Graduate Student Association President
The Idaho State University Graduate School was invited to partner with various students and organizations from around the country in a conference entitled “Human Rights Abuses: Expose the Cover Ups.”
The conference was put on by Human Rights Attorney Michael Withey in Seattle, Washington as well as many other leading human rights organizations throughout the country.
In attendance were many students from various scholastic institutions, as well as other college-aged students who are exploring future careers in human rights and other social justice fields. In showing ISU’s alliance with key human rights issues, we were able to do outreach with a pool of potential future students, advancing the ISU Graduate School’s outreach and further illustrating ISU’s steadfast commitment to human rights, equality, and the promotion of higher education across broad categories of students.
The focus of the conference was to lend a voice to the different persons and organizations focused on overcoming human rights abuses and exposing the cover-ups used to undermine human rights around the world. Key speakers included Almudena Bernabeu, the director of Center for Justice and Accountability, Angelina Godoy, Director for Center of Human Rights, Cindy Domingo, a community organizer, Eric Nalder, a filmmaker and tv producer, John Connelly, a nationally ranked attorney, and our very own Abeer Al-qurashi from ISU who spoke on female genital mutilation abuses and practices.
Also in attendance were various persons representing human rights abuses taking place in Mexico and other Central American countries. A key portion of this conference was dedicated to exposing the cover-up of human rights abuses and the way that such abuses are shielded from the public eye. Abeer Al-qurashi was able to effectively share her scholarship and comment on the ways that cross-cultural customs interact with United States laws and policies in the human rights field as well as in health policy.
Omid Heidari, a PhD student in robotics from ISU was also able to attend the conference. Though Omid attended as a private person interested in the field of human rights, he too was able to represent ISU by helping out with the ISU table and talking with other conference attendees about the work he does at ISU.
In terms of outreach to students, ISU had a table set out at the conference with all relevant literature relating to the graduate school.
The Graduate School’s logo and information was published on the print and digital materials for the conference. I was manning the table through the majority of the conference and I was able to meet with many different prospective students about ISU’s graduate program and explain the various departments which concentrate on social justice issues.
This was, in my opinion, very effective at spreading awareness about ISU and the various work and scholarship taking place at our university.
I was able to give out many cards and flyers to passing students and persons.
Secondly, I would consider ISU’s partnership with the conference as a success not only because it showcased ISU values and scholarship (thanks to Abeer) helping to spread awareness but also because this move for the graduate students to support and partner for a human rights conference further align ISU with the human rights community.
Given our recent complications with Middle Eastern students in Pocatello, I think this illustration of ISU’s commitment to equality and human rights will serve us well. I spoke with many students who are curious about ISU, what’s offered, and the level of diversity at our university.
I would consider this conference a success as it helped to give ISU some publicity in a very important area of study, showcased ISU scholarship, and reached out to future and potential students who will no doubt take the information that has been given to them.
Lastly, having ISU’s banner and logo all over the materials for the conference is a great step in promoting our university, the Graduate School specifically, and it will no doubt serve us in the future.