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Susan Bissell to headline Beloit College's 2016 Weissberg Week, now in its 17th year

March 10, 2016

Week-long event series includes panel discussions and a film screening

[Weissberg] Susan BissellThis year's Weissberg Week is focused on the rights of children worldwide—but also, very specifically, here in the Stateline area. Susan Bissell, the 2016 Weissberg Chair in International Studies, will deliver her keynote lecture on "The Rights of the Child" at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30, in Eaton Chapel. All events during Weissberg Week are free and open to the public.

Bissell directs the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. The partnership aims to "end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children." Previously, Bissell was the Chief of Child Protection in UNICEF's Programme Division. She holds a Ph.D in public health and medical anthropology from the University of Melbourne, as well as a master's degree in law, economics and international relations from the University of Toronto.

"Far too often, children are overlooked in discussions of human rights, yet they are often the most vulnerable and with the least access to resources that would help them claim their rights," says Elizabeth Brewer, director of international education at Beloit. "As Weissberg Chair, Susan Bissell will bring a wealth of experience to the discussion of children's rights, having worked to advance them around the world for over 25 years. We're also very pleased that her residency will allow us to bring local stakeholders together to address the rights of children and youth right here in Rock County."

A film produced by Bissell, A Kind of Childhood, will be screened at 7:30 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium, located in Morse-Ingersoll Hall. The film received the Jury Prize at the International Video Festival of India in 2003. The film explores the realities of child labor in the developing world.   

While much of the week will focus on the global issues of children's rights, the week will begin and end by bringing attention to national, regional and local issues related to children's rights. On Monday, March 28, for example, Katherine Kaufka Walts of Loyola University will discuss child trafficking in the Midwest, while Judge Virginia Kendall will discuss steps that could be taken within the legal system to make child trafficking more difficult.

The week's final event will bring stakeholders from Rock County together to discuss factors that jeopardize the rights of local children, and what can be done about these. That event, "At Risk Children: Challenges and Opportunities in Rock County," will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, and is being sponsored in part by the Beloit Daily News.

This is the 17th year of the Weissberg Chair program at Beloit. Past Weissberg Chairs have included sustainability activist Vandana Shiva, the former defense minister of the Iraqi transitional government Ali Allawi, and retired U.S. Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni.  

Beloit College is located at 700 College Street. Parking will be available on College, Bushnell, Emerson and Chapin Streets. All the events are free and open to the public.

A full listing of public events, along with locations, is included below.

Monday, March 28 4 - 5:30 p.m. Richardson Auditorium, Morse-Ingersoll Hall. Panel Discussion: Child Trafficking

  • Jonathan Todres, Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law
  • Katherine Kaufka Walts, Director, Center for the Human Rights of Children, Loyola University Chicago
  • Susan Bissell, 2016 Weissberg Chair

Wednesday, March 30: 8 p.mEaton Chapel. Keynote by Susan Bissell: The Rights of the Child

Friday, April 1:4 - 5:30 p.m. Richardson Auditorium, Morse-Ingersoll Hall. Panel Discussion: The Rights of Children: Perspectives from Beloit College Faculty Members.

  • Bill New, Education. (Roma Children: Language Rights and Educational Access)
  • Beth Dougherty, International Relations. (Child Soldiers)
  • Shatanjaya Dasgupta, Economics. (Gender Preference, Domestic Violence, and Child Well-being)
  • Suzanne Cox, Psychology. (Adolescent Mothers and Child Development)

7:30 p.m. Film screening. Richardson Auditorium, Morse-Ingersoll Hall. "A Kind of Childhood"

Saturday, April 2: 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Moore Lounge, Pearsons Hall. Forum: At Risk Children and Youth: Challenges and Opportunities in Rock County

  • Alan Bates, Judge, Juvenile Division, Rock County Circuit Court
  • Tammie King, Prevention Manager, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin-Community Services
  • Emily Pelz, Executive Director, Special Education, School District of Beloit
  • John Pfleiderer, Executive Director, Family Services of Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois
  • Robin Stuht, Homeless Coordinator, School District of Beloit
  • Carol Mishler, Executive Director, Head Start and Early Head Start