Human Rights Conference at Kean University | Friday, March 21

Long after nations declare an end to warfare, the devastating effects of war continue –– soldiers and innocent civilians struggle to cope with the experiences of war and the challenges of resuming their lives. We, as civilians, must work to ensure the ongoing safety and security of our fellow humans and to support our troops as they begin to heal from the traumas of war. Together, we have the power to rebuild lives and rehabilitate communities.

Join the efforts at the 7th Annual Conference on Human Rights, Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding Lives and Communities Postwar, on Friday, March 21, 2014. To register, and learn more, please visit:

The conference will feature a keynote address by Dr. Kenneth Rutherford, co-founder of the Landmine Survivors Network who is renowned for his work with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines that led to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty as well as for his participation in the global movement that led to the 2008 Cluster Munitions Ban Treaty. Other speakers include Melissa Stockwell, Iraq War veteran, and Jacqueline Murekatete, survivor of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Kean President Dr. Dawood Farahi created the conference to serve as a major component of the university’s Human Rights Institute, a facility dedicated to bringing awareness to human rights issues across the globe. “As citizens of a global community, we have a responsibility to ourselves and our fellow citizens,” said Farahi. “The 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.”

This conference is free and open to the public. Educators are especially encouraged to attend and bring their students. On-site check-in for registered attendees will begin at 8 a.m. at the Wilkins Theatre.

The Human Rights Institute at Kean Universityy works to raise awareness of human rights violations worldwide and to inspire action to combat these injustices. The Human Rights Institute sponsors a broad range of activities, including seminars and conferences, and works with school districts to produce curricula and materials for students. Kean also offers an interdisciplinary M.A. in Holocaust & Genocide Studies degree that specifically studies the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, other Genocides and atrocities that human beings commit against each other.


Activist John Prendergast Named Senior Fellow at Kean University's Human Rights Institute

Kean University President Dr. Dawood Farahi announced that acclaimed international human rights advocate and best-selling author John Prendergast will join Kean as the Anne Evans Estabrook Human Rights Senior Fellow. Prendergast will lend his expertise in the field of human rights advocacy to help expand the groundbreaking work of the Human Rights Institute at Kean University. Prendergast will spend a week in residence at Kean during the spring and fall semesters.

“John Prendergast’s work in Africa and with the Enough Project has resulted in real and substantial improvement in some of the world’s most deplorable human rights situations,” said Kean University President Dr. Dawood Farahi. “Kean is pleased to welcome John as a senior fellow whose expertise can bring our efforts in the field to next level.”

Prendergast will visit the Kean campus in Union the week of March 24, 2014, participating in several events and research initiatives. A book signing event for his most recent book, Unlikely Brothers, will take place Tuesday, March 25th at 5:30 p.m. in the gallery of the Human Rights Institute at Kean. The event is open to the public. Unlikely Brothersis a dual memoir he co-authored with his first little brother in the Big Brother program.

Prendergast is no stranger to Kean University. He was the keynote speaker at the University’s annual Human Rights conference in 2013, and four years earlier, he was a special guest of honor at a fundraising gala on Ellis Island designed to launch the newly founded Human Rights Institute.

Prendergast has been an advocate for human rights and peace in Africa since the late 1980s. President Clinton appointed him to the National Security Council as director for African affairs in 1996. He was later named as a special advisor to the State Department, and in that capacity helped to broker a ceasefire in a war between Ethiopia and Eritrea in the late 1990s. He resigned from the government in 2001 to join the International Crisis Group as a special advisor for Africa.

In 2007, Prendergast co-founded the Enough Project, designed to bring an end to genocide and human rights violations throughout the world. He has worked with other advocates, including the actor George Clooney, to raise awareness of human rights violations throughout the globe.

In addition to Unlikely Brothers, Prendergast also co-authored the New York Times best seller, Not on Our Watch, with Don Cheadle, as well as The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes.

Prendergast is a board member and serves as Strategic Advisor to Not on Our Watch, the organization founded by Clooney, Cheadle, Matt Damon, and Brad Pitt. He also helped direct the Sudan Now campaign, which supported the holding of a peaceful referendum for South Sudan. Prendergast has been awarded six honorary doctorates, and has been a visiting professor at more than a dozen major Colleges and Universities, including Stanford, Duke, Yale Law School, Dartmouth College and, beginning this semester, Kean University.

President Farahi thanked fellowship sponsor Anne Evans Estabrook for her generous support for this initiative. “Ms. Estabrook’s ongoing contributions and support for Kean University and its students are invaluable and deeply appreciated,” Dr. Farahi said.