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Center for Human Rights and International Justice

Upcoming Events

Lucy Hovil

Book discussion: Refugees, Conflict and the Search for Belonging

Wednesday, January 25
Stokes N203

With Lucy Hovil, International Refugee Rights Initiative, and Managing Editor for the International Journal of Transitional Justice.  RSVP required below |Access Book Discussion flyer here.

hovil book cover

About the book:

▶ Focuses on refugees across the Great Lakes region, with research and analysis that crosses borders

▶ Presents rich, empirical data collected over six years that incorporates social science methodology with a rights-based framework

▶ Draws out core thematic issues that speak to wider issues of inclusion and exclusion

This book is about the convergence of two problems: the ongoing realities of conflict and forced migration in Eastern and Central Africa, and the crisis of citizenship and belonging. By bringing them together, the intention is to see how, combined, they can help point the way towards possible solutions. Based on 1,115 interviews conducted over 6 years in the region, the book points to ways in which refugees challenge the parameters of citizenship and belonging as they carve out spaces for inclusion in the localities in which they live. Yet with a policy environment that often leads to marginalization, the book highlights the need for policies that pull people into the center rather than polarize and exclude; and that draw on, rather than negate, the creativity that refugees demonstrate in their quest to forge spaces of belonging.

About Dr. Hovil:

Dr. Lucy Hovil has sixteen years of experience conducting research amongst displaced and conflict-affected groups in East and Central Africa, first with the Refugee Law Project of Makerere University, Uganda, and then with the International Refugee Rights Initiative. She received her PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, UK, in 2000, and is the Managing Editor of the International Journal of Transitional Justice.

A light lunch to be served. RSVP required below.


Book discussion: A Radical Faith: The Assassination of Sister Maura

Wednesday, February 22
McGuinn 121

With author Eileen Markey.  RSVP below.

markey book cover

About the book:

The book follows the life of Sister Maura Clarke, one of four US churchwomen murdered by a Salvadoran death squad during the Salvadoran civil war in the 1980s, and her faith which led her to a life of solidarity rather than charity.  

Drawing on interviews with Maura’s family and the people she loved and worked with, her letters, and still heavily‑redacted government documents, Markey followed the trail of Maura's life through four countries: from the sweeping green fields of her parents' Ireland where her father’s involvement in the Irish revolution shaped her own ideas about rebellion; to the boardwalk and sidewalks of Rockaway, New York; to a remote gold mining town in the mountains of Nicaragua; down rutted, washed out roads in El Salvador to villages where survivors whispered the atrocities of civil war—and finally to the place where Maura's body was buried in a hastily dug grave at the edge of the Cold War. How did a sweet girl from Queens end up in a place like this? A Radical Faith answers the question, weaving an intimate portrait of Maura’s spiritual and political journey. Working in poor communities transformed Maura from an obedient and rule-­‐‑bound young woman into a provocative critic of authority who pushed the boundaries of what it meant to be faithful to religious conviction - even if it meant challenging the CIA-backed regimes terrorizing the poor of Latin America. 

Access a recent America magazine review of the the book here, and a recent New York Times review of the book here.

RSVP for this event:


Book discussion: Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality,Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good

Tuesday, February 28
McGuinn 121

With author Chuck Collins.  RSVP below.

About the book:

collins book cover

As inequality grabs headlines, steals the show in presidential debates, and drives deep divides between the haves and have nots in America, class war brews. On one side, the wealthy wield power and advantage, wittingly or not, to keep the system operating in their favor—all while retreating into enclaves that separate them further and further from the poor and working class. On the other side, those who find it increasingly difficult to keep up or get ahead lash out—waging a rhetorical war against the rich and letting anger and resentment, however justifiable, keep us from seeing new potential solutions.

But can we suspend both class wars long enough to consider a new way forward? Is it really good for anyone that most of society’s wealth is pooling at the very top of the wealth ladder? Does anyone, including the one percent, really want to live in a society plagued by economic apartheid?

It is time to think differently, says longtime inequality expert and activist Chuck Collins. Born into the one percent, Collins gave away his inheritance at 26 and spent the next three decades mobilizing against inequality. He uses his perspective from both sides of the divide to deliver a new narrative.

Collins calls for a ceasefire and invites the wealthy to come back home, investing themselves and their wealth in struggling communities.  And he asks the non-wealthy to build alliances with the one percent and others at the top of the wealth ladder.

Stories told along the way explore the roots of advantage, show how taxpayers subsidize the wealthy, and reveal how charity, used incorrectly, can actually reinforce extreme inequality. Readers meet pioneers who are crossing the divide to work together in new ways, including residents in the author’s own Boston-area neighborhood who have launched some of the most interesting community transition efforts in the nation.

In the end, Collins’s national and local solutions not only challenge inequality but also respond to climate change and offer an unexpected, fresh take on one of our most intransigent problems.

RSVP for this event here:

beyond the wall logo

Screening of the film Beyond the Wall

Tuesday, March 21
Cushing 001

With filmmaker Bestor Cram and men featured in the film to offer commentary and Q&A.

Filmed in Lowell and Lawrence, Massachusetts. RSVP below.

Building on the success of their award-winning documentary The Dhamma Brothers, filmmakers Bestor CramJenny Phillips and Andrew Kukura have teamed up once again to highlight one of the most critical issues in the national debate over criminal justice reform: the flood of prisoners returning to our communities without the guidance and support needed for a successful transition back to society. Too often, prison reentry becomes a setup for failure and eventual reincarceration.

The U.S. incarcerates Americans at globally unprecedented rates. What’s more, within three years of release approximately two-thirds of the formerly incarcerated are rearrested and sent back to prison. After Incarceration, There’s Life is a social impact campaign for the documentary Beyond the Wall. Both the film and campaign take a close look at the journey from incarceration to community, from behind the wall to beyond the wall. The journey is often riddled with road bumps and uncertainty. After Incarceration, There’s Life seeks to make the journey beyond the wall successful and permanent.

Beyond The Wall trailer from Northern Light Productions on Vimeo.

See the Beyond the Wall website here. RSVP below.



Reimagining Refugee Law

Wednesday, March 29
Location TBA

With Alex Aleinikoff, Columbia Law School and former United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva.

Respondent: Vlad Perju, Director, Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy

Co-sponsored by the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy.  More details to come.

immigration form

Conference: State/Federal Tensions in Immigration Enforcement: Looking Back and Looking Forward

Tuesday, April 4
East Wing 120
Boston College Newton campus

A Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy at Boston College conference co-sponsored by the Center.

Additional details TBA. RSVP for the conference here.