SUNY Potsdam faculty, students and international experts join in Human Rights Day celebration


On Thursday, December 3, SUNY Potsdam will host a celebration of International Human Rights Day.  Ever since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in December of 1948, people around the world have used Human Rights Day to celebrate and inform about the powerful idea of human rights.

Our celebration will feature several presentations by SUNY Potsdam students and faculty as well as external experts from around the world. The events will take place in the Fireside Lounge of SUNY Potsdam’s Barrington Student Union, located at Barrington Drive. All events are free and open to the public.

The day will kick off at 9 a.m. with students’ presentations, readings and performances of three different classes (Dr. Phil Neisser’s Political Ideas, Dr. Liliana Trevizan’s Latin American Cultures and Dr. Oscar Sarmiento’s Languages, Cultures and Differences).

At 11 a.m., Assistant Professor of Anthropology Dr. Carolyn Schwarz, will give a talk on Indigenous Rights in Australia. Dr. Schwarz will discuss how Aboriginal people are struggling with two opposing identities being both culturally distinct “indigenous citizens” and assimilated Australians mainstreamed into society as “ordinary citizens.”

At 12:15 p.m., Eric Stener Carlson, author of “The Pear Tree: Is Torture Ever Justified?” joins the celebration via audio conference from Thailand to present his insights on torture and other severe human rights violations such as mass rape and disappearances. He has worked many years with international organizations and will share first-hand experiences.

Between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., students of Dr. Suzanne Zwingel’s course on International Human Rights will present posters of current human rights issues. Topics include the human rights of prisoners, human trafficking, military prostitution, capital punishment, the right to health, human rights and the Internet, trade agreements and human rights violations, genocide and sexual violence in wartimes.

The day concludes with a 7 p.m. lecture by Dr. Regina Kreide, philosophy, University of Giessen/ New School for Social Research titled, “Is Poverty a Human Rights Violation?” Dr. Kreide will discuss the meaning of social human rights, the obligations these rights imply and if affluent citizens in industrialized countries have a duty to stop the misery of the poor.

This event is supported by SUNY Potsdam’s Departments of Politics and Philosophy, the Political Student Association, the Crumb Library and the Human Rights Institute of the University of Connecticut. For further information, please contact Dr. Zwingel, Politics Department at or 315-267-2522.

Dr. Zwingel
(315) 267-2522 |