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Student Conference on Human Rights to Focus on Urban Slums

Event brings together students from colleges nationwide, policymakers and activists

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January 19, 2010 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. --- If you think that college students today are only marginally interested in the world at large, visit Northwestern University's Evanston campus Jan. 21 through Jan. 24, and discover otherwise.

That's when the nation's largest undergraduate student-organized human rights conference will bring together student delegates from Northwestern, Harvard University, the University of Florida and colleges around the country with policymakers, activists, nonprofit workers and academics.

The Northwestern University Conference on Human Rights (NUCHR) -- now in its seventh year -- will focus on "Urban Slums: The Shadow of the Humanitarian Generation." The event is free and open to the public. Donations to Partners in Health, Haiti are suggested. Visit http://www.standwithhaiti.org/haiti for information.

Katherine Sierra, vice president for sustainable development at the World Bank, will open the conference Thursday, Jan. 21, with a keynote lecture titled "Empowering Hope: Cities, Slums, and Human Rights." Sierra leads the World Bank's climate change strategy and activities designed to help developing countries take advantage of economic opportunities associated with rapid urbanization.

Writer and blogger Robert Neuwirth will deliver the closing keynote address at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24. Neuwirth is the author of "Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, A New Urban World," which describes his experiences living in squatter communities in Nairobi, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul and Mumbai. His latest book, "Stealth of Nations," focuses on the global reach of the underground economy. It will be published this year.

The NUCHR is made possible by contributions from Northwestern's Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the International Studies Program, the Office of International Program Development, the Program of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and other parts of the University.

For further information and a schedule of events and event locations, visit the conference Web site at http://www.nuchr.net/.