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Center for Human Rights and International Justice

2011-2012 Events

Center for Human Rights and International Justice

Beyond Belief movie poster

Screening of Beyond Belief with special panel

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
6:30 pm -- Devlin 008
*RSVP required to
Doors open at 6:00PM.

With special guests:

  • Patti Quigley, Film Subject and Executive Director, Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation
  • Beth Murphy, Film Producer
  • Prof. Ali Banuazizi, BC Prof. of Political Science and Afghanistan scholar

The Center, along with Primary Source, present this remarkable film to help mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.  Beyond Belief is the story of two Boston-area women, Patti Quigley and Susan Retik, who lost their husbands in the 9/11 attacks.  The two travel to Afghanistan to meet with Afghan widows to learn more about their reality and are inspired to seek ways to empower them to improve their dire situation there.

After the screening, we heard from the panel which spoke about the making of the film and the present situation in Afghanistan, including Patti Quigley, who is now Executive Director of Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation, a non-profit institution which works to improve the lives of women and children in Afghanistan through community-based education.

There was also  an opportunity for the audience to interact with the panel during a question and answer session.

Event flyer may be viewed here.

Letters from the Other Side movie poster

Screening of Sin Pais and Letters From the Other Side

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
6:00 pm -- Gasson 305

Co-sponsored by the BC Film Studies Program.  As the first event in the Center's Migration Film Series this year, a screening of two short documentary films exploring the migration experience intimately through the eyes of families who have migrated and the personal and legal challenges they face. Center Directors Dan Kanstroom and Brinton Lykes will be on hand during a Q&A session following the screening to answer questions regarding legal and psychosocial aspects of immigration and deportation policy as well.

Refreshments will be served.  Event flyer can be viewed here.

Sin País (Without Country) addresses a host of immigration issues by intimately following one family's journey through deportation. The film provides a platform from which to discuss the following aspects of immigration:

  • Human ramifications of immigration policy
  • Psychological effects of deportation on the family
  • Mixed immigration-status families
  • Youth-perspective of immigration policy

About Sin Pais (20 min):

Sin País (Without Country) attempts to get beyond the partisan politics and mainstream media’s "talking point" approach to immigration issues by exploring one family’s complex and emotional journey involving deportation. In 1992, Sam and Elida Mejia left Guatemala during a violent civil war and brought their one-year old son, Gilbert, to California.  The Mejias settled in the Bay Area, and for the past 17 years they have worked multiple jobs to support their family, paid their taxes, and saved enough to buy a home. They had two more children, Helen and Dulce, who are both U.S. citizens.  Two years ago, immigration agents stormed the Mejia’s house looking for someone who didn’t live there.  Sam, Elida, and Gilbert were all undocumented and became deeply entangled in the U.S. immigration system.

Sin País begins two weeks before Sam and Elida’s scheduled deportation date. After a passionate fight to keep the family together, Sam and Elida are deported and take Dulce with them back to Guatemala.

With intimate access and striking imagery, Sin País explores the complexities of the Mejias new reality of a separated family–parents without their children, and children without their parents.

Three women

Participatory Action Research and PhotoVoice with Community Health Workers in Post-Katrina New Orleans Exhibit Opening and Reception


Thursday, October 27, 2011 -- 7:00 pm

Exhibit showing through Saturday, October 29, 5:00 pm
Murray Room, Yawkey Center

    This exhibit is a product of the project led by Center Associate Director M. Brinton Lykes, (link to /centers/humanrights/projects/PAR.html) Participatory Action Research in Post-Katrina New Orleans: Developing psychosocial resources for cross-community dialogue, healing, and organizing for change.  

    The exhibit features photographs taken by the project's participants, who canvassed New Orleans neighborhoods in Hurricane Katrina's wake to discuss community health issues and contextualize them in the greater socioeconomic context, in the vein of participatory action research (PAR) the project is rooted in.

 Joining Prof. Lykes from the project will be:

  • Holly Scheib, Project Manager of Post-Katrina PhotoVoice and Professor at Tulane University
  • Luanne Francis, health educator and program director at Kingsley House in New Orleans

A reception will follow the presentations on the project.

Event flyer may be viewed here.

