Challenging Borders

April 30 – May 2, 2023 at Albion College

The Challenging Borders in Domestic and International Human Rights conference will explore and critically evaluate the borders that have been created in human rights research and practice. Albion College invites faculty students, staff and community leaders from GLCA and GLAA campuses to interrogate the borders that have been built in the human rights field between the domestic and international and between categories of rights.

Schedule of Events

Sunday, April 30, 2023

2 - 6 p.m. | Registration and Conference Check-In Toggle Accordion

Conference registration and check-in (early check-in beginning Saturday April 29 is available for
international travelers by arrangement).

3 - 5 p.m. | Optional Tours Toggle Accordion

  • Environmental Justice tour of Albion with the Center for the Sustainability and the Environment, Limited spots are available.
    Make your reservation.
  • A guided tour of the human rights-inspired print exhibition in the Martha Dickinson Gallery, Bobbitt.
    Sign up four the tour.

5 - 7 p.m. | Dinner On Your Own Toggle Accordion

Enjoy dinner downtown at one of our local restaurants. See the Know Before you Go handout.

7 - 8:30 p.m. | Conference Opening & Keynote Address Toggle Accordion

Katie Redford, The Equation Campaign, “The Revolution will not be Litigated: Movements for Human Rights and Climate Justice”
Katie Redford, Esq. is an American human rights lawyer and activist. Redford is co-founder and former director of EarthRights International (ERI) an NGO that combines the power of law and the power of people in defense of human rights and the environment. Redford currently serves as the executive director of the Equation Campaign, a funding initiative that supports the climate movement by funding resistance on the ground and diminishing the industry’s sources of financial support, and making grants for strategic litigation and the legal defense of activists.

Location: The Bohm Theatre

8:45 - 10 p.m. | “Taste of Albion” Dessert Reception with Katie Redford Toggle Accordion

Co-sponsored by the Albion Human Rights Lab, Center for Sustainability and the Environment, Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Service and the Department of Political Science
Location: Marriott Hotel

Monday, May 1, 2023

8 a.m. | Continental Breakfast Toggle Accordion

Co-sponsored by the Albion Human Rights Lab, Center for Sustainability and the Environment, Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Service and the Department of Political Science

Location: Science Complex Atrium

8:30 - 9:45 a.m. | Welcome & Introductions Toggle Accordion

Location: Science Complex Atrium

9:45 - 10:15 a.m. | President & First Lady Ford & Human Rights Toggle Accordion

Carrie Walling, Albion College

Location: Science Complex Atrium

9:45 - 10:15 a.m. | Opportunities for Cross-Campus Collaboration Toggle Accordion

Simon Gray, Great Lakes College Association

Location: Science Complex Atrium

10:15 - 10:30 a.m. | Break Toggle Accordion

Free time

10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. | Academic Panels Toggle Accordion

  • Panel 1: Intersectionality & the Environment
    • “Climate Change and Contemporary Forms of Slavery: Guidelines on Relevant International Standards,” Silvia Scarpa and Eleonora Lucia Cammarano, John Cabot University
    • “The Environment is Sexist: Is Women’s Oppression Linked with Nature?” Naima Shifa and Zimo Ma, DePauw University
    • “Reproductive Rights of Women in Climate Change Induced Conflict Situations” Jennifer Heaven Mike, Jemimah Pam, Jessica Jesutofummi Adejumoh and Mene Nuka-Gbarayeghe, American University in Nigeria and Covenant University of Nigeria

    Location: Norris 102

  • Panel 2: Migration & Gender
    • “Women and Children on the Move: Transnational Migration Issues,” Dosinda G. Alvite and Sophia Rehn, Denison University
    • “Relevance of Women’s Rights in Human Rights Debate: A Case Study of Selected Muslim Countries,” Shehzadi Zamurrad Awan, Amena Aamir, Fatima Aamir and Ayesha Butt, Forman Christian College
    • “Bringing Dignity to the European Borders: A Collaboration between AUBG and the Activist Organization, ‘Europe Must Act’ to Support Refugee Rights and Mental Health,” Felix Diaz, Vlada Kolesnikova, Orena Ymerasi and Aelita Khusnutdinova, American University in Bulgaria

    Location: Norris 100

12:15 - 1:45 p.m. | Lunch Toggle Accordion

Location: Upper Baldwin

1 - 2 p.m. | Poster Setup Toggle Accordion

Poster presenters set up posters

Location: Science Complex Atrium

2 - 4 p.m. | Advocacy Training Workship Toggle Accordion

Sean McBrearty, Clean Water Action, “Enbridge Line 5: The role and practice of activism in securing climate justice”
Learn how to use issue-based organizing strategies and communications to impact political and governmental outcomes. We will focus on the example of Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 pipeline, a 70-year-old crude oil pipeline that runs across the bottomlands of the Straits of Mackinac – the most vulnerable place in the Great Lakes for an oil spill. The pipeline has faced grassroots opposition from impacted residents and Tribal governments for a decade. Today, Enbridge is violating Tribal sovereignty by operating Line 5 through the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservation in Wisconsin and operating Line 5 without a valid easement in Michigan. Come hear about this ongoing resistance movement and the lessons we have learned through a decade-long struggle for Indigenous rights and climate justice against one of the most powerful industries in the world.

Location: Upper Baldwin

4 - 4:30 p.m. | Break Toggle Accordion

Free time

4 - 4:30 p.m. | Letterpress Workshop Toggle Accordion

Making protest posters for those who have pre-registered
Workshop Registration

4:30 - 5:30 p.m. | Student Poster Session Toggle Accordion

A complete list of poster presenters and their presentations will be available the last week of

Location: Science Complex Atrium

5:30 - 6:30 p.m. | Break Toggle Accordion

Free time

6:30 p.m. | Dinner & Discussion Toggle Accordion

Adam Vincent, United States Department of State, Institute for International Education (IIE), Scholar Rescue Fund

Location: Upper Baldwin

8:30 p.m. | Optional Social Activity Toggle Accordion

Bonfire, smores, yard games and more

Location: Mitchell Towers Fire Pit

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

8 - 8:45 a.m. | Continental breakfast Toggle Accordion

Location: Upper Baldwin

8:45 - 9 a.m. | Break Toggle Accordion

Free time

9 - 10:30 a.m. | Pedagogy Roundtable: Human Rights & Experiential Learning Toggle Accordion

“Human Rights and Experiential Learning”

  • Carrie Walling, Albion College
  • Michele Leiby, College of Wooster
  • Isis Nusair, Denison University
  • Adeel Khalid, Forman Christian College
  • Jodi Kovach, Kenyon College

(recommended for faculty, all welcome)

Location: Bobbitt Auditorium

9 - 10:30 a.m. | Albion Human Rights Lab workshop Toggle Accordion

This interactive workshop will encourage participants to reflect on the human rights issues in their local communities and what they can do to make a difference. Attendees will be given the tools necessary to advocate for the social justice issues closest to them and walk away feeling empowered to enact positive change. The Human Rights Lab is run by undergraduate students at Albion College and engages students and community members in generating solutions to human rights and social justice problems through research, policy, and advocacy. Open to all attendees. Recommended for undergraduate students.

(recommended for undergraduate students, all welcome)

Location: Upper Baldwin

10:45 - 11 a.m. | Break Toggle Accordion

Free time

10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. | Academic Panels 3 & 4 Toggle Accordion

  • Panel 3: Intersections between Globalization, Health & the Environment
    • “COVID-19 as a Political Opportunity: Transnational Human Rights Abuses and Conflicts in Northeast Africa,” Milkessa Gemechu, Albion College
    • “Globalization and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,” Aziz El Hassani, Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane
    • “Environmental Injustice Crossing Borders: United States’ Hazardous & Plastic Wastes Abroad” Lucy McAllister, Denison University

    Location: Norris 102

  • Panel 4: Human Rights Stories
    • “The Politically-Dead: An Exploration of People-Making and its Impact on Human Rights,” Jessie Gorovitz, London School of Economics and Political Science
    • “Geography of Police Repression and Regulation of Street-Based Transgender Sex Workers in Lahore,” Shermeen Bano, Forman Christian College
    • “Justice Gambit: The ICC’s Impact on Civil War Violence,” Jacqueline McAllister, Kenyon College
    • “The Work of the Artist and the Creativity of Labor in Aguas de Estuario, by Velia Vidal: Neoliberal Intersections,” Diego Bustos, Earlham College

    Location: Norris 100

3 - 4 p.m. | The Arts, Social Action, Advocacy and Change Toggle Accordion

Mama Sōl Music, spoken word artist
Spoken word artist Mama Sōl illustrates the power of the arts as a tool for activism. Motivating and assisting others is her life’s work. Sōl electrifies audiences, urging them to see beyond their circumstances, to choose solutions over excuses. Counteracting the negativity often associated with hip-hop, Sōl uses her extraordinary gift and passion for words to encourage others towards self-love, uplifting perspectives, and greater purpose.

Location: Science Complex Atrium

4 - 4:30 p.m. | Break Toggle Accordion

Free time

4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. | Building Future Collaborations Planning Session Toggle Accordion

Location: Norris 101

6 p.m. | Closing Dinner & Conference Wrap Up Toggle Accordion

Location: Upper Baldwin

8 p.m. | Ukweli, Human Rights Film Screening Toggle Accordion

Meet the film-maker, Mike Ramsdell
Funded by the gracious support of GOOGLE, and partnering with thought leaders in the region, UKWELI is a film that works to help change the narrative and celebrate the beauty in Congo. Patrice Lumumba said, “The story of Africa will be written by Africans.: UKWELI (TRUTH) is the story of 3 artists in the Democratic Republic of Congo who are doing just that by protesting the prevailing media narrative of war, conflict and rape – and using their artistic voices to reclaim their nations narrative and present a more complete perspective of their country, their culture and their truth. This timely documentary illustrates the power of art as a voice and conduit for change.

Location: Bobbitt Auditorium

Challenging the borders between the domestic and the international

Frequently, human rights are conceived in international terms with marginal attention directed to the ways that human rights issues manifest domestically. Yet human rights issues are all around us. If we look carefully, we can find them in our neighborhoods, on our college campuses and in our own closets. There are benefits to considering human rights as a framework for addressing domestic challenges like systemic racism, labor exploitation, immigration and environmental degradation. Additionally, many human rights challenges are transnational in scope. Refugees and migrants often cross international borders when their rights are violated domestically. The impacts of climate change disregard state sovereignty. In an increasingly interdependent world with a global economy, racial discrimination, and sex and labor exploitation are global problems. The impacts of environmental degradation are disproportionately suffered by marginalized populations. Transnational problems require responses at both the domestic and international level.

Challenging borders between categories of rights

Human rights are equal, interdependent and require universal protection. To say that human rights are interdependent is to say that the enjoyment of any single right or group of rights requires the enjoyment of other rights. This means that political and civil rights (e.g. the right to vote and freedom from discrimination) are necessary for formulating and fulfilling economic, social and cultural (ESC) needs (e.g. access to adequate housing, water, education and work). Similarly, violations of ESC rights limit our ability to exercise our political and civil rights. In short, human beings must possess the entire spectrum of human rights to lead a life of dignity. We welcome proposals that are conceptual — about the equal value of rights — and those that are applied illustrating interdependence in practice.

Topical areas of focus

Within the conference theme of challenging borders, we imagine four areas of focus:

  • Identity rights, especially focusing on race, gender, ethnicity and sexuality;
  • Labor rights;
  • Refugee and migrant rights; and
  • Environmental and climate rights.

We particularly encourage projects that work at the intersection of these areas – for example, projects on environmental racism or labor exploitation of immigrants. While we encourage submissions along these four themes, proposals on other human rights topics are also welcome.