Human Rights and Genocide Symposium – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Human Rights and Genocide Symposium

Now in its 15th year, the HWS Human Rights and Genocide Symposium is a semester-long series featuring presentations on a wide range of human rights issues from HWS students and alums.

“It is astounding to us that in one brief semester we will have students present on topics ranging from the Holocaust to Nepalese refugees from Bhutan, to post-genocide Rwanda, to family stories of survival after Armenia,” says Richard Salter ’86, P’15, associate professor of religious studies and chair of that department.

“Having continued the Symposium for so long, it is tremendously fulfilling to have interested students and alums returning to participate,” says Salter, who with Professor of Religious Studies Michael Dobkowski, is co-coordinator of the Symposium. “This is huge milestone.”

This year’s Symposium began Monday, Feb. 17, with a talk by Subin Nepal ’15, “Demystifying the myth of happiest place on Earth: A discussion on Bhutanese refugees.”

Starting in the early 1990s, the King of Bhutan launched programs against Nepali language, the Hindu religion and anything that was remotely related to the Nepali speaking community. The displacement totaled more than 100,000 refugees being stranded in Nepal for more than two decades. While the U.S., along with the United Nations, Canada and several European countries, later launched a resettlement program, Nepal’s talk questions whether justice has been served if no legal actions have been taken against the Kingdom of Bhutan on an international stage.

Nepal completed his research project over the summer as a result of generous funding from the Sills Family Endowed Fellowship administered through the HWS Office of the Provost.

Having lived through a conflict for more than a decade, Nepal’s interests are primarily focused in the study of pre- and post-conflict situations. A double major in International Relations and political science, he is member of honor societies, manager of the Hobart Honors House (Bampton), and a student worker at the Office of Communications. He is the president of Sigma Chi Fraternity and a justice in the Hobart Student Court.

The series will continue on Monday, March 3, with Hannah Wilber ’12 presenting “Reflections from Rwanda: Living in a World of Gray.”

On Monday, March 31, Julie-Anne Baghajian ’15 will present “The Armenian Genocide: My Great Grandfathers’ Stories.”

On Monday, April 7, participants in the 2012 March: Bearing Witness to Hope will share their experience in the presentation, “Inheriting Memory and Responsibility: Reflection on The March.” The March is a nine-day student leadership mission, led by Holocaust scholars, survivors, and guides from across the world, that offers students the powerful experience to learn from the mistakes of the past while searching for hope for the future. Along with Nazareth College, HWS have participated in the March since 2000.

All talks for the Human Rights and Genocide Symposium will be held in the Vandervort Room in the Scandling Campus Center from 7 to 8 p.m. and will be followed with light refreshments.

The Human Rights and Genocide Symposium was initiated and has been sustained by generous grants from Dr. Edward Franks ’72.

The photo above features Subin Nepal ’15.