International Roundtable Preview

By April DeJarlais

One of Macalester’s flagship events begins this Thursday with the seventeenth annual International Roundtable, titled “My Sister’s and Brother’s Keeper?: Human Rights in the Era of Globalization.”The Institute for Global Citizenship’s (IGC) Roundtable features keynote speakers Philip Alston, professor of law at New York University, Rebecca Cook, chair in International Human Rights Law at the University of Toronto, and Macalester professor of Russian and International Studies James von Geldern, who also provides voluntary legal assistance for asylum seekers with the Advocates for Human Rights. Other discussants are Caitlin Hannahan ’11, Proma Sen ’11, professor Ron Barrett of Anthropology and Associate Director of the Civic Engagement Center Paul Schadewald.

Speakers will address the topics of international community action in the face of human rights abuse, gender discrimination and the International Criminal Court. The human rights theme was decided upon last year, assistant executive of the IGC Margaret Beegle said, given the timeliness of the topic and the advent of the human rights concentration for students.

“There’s a massive interest in human rights in the student body,” von Geldern said. “It’s an obvious subject and relevant.”

Potential speakers for the Roundtable are contacted over a year prior to the event, since the IGC requires a presentation of original and new material. Presenters submit their works to Macalester over the summer, and they are put on reserve beginning in the fall for Macalester community members to read before the lecture series.

Beegle has taken part in organizing Roundtables for over a decade, and “every single one has had something really extraordinary about it,” she said. “It’s really what the students make of it.”

The Roundtable will be held in John B. Davis Lecture Hall Oct. 7, 8 and 9.