University of Pittsburgh
March 21, 2006

University of Pittsburgh to Present Conference on Human Rights And the Security Continuum

Student groups Agora and Association of Women in Public Health to host
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Proponents of human security agree on one thing: The primary goal of human security is the protection of individuals. What they do not agree on, however, is how to define the threats that disrupt that security. A Pitt-sponsored conference, "Transcending Boundaries: Human Rights and the Security Continuum," aims to connect the differing perspectives by suggesting that they lie at points on a continuum rather than existing independently of each other. The conference will take place on Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1. The free public lectures will be held on the 3rd floor of Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet Street, Oakland.

Looking at security as a continuum, then, means that when working separately to protect people from either human (gender-based violence, housing equality, water distribution) or national security risks (bioterrorism, genocide, civil war), the other interest is often protected as well. The conference will take this into account by addressing both types of security.

Clifford Bob, assistant professor of political science at Duquesne University, will deliver the keynote luncheon address at noon on March 31, in the Assembly Room of the William Pitt Union, 3959 Fifth Ave., Oakland. (To complete the registration form required for the luncheon and see a schedule of events, visit Bob's teaching and research interests include the study of leadership in social movements, the emergence of new international norms, understanding contemporary transnational civil society, and human rights. He has published articles in Foreign Policy, International Politics, and Journal of Human Rights.

Other speakers include Julie Mertus, associate professor and codirector of the master's program in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs at American University, who will speak on organizing for gay and lesbian rights. Mertus has more than 15 years experience as a lawyer, field researcher in human rights, and political analyst. Pitt students will give presentations both days on topics ranging from agriculture and the environment to refugees and migrants.

The conference is cosponsored by Agora and the Association of Women in Public Health (AWPH). Agora is a student group within Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs that seeks to enhance the graduate student experience by providing unique opportunities for students to develop professionally at all stages of their careers. AWPH is a student organization within Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health that strives to improve the general public's health and increase women's role in that endeavor.