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2017 Events



Join the Holocaust Resource Center for a free public talk with Zainab Hawa Bangura, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Areas. The conversation will be held on Thursday, March 23, from 2-3:15 p.m. at the Holocaust Resource Center, located in the Nancy Thompson Library, Room 206.

An activist from Sierra Leone, Bangura has more than 20 years of policy, diplomatic and practical experience in the field of governance, conflict resolution and reconciliation in Africa, as well as on-the-ground experience with peacekeeping operations.

Bangura will share her insights on the most effective ways to confront the scourge of rape being used as a tool of war throughout the world. She has an extraordinary life story and deep experience, and will share the lessons she has learned over the years.

The talk will be moderated by John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project and Kean University's Ann Evans Estabrook Senior Human Rights Fellow. Prendergast will also serve as the emcee for the 10th Annual Human Rights Institute Conference, Half Empty: The Depths of the Global Water Crisis, on Friday, March 24.

Faculty are encouraged to bring their students. Students in all majors are encouraged to attend. No reservations or tickets are required.

DROPS OF INSIGHT: One Refugee's Journey to Bring Clean Water to South Sudan 
Thursday, March 23, 5 p.m. • STEM Building

More than one in 10 people around the world—about 663 million people—lack access to sanitary water as a result of contamination, poor infrastructure and water scarcity. Learn more about the efforts to end this global water crisis from human rights activists Salva Dut, Sudanese refugee and founder of Water for South Sudan, and John Prendergast, Kean University's Anne Evans Estabrook Senior Fellow. 

5-6:30 p.m. | Ursino 
VIP Reception 
Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at the Kean Stage Box Office or online at Proceeds to benefit the Human Rights Institute at Kean University and Water for South Sudan. 

6:30-7:15 p.m. | STEM Auditorium 
Public Talk 
Admission is free and open to all members of the campus community and the general public. Faculty are encouraged to bring their classes. 

7:15-7:45 p.m. | STEM Lobby 
A Long Walk to Water Book Signing 
Linda Sue Park's book, A Long Walk to Water, tells the true story of Dut's experience as a "lost boy" of South Sudan. Individuals can bring their own copy of the book or purchase one at the event to have it signed by Salva Dut.  

Continue the conversation at the Human Rights Institute Conference, Half Empty: The Depths of the Global Water Crisis, on Friday, March 24.



Turning on the tap and getting clean water to quench our thirst, wash our bodies and cook our food cannot be taken for granted. The United Nations has declared that access to safe and sanitary water is an inalienable human right, yet more than one in 10 people around the world—about 663 million people—lack access to sanitary water. This global crisis is evident locally and around the world in communities facing contamination, infrastructure problems and water scarcity. Together, we can end this threat to human survival.

The Human Rights Institute at Kean University's 10th Annual Conference on Human Rights, Half Empty: The Depths of the Global Water Crisis, will explore these issues on Friday, March 24. On-site check-in for registered guests will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Wilkins Theatre lobby. Speakers include CNN Hero Doc Hendley, “Lost Boy of Sudan” Salva Dut​, and water policy expert Robert Glennon. International activist, author and film producer John Prendergast, Kean’s Anne Evans Estabrook Human Rights Senior Fellow, will emcee the conference. 

“Our annual international conference on human rights not only brings human rights issues to people’s attention, it issues a call to action to the participants and educates them in ways that they can change the very world in which we live,” said Dawood Farahi, Ph.D., president of Kean University. “By sharing examples of their own experiences in the front lines of the global water crisis, each of this year’s speakers will challenge an audience of more than 900 high school and college students, educators, and human rights and environmental justice advocates to answer the Human Rights Institute’s call to action.”

Founder and president of Wine to Water and a 2009 CNN Hero Doc Hendley will be a featured speaker. At 30 years old, this bartender-musician started raising money to ease the global water crisis the best way he knew how––by pouring wine and playing music. What started with local wine tastings and a simple donation jar at the edge of the bar evolved into Hendley's Wine to Water foundation. To date, Hendley and members of his charitable organization have worked to dig, repair and sanitize drinking wells for more than 25,000 people in refugee camps across five countries and have distributed water and chlorine tablets to people living inside United Nations' dangerous "no-go" zones.

Salva Dut​,​ founder and senior advisor for Water for South Sudan, will share his personal story of fleeing Sudan as one of “The Lost Boys of Sudan” during the two-decades long civil war. On that flight he experienced many harsh conditions including food and water deficiency, along with disease, wild animal and military attacks. Dut’s humble character inspires audiences to support Water for South Sudan’s mission of service to the people of South Sudan.

Robert Glennon, Regents’ Professor and Morris K. Udall Professor of Law and Public Policy at Rogers College of Law of the University of Arizona, rounds out the conference speakers. He is one of the nation’s preeminent experts on water policy and law and an award-winning author of several books, including Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It. Glennon and two of his co-authors from the Hamilton Project explored new solutions to fix federal and state laws that are contributing to water shortages in California and many other western states. Their report received national attention and is considered a game changer in water policy moving forward.

During the conference, the Human Rights Institute Awards will be presented to local, regional and national change makers.

This year, a virtual reality experience - charity: water's film, The Source - will be offered on Kean’s Union campus the week leading up to the Human Rights Institute conference. Using a virtual reality headset, participants will step into the world of 13-year-old Selam for nine minutes and experience the moment her Ethiopian village gets clean water for the first time. The charity: water virtual reality experience will be available Tuesday, March 21, through World Water Day on Thursday, March 23, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and again after the conference on Friday, March 24, until 3 p.m.

The Human Rights Institute at Kean University was conceived in 2010 by President Farahi to broaden the University’s longstanding efforts to raise awareness of human rights issues locally and worldwide. The Institute and its gallery were formally opened in a ceremony featuring Kerry Kennedy, co-founder of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights. Each year, the Human Rights Institute Conference serves as a call to action to participants to help educate and change the world.

There is no cost to attend Kean's Human Rights Institute conference, but online registration is required. Educators are encouraged to bring their students. Space is limited.

Answer the call to action. 

Online registration is closed. On-site registration is available.


Ending Legal Injustices through Art and Activism Conference at Kean University

Ending Legal Injustices through Art and Activism

Using artworks from The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions exhibition in the Human Rights Institute at Kean University Gallery as a foundation for dialog, the Ending Legal Injustices conference examined critical issues of human rights violations that are still legal in the United States and abroad. Speakers included New Jersey State Senator Raymond J. Lesniak and other change makers from local and national organizations.

>>> Click here to read the article on Kean News.


The Human Rights Institute at Kean University will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2017. Click on the video below to watch a retrospective of the Human Rights Institute over the last decade. 

To view the introduction videos for each Human Rights Institute Conference, click on the respective title. 

2016 Locked Up in America: The Business of Incarceration
2015 Well Beings: The Human Rights Healthcare
2014 Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding Lives and Communities Postwar
2013 #ENOUGH! Affecting Change from the Front Lines to Your News Feed
2012 Creating Opportunity through Education: Empowering Women to Combat Oppression
2011 Immigration: A Melting Pot No More? 
2010 Combating Hatred
2009 Slavery in the 21st Century
2008 Darfur: The First Genocide of the 21st Century

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