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Weissberg Lectures in International Human Rights

2015 Ashlee Cunsolo Willox, Canada Research Chair in Determinants of Healthy Communities

Ashlee Cunsolo Willox"The Right to Cold: Climate Change and Canada's Inuit Communities"

Ashlee Cunsolo Willox is a Canada Research Chair in Determinants of Healthy Communities and an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Nursing and Indigenous Studies at Cape Breton University in Unama’ki/Cape Breton. As a community-engaged social science and health researcher, working at the intersection of place,culture, health, and environment, she has a particular interest in the social, environmental, and cultural determinants of Indigenous health, capacity development, environmental ethics, and the social justice implications of social and health inequality. As a community-based researcher, Ashlee works collaboratively with Indigenous colleagues through community-led participatory research approaches and methods to identify community needs and priorities and work towards locally-appropriate and culturally-relevant adaptation strategies.


2014 Anna Sevortian, executive director of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum,

"Russian Civil Society in 2014: The Challenge, Call and Promise"

Anna SevortianAnna Sevortian has had over 15 years of working on civil society and human rights in the former Soviet Union, and is former Russia Director for Human Rights Watch. Earlier she had been Galina Starovoitova Fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC, and Deputy Director of the Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights in Moscow. Over the years, she contributed to 40 research and evaluation projects and publications in Russian and in English. Anna holds Mid-Career MPA from Harvard Kennedy School and journalism degree from the Moscow State University. (Source: EU-Russia Civil Society Forum website)


2013 Paul Fishstein'76, visiting Fellow at the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University

"Challenges for Humanitarianism in Post-2001 Afghanistan: Competing or Complementary Mandates?”

Paul Fishstein'76 lectured on the dilemmas and challenges confronted by humanitarian and development organizations operating alongside military forces in the politically-charged environment of the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. A graduate of Beloit College in English Literature and Education, Paul Fishstein received a M.Sc. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Maryland College Park.   Read a related article by Dr. Fishstein here: Winning Hearts and Minds? Examining the Relationship between Aid and Security in Afghanistan.


2012 Adam Koons'76

"Humanitarian Response: Human Rights Meet Reality" 

In providing relief to populations affected by natural disasters and political crises, how must aid agencies navigate between human rights mandates and the reality on the ground?  Dr. Adam Koons'76, director of relief and humanitarian assistance for International Relief and Development (IRD) spoke from 26 years of experience in addressing this question.

Adam Koons'76 SpeakingDr. Adam Koons'76:  Dr. Koons (pictured at right) has been working in development and relief for 26 years. He has worked for a wide variety of humanitarian agencies, including the U.S. Peace Corps, USAID, CARE International, Save the Children, the United Nations, and President Carter’s Presidential Commission on World Hunger, as well as on numerous consulting assign-ments. Before joining IRD, he served for over three years as the Sudan Country Director for Save the Children, overseeing a $32 million program with over 1,000 staff. Dr. Koons specializes in food security, economic development, and disaster relief, and has over 15 years of overseas experience in countries such as Haiti, Niger, Sudan, and Kenya, holding a number of different positions, including technical training coordinator, evaluation director, food aid advisor, project and program manager, and agency country director. He holds a Doctorate Degree in economics and applied anthropology from American University in Washington, D.C.  He studied anthropology at Beloit College.

2011 Mark Drumbl

Mark Drumbl"Reimagining Child Soldiers in International Law and Policy"

Mark Drumbl is the author of two books and Director of the Transitional Law Institute at Washington & Lee University, School of Law. He has held visiting appointments on the law faculties of Oxford University, Université de Paris II, Vanderbilt University, University of Ottawa, Trinity College-Dublin, the University of Melbourne, and the University of Sydney, to name a few.  His first book, Atrocity, Punishment and International Law, won several awards for its re-examination of how individuals who perpetrate genocide and crimes against humanity should be punished.  Professor Drumbl's work has been relied upon by the Supreme Court of Canada, the United Kingdom High Court, and the Supreme Court of New York in recent decisions.

