Norwich University and Anglo-American University Co-Host Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Rights in Prague, Czech Republic
NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University along with Anglo-American University (AAU), the oldest private college in the Czech Republic, hosted the inaugural Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Rights at AAU on March 7-8, 2019.
Norwich University sent 16 students, four faculty members and one staff member to Prague, Czech Republic, to attend and participate in the conference, which presented interdisciplinary papers and presentations from undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and experts.
The conference's theme commemorated important 20th-century dates in human rights history with anniversaries in 2019 and a link to the Central European region. Students met with dissidents, historians and experts and experienced a moot court mimicking real trial cases and a truth commission with eyewitnesses and victims of past regimes. The event concluded with an exhibit of memorials, created by students from both organizing universities, to people whose human rights were violated during communism.
Importantly, this conference emphasized feedback and discussion, moderated by expert chairpersons in various sessions. The conference also gave focus to young scholars as well as student works—both in presentations and discussions in special sessions. Experiential learning was an important component of the proceedings. A special partner of the conference, Post Bellum, provided an exclusive documentary screening, exhibition and interactive screenings of memories of witnesses of the historical phenomena in question.
“Institutions of higher learning cannot exist in any meaningful sense without the free exchange of ideas between scholars,” said Norwich University Professor Rowland Brucken, a conference co-organizer. “This conference puts human rights into action by fostering research, providing a forum for discussion, and modeling civil debate. The conference uses key 20th century anniversaries as markers to remember victims of oppression and to inspire ourselves to safeguard human rights for all today.”
"I’m interested in the topic of human rights because I have always been curious about new issues concerning humanity and the way different cultures deal with and view them,” Norwich student Jason Guth said. “I am then able to inform others of both the historical and present issues in the hopes that these past injustices will not be repeated, and that means I'm helping to contribute to history in my own little way."
Milada Polišenská, Professor of History, Anglo-American University, said, “Extraordinary character of this event is inclusion of international community driven by active participation of students. We are happy to prepare the multidisciplinary and experiential learning event that will foster their interest and turn them to new ambassadors of ideas that prevent humankind from repetitions of dark parts from the history. I believe this will be an unforgettable gathering that will give start to a new tradition.”
About Anglo-American University
AAU offers 17 undergraduate and graduate programs entirely in English to students from more than 70 countries across the world. With more than 80 percent international students, AAU is the most international institution in the Czech Republic and was recently recognized by the European Association for International Education as an innovative leader in internationalization on the global stage. AAU is one of few global universities outside the United States to have received accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission, an American accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Most of AAU’s programs are also accredited by the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports of the Czech Republic.
About Norwich University
Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation's six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
Norwich will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders, Norwich launched the Forging the Future campaign in 2014. The five-year campaign, which is timed to culminate in 2019, is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities and is designed to enhance the university’s strong position as it steps into its third century of service to the nation.
Daphne E. Larkin M’17
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