capital punishment for over 40 years.

There is no end in sight to Texas executions and few voices, apart from anti-death penalty activists, speak against the practice. It is pathetic that few faith leaders express outrage over what is happening. Equally unacceptable are political leaders who remain silent or give their support to the preposterous idea that some people deserve to be killed. READ MORE

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Chasing the American Dream: Sanaa Ghanim

SMU Daily Campus

Originally Posted: Nov. 7, 2019

Sanaa Ghanim arrives early in her first class of the semester. She made sure to set her alarm clock five minutes earlier than usual before going to sleep the night before. While she scans the lecture hall for an open seat, she quickly notices that the front row is mostly empty. Many students opt to sit in the back, especially during early classes like this one. But not Ghanim. She eagerly slides into the front and center seat, pulls her laptop out of her bag, and waits for the professor to start the lecture.

Ghanim pushes herself to learn as much as she can in class. While she cherishes the opportunities that Southern Methodist University provides her in the classroom, she is active around campus as well.

This year, Ghanim was selected to represent the Human Rights Program in SMU’s Homecoming celebration. This program is relatively small compared to the other organizations participating in homecoming, and she is the second candidate that the program has ever endorsed. While having fun is an important part of her campaign, she is focused on a broader issue.

“I hope to make it clear that you don’t need to be part of Greek or look a certain way to participate in homecoming,” said Ghanim. “Every student at SMU is a vital component of the university and deserves to feel as though homecoming is an event for them to holistically participate in. It isn’t enough to admit a diverse body of students: we have to actively work to ensure that every student on this campus feels included.” READ MORE

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Texas shouldn’t teach students that Palestinians are the bad guys [Opinion]

Houston Chronicle

Originally Posted: July 25, 2019

Sanaa Ghanim is a senior in the Southern Methodist University Human Rights Program, where she is researching the role of education in shaping perceptions of the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She enters law school in August 2020, and plans to concentrate on international law.

The Texas state curriculum for high school social studies leaves students with the impression that conflict in the Middle East boils down to this: The Palestinians are the bad guys, and the Israelis are the good guys.

The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies used to require that public school teachers “explain how Arab rejection of the State of Israel has led to ongoing conflict.”

In November, the Texas State Board of Education softened that a bit, changing the requirement to “discuss factors contributing to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the rejection of the existence of the State of Israel by the Arab League and a majority of Arab nations.” READ MORE

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Congratulations to all the Hilltop Excellence Awards Winners

Dedman College News
Originally Posted: April 18, 2019

On Monday, April 15, SMU celebrated students and faculty that have made significant contributions to the University at the Hilltop Excellence Awards. Congratulations to all the award winners!

Below is a list of winners, * are Dedman College faculty and students.

 

The Dr. James E. Caswell Award : Rani Vestal.

Emmie V. Baine Legacy Award : *Andrea Salt.

Outstanding Trustee Award : David Huntley.

Outstanding Administrator Award : Jennifer “JJ” Jones.

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Event: Feb 21, Forced Flight Surviving Migration