Conference Program

April 30 – May 2, 2023 at Albion College

Large group photo of conference participantsThe Challenging Borders in Domestic and International Human Rights conference welcomed faculty, students and practitioners who traveled from 9 countries and 3 American states representing 18 colleges and universities to challenge borders literal and symbolic in the field of human rights and to build cross campus connections.

Presenters addressed four themes: climate, identity rights, labor rights and refugee and migrant rights. The event engaged more than 100 people across 3 days including 45 students. We shared research, strategized advocacy tactics, explored the power of experiential learning, engaged the arts, and celebrated the joy that comes from building community. Thank you to the Great Lakes College Association Grand Challenge Initiative and the Mellon Foundation for their financial support.

Download the Program

Keynote Speaker

Katie Redford, The Equation Campaign

The Revolution Will Not Be Litigated: Movements for Human Rights and Climate Justice

A headshot of Katie Redford. She has brown hair and blue-grey eyes, is wearing a black jacket, and is in front of a bookshelf full of books. Katie Redford, Esq. is an American human rights lawyer and activist. She is credited with spearheading a movement to hold international companies accountable for their human rights violations abroad. This movement includes the landmark case Doe vs. Unocal, the first time a human rights lawsuit against a multinational corporation resulted in compensation for survivors.

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. Reford 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.

Academic PresentationsImage during an academic panel.

The conference featured several research panels where faculty and faculty-student research teams presented their scholarship in interactive, in-person presentations followed by a question and answer discussion. The panels included topics around intersectionality and the environment, migration and gender, the interdependence of human rights, and human rights stories.

Roundtable Discussions

The conference provided many opportunities for discussion including a roundtable to address human rights pedagogy and integrating experiential learning into human rights courses.

Training WorkshopsSmall group with colored red hands during advocacy workshop

The conference featured workshops on human rights advocacy strategies and tactics including a training session with Sean McBrearty, the Legislative and Policy Director for Clean Water Action, and a student focused workshop run by student members of the Albion College Human Rights Lab.

Student Poster Session

Over 30 students presented during the conference’s student poster session. Student “poster” presentations highlighted student research, community-focused work, and advocacy projects related to human rights themes. Posters included printed posters, slides on a tablet, artistic creations, and other visuals.

See the Student Poster Session Program.

Building Cross-campus ConnectionsGroup of students from various campuses

Throughout the conference, participants were encouraged, and had opportunities, to establish new connections with their peers and explore future possibilities for cross-campus collaboration in the areas of human rights and social justice teaching, research, and co-curricular programming.