Event flyer in Spanish may be viewed here.


abused movie poster

Screening of abUSed: the Postville Raid

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 
6:00 pm -- East Wing 120, BC Newton Campus

Part of the Center's Migration Film Series this year, and co-sponsored by the BC Film Studies Program, the screening of abUSed, a powerful documentary, will explore the most brutal immigration raid in the history of the United States - the Postville, Iowa raid of 2008. Produced by Luis Argueta, abUSed- the Postville Raid tells the story of one of the largest Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the US and reveals the disastrous effects of enforcement policies on families, children and communities. It also serves as a cautionary tale against government abuses of the rule of law, the constitution and labor rights.  Find about more about the film here.

Following the film, a worker detained in the 2007 ICE raid on the Michael Bianco, Inc. factory in New Bedford, MA will speak about her experience.

Refreshments to be served.  Event flyer may be viewed here.


Mary Jo Bane
Mary Jo Bane

Economic Justice for All

Special panel commemorating the 25th anniversary of the "Economic Justice for All" Pastoral Letter by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Tuesday, November 8
Murray Room, Yawkey Center
Boston College

John Donahue, SJ
John Donahue, SJ


Mary Jo Bane, Professor of Public Policy and Management at Harvard University and former Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Clinton, and

John Donahue, SJ, Raymond E. Brown Distinguished Professor of New Testament Studies (Emeritus) at Loyola Unversity Maryland, who worked with the bishops on the creation of the letter

Economic Justice for All tenth anniversary flyer

In 1986, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a pastoral letter affirming the Catholic view of the centrality of the dignity and well-being of humanity in economic affairs, and in particular offering a critique of the dominant economic system of the time as embodied by that of the United States.  The full text of the letter may be viewed here.

Fr. Donahue will reflect on the relevance of the theological aspects of the letter today, and Professor Bane will explore the letter's practical policy considerations in today's world as part of their comments.

Refreshments to be served.  For a Google map to parking locations and the Yawkey Center on the BC campus, please visit hereEvent flyer may be viewed here.

The event was written about in the Heights! Read the article here.


Leo O'Donovan
Fr. O'Donovan

Taking Flight: When Jesus was a Refugee – The Flight into Egypt in Western Art


Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Murray Room, Yawkey Center
Boston College

To celebrate the beginning of the beginning of Advent, the Center welcomes Leo O’Donovan, SJ, President Emeritus of Georgetown University, for an art-infused lecture entitled Taking Flight: When Jesus was a Refugee – The Flight into Egypt in Western Art.  This lecture, accompanied by a slideshow of various depictions of the Holy Family fleeing King Herod’s murderous Massacre of the Innocents in Bethlehem, will make linkages between the flight of the Holy Family to escape oppression with that of the refugees today across the globe.

Co-sponsored by the BC School of Theology and Ministry, BC Fine Arts Department and the BC Theology Department.  Event flyer may be viewed here.

Video of the lecture available online here.

Luis Moreno Ocampo

The Emerging Supranational Criminal Justice System, Following the Adoption of the Rome Statute

Thursday, January 19, 2012
4:30 pm -- East Wing 120

With International Criminal Court Chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo.   View event flyer here


Ishmael Beah
Ishmael Beah

Children and Conflict in a Changing World

Monday, February 6, 2012
Gasson 100
Boston College

with Ishmael Beah

The use of children in armed conflicts has become an appalling global phenomenon. Tremendous international attention has been raised regarding this issue and various international legal standards and initiatives have been put in place to prevent the use of children in war and hold accountable those responsible for such practices.

This talk will provide a first hand experience of what it means to be a child soldier as a way to illustrate the human context that is necessary to understand what has been done to prevent the use of children in war and the development of international standards to tackle this problem. What is war through the eyes of a child and how does an individual and society recover from violence? Such questions will be explored.

Ishmael Beah is a former child soldier, forced to fight in his native Sierra Leone's civil war of the mid-1990s.  He is the author of A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Co-sponsored with the BC Arts & Social Responsibility Project.  RSVP to

Event flyer may be viewed here.

Bringing King to China movie poster

Bringing King to China

Thursday, February 9, 2012
Cushing 001
Boston College

Fimmaker