Universal Human Rights Conference: 500th Anniversary of Antonio de Montesinos
From the conference description and promotional materials:
On December 2-4, 2011, a coalition of universities and other institutions are hosting a conference and celebration in Washington, D.C. to assess what has been achieved in 500 years of human rights advocacy. The conference is scheduled to include Sunday, 4 December, the conventionally identified date in 1511 when Antonio de Montesinos, O.P. delivered a sermon in Santo Domingo calling for reform of Spanish policy toward the indigenous. That sermon launched a Spanish debate about the human rights of the Indians, which in turn contributed to advocacy of the universality of human rights. While concerned with the history of human rights, the conference will have as its focus current institutional and legal approaches to refine and enhance protections of human rights.
Working with international partners, Alma College’s Public Affairs Institute and Center for Responsible Leadership; George Mason University’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution; Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs; Justice for North America for the Dominican Family; Partnership for Global Justice; the Osgood Center for International Studies; the Washington Theological Consortium; the Aquinas Institute; and the Fundacja Centrum Solidarnosci are hosting a conference focused on assessing what has been achieved in 500 years of human rights advocacy. The conference will include Sunday, December 4, 2011, the conventionally identified date in 1511 when Antonio de Montesinos delivered a sermon in Santo Domingo calling for reform of Spanish policy toward the indigenous. That sermon launched a Spanish debate about the human rights of the Indians, which in turn contributed to later advocacy of the principle that human rights apply to all people, regardless of nationality. The new Spanish film Tambien La Lluvia (Even the Rain) has as its core purpose considering the legacy of Montesinos.
The conference is really a series of coordinated events that will bring together international scholars, graduate and undergraduate students, religious leaders, attorneys, civic leaders and workers in NGOs concerned with human rights (their history, definition, protection and enforcement). We will produce a “Proceedings,” collecting as many of the presentations as would be appropriate. Either as part of the “Proceedings” or in separate printed material, we anticipate assembling consensus documents that address contemporary human rights challenges.
We events will be held over the weekend of Friday, Dec. 2, 2011 through Sunday, December 4, 2011. The weekend will include the following parts:
- Conference of experts, both practitioners (attorneys, NGO leaders, public officials) and scholars, including graduate students, held at George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution in Arlington, Virginia on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 and 3, 2011;
- Luncheon and seminar on Religion and Human Rights, held at the Georgetown University, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and Foreign Affairs on Friday afternoon, Dec. 2;
- An undergraduate human rights conference held in conjunction with the Osgood Center for International Affairs in Washington on Dec. 2-3, 2011.
- Performance of Jean Claude Carriere’s The Controversy of Valladolid on Saturday evening, Dec. 3;
- A celebration of the Montesinos homily at St. Matthews Cathedral on the afternoon of Sunday Dec. 4, 2011; and
- Development of one or more consensus documents during small group sessions on Sunday, December 4.
Papers and panels are invited on the following topics:
The history and philosophy of universal human rights, while we anticipate special interest in the Americas and in imperial nations, we encourage wider perspectives;
The institutional structure and processes for protecting universal human rights (including the responsibility to protect), especially from Nuremberg to the ICC;
The relationship of human rights to issues such as sovereignty, migration, labor rights, gender, development, and security/terrorism;
The relationship of universal rights to different national, regional, historical, and indigenous cultures; and
Religion and human rights.
Please submit paper or panel proposals by OCTOBER 17, 2011.