2010 Jean-Marie Kamatali

"Rebuilding Society After Conflict and Dictatorship: Lessons from Rwanda" 

Jean-Marie KamataliOn September 13, 2010, Beloit College hosted Dr. Kamatali, a law professor whose work focuses on human rights, international law and comparative constitutional law. He has published articles on ethnic conflict, genocide, women’s rights and the international criminal tribunal in both U.S and European law journals. In 2003, he co-authored a book on the justice system in Rwanda and recently completed a second book on state development in Africa, focusing on Rwanda. Kamatali has been a consultant to international organizations, including FAO, UNICEF, the Danish Center for Human Rights and the World Bank. Dr. Kamatali is currently a professor at Ohio Northern University.


Stephen Xenakis2009 General Stephen N. Xenakis

"Ending Torture: Implications for US Policy"

On Monday, September 14, 2009, Beloit College hosted the second Weissberg Lecturer in International Human Rights. Brigadier General Stephen N. Xenakis, served in the U.S. Army for 28 years, retiring in 1998 after having held many high-level positions, including Commanding General of the Southeast Regional Army Medical Command. Since then he has worked with Physicians for Human Rights to speak out against the use of psychological torture by US personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, and to lobby for the passage of the Detainee Treatment Act, prohibiting the cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners. “The assertion that physicians are participating in torture unravels any argument that America is acting on high moral principles,” Xenakis wrote in and opinion column published in the Washington Monthly in 2008.


2008 Roy Gutman

"Afghanistan: How We Missed the Story"

Roy Gutman 2008

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Roy Gutman delivered the inaugural Marvin Weissberg Lecture in International Human Rights on October 6, 2008 at Beloit College. His presentation served as the inaugural Marvin Weissberg Lecture in International Human Rights at the college.

Roy Gutman, one of the leading investigative reporters in the world today, says the 2001 terrorist strikes on the United States signaled failed U.S. foreign policies that predate the attacks by more than a decade. His new book, How We Missed the Story: Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban, and the Highjacking of Afghanistan (2008), details how forces hostile to the U.S. gained power in Afghanistan in the early 1990s, and how the U.S. government, the United Nations and Western media failed to address the threat. Gutman discussed this view in a lecture titled “Afghanistan: How the Government and the Media Got the Story Wrong”.

Gutman’s lecture marked the second time that the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist has visited Beloit. In 2003, he served as the Weissberg Distinguished Professor of International Studies at the college, visiting classes and discussing his experiences reporting the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the 1990s.           

A respected foreign correspondent, Gutman drew his conclusions about Western culpability in current world crises after conducting extensive research in Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to Gutman, the end of the 10-year war between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan in 1989 resulted in a regional power vacuum. Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the U.S. and various international organizations adopted official policies of “neutrality”—taking little action to exert political influence in Southwest Asia. By the mid-1990s, the Taliban, an extremist Islamist faction, had seized control in Afghanistan and provided refuge to Osama Bin Laden, an influential Saudi revolutionary with money, an anti-American agenda and dedicated followers. Thus, the stage was set for a clash of ideologies and nations that would forever alter the global political landscape.            

Gutman contends that the international press neglected to keep abreast of the developing situation in Afghanistan. He believes the media effectively “left the scene after the Russian defeat in 1989,” providing no outside witnesses to the internal civil war that allowed the Taliban to wrest control of the country. “We missed that story,” Gutman says, noting that journalists can learn a critical lesson from that failure. The media, he asserts, “…have to be there and—if they don’t want us somewhere—that’s where we need to be.”            

An expert on war crimes, Gutman has served as a diplomatic correspondent for Newsweek and the director of American University’s Crimes of War Project. He is the author of Banana Diplomacy: The Making of American Policy in Nicaragua (1988) and A Witness to Genocide (1993), and co-editor of the reference guide Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know (1999). In 1993, Gutman won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting “…for his courageous and persistent reporting that disclosed atrocities and other human rights violations in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.” He has also been honored with the George Polk award for foreign reporting, the Selden Ring Award for investigative reporting and the Human Rights in Media Award. He graduated from Haverford College and holds a master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics.