Universal human rights values are under attack globally.
Populist demagogues are on the rise, scapegoating refugees, immigrants and
minorities. Those populists channel a toxic blend of nativism, xenophobia,
racism and Islamaphobia while dismissing universal human rights as unaffordable
luxuries or worse, dangerous liabilities to a secure society. These trends pose
a visceral threat to the very real accomplishments of the international human
What is the relevance of human rights in the aftermath of Aleppo and the emergency of autocrats exploiting the alienation of people left behind by the social and economic dislocations of globalization? Is the defense of universal human rights values the antidote to this spreading virus of intolerance, or have the failures and contradictions of the human rights movement relegated it to the status of a failed experiment in 20th century optimism?
Join the resistance with Hunter College Adjunct Professor Phelim Kine as he unpacks the evolution of the modern international human rights movement, dissects its challenges and makes the case that a robust defense of universal human rights is essential in back against the darkness of autocracy and intolerance.
**This talk is accompanied by a performance from the cellist Dara Hankins**
“Ben Ehrenreich’s rendition of the Palestinian experience is powerful, deep and heartbreaking, so much closer to the ground than the Middle East reporting we usually see. I wish there were more writers as brave.” —Adam Hochschild
"I wasn’t dreaming of freedom when I escaped from North Korea. I didn’t even know what it meant to be free. All I knew was that if my family stayed behind, we would probably die—from starvation, from disease, from the inhuman conditions of a prison labor camp."