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Social Justice & Human Rights Dialogues

Upcoming Dialogue

Europe After Pax Americana, Jan Techau

A Conversation about the American Election
discussion on american election

The Middle Eastern War That Destabilized Europe: Syria and Its Consequences
discussion on middle eastern war


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2018-2019 Dialogues Suspended

The Social Justice & Human Rights Dialogues series is suspended for the 2018-2019 academic year. We are using this time as a planning year. Please check back for future programming.


This university-wide series understands social justice to be foundational to the positive realization of human rights for all peoples around the globe. Human rights, as defined through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent documents, include women’s rights, gender equality and the right of all people to live lives free from discrimination.  As such, social justice aspirations are inseparable from human rights and demand an interdisciplinary range of skills and approaches to address urgent social issues related to human security, labor, migration, children, family, education and the environment. This supports implementation and understanding of the equal importance of all human rights, economic, social and cultural as well as civil and political, at the international, national and local levels.

Each year, CWU chooses an overarching theme which addresses a current issue of pressing social justice and human rights concern. The yearly theme will be explored through multiple approaches and lenses and involve a cross-section of the CWU community in its organization, including faculty, staff, students and administration. Events organized throughout the year, under the rubric of the theme, will range from invited lectures by distinguished intellectuals and practitioners to faculty panels, to student and community led and organized events.

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2017-18 Theme: Sustainability

CWU will be exploring the nature and forms of sustainability and how to engage in sustainable practices. Broadly defined, sustainability is resilience, which is an ability to recover from or adjust easily to change. The topics of focus for this year include: Economic, Social, Environmental and Cultural Sustainability.

Economic Sustainability. How do societies and the international community support economic production such that present day production does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs? Can economic development and economic policies produce decent work for individuals and economic growth? Can it reduce inequality?

Social Sustainability. How do societies and the international community preserve social systems (for example, a democratic political system) to function and encourage the well-being of its members? Can activities and policies produce equal and inclusive participation? Quality education? Equality for all? Reduction in poverty and injustice? Can activities and policies positively impact exploited groups?

Environmental Sustainability. How do societies and the international community use and replenish resources such that present day activities do not compromise future generations, natural systems and biodiversity? How can activities and policies produce clean air and water? Clean energy? Food? Climate stability? How can activities and policies ensure that environmental burdens are not disproportionately placed on exploited groups?

Cultural Sustainability. How do societies and the international community preserve cultural heritage and history in the presence of shocks or threats to the well-being of its members? How does a community stay viable while preserving its cultural heritage?

The goals for this year's theme are particularly centered on the ways the different types of sustainability intersect and on the inter/multi/transdisciplinary approaches to understanding and practicing sustainability:

  • Support the development for understanding the intersecting components of sustainability.
  • Engage in collaborative and inter/multi/transdisciplinary approaches to understanding the consequences of activities and policies that contribute to unsustainable economic, social, environmental and cultural activities and policies.
  • Support the development of awareness about the components of sustainability as they relate to our university campus and the surrounding community.
  • Encourage faculty and staff to integrate issues and activities related to sustainability into curricular and co-curricular materials and develop policies to further a sustainable campus.
  • Encourage the development of a framework for sustainability issues to become a standard part of our university curriculum, policies and practices.
  • Support individual agency and the capacity to create change to promote sustainable activities and policies on our university campus and in the larger community.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to plan ahead when developing their curriculum and events for the 2017-18 academic year and to find creative ways to incorporate this theme. Some courses, student clubs, and student organizations may choose to pursue service-learning projects and others may be interested in conducting research on sustainability.

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