The SFSU Annual Human Rights Summit is a unique event in that it is wholly devised, organized, and hosted by Dr. Mariana Ferreira and the students of her undergraduate Anthropology and Human Rights class, which is committed to establishing a working foundation for thinking critically about human rights and a basis upon which a concerted “call to action” can emerge and be sustained.
The rights of women and children, Indigenous Peoples, ethnic and sexual minorities, prisoners of war, refugees, and populations assaulted by bigotry and racist national policy in an array of cultural and transnational settings are closely examined in view of the following points of reference:
- The evolving body of human rights instruments
- The human rights system both within and beyond the United Nations
- The debates over and critiques of universal rights-based discourses and strategies for social change
- The perspective on rights of culturally diverse people
- The transcendence of rights talk and culture talks
Further contributing to the distinctive nature of this event is the emphasis placed on interdisciplinary collaboration and the variety of ways in which knowledge can be presented, discussed, and created. The summit has served as a forum not only for students’ academic research and inquiries, but for other kinds of conversation as well; a fundamental component of all past summits has been the acclamation and celebration of alternative channels of knowledge and activism, such as play and poetry readings, film screenings, multimedia exhibits, and dance, music, and spoken word performances. We have been thrilled to see the Summit increase exponentially in attendance and influence each year, and look forward to its broadening impact on the creation of a more active and involved human rights community that spans the settings of the traditional university framework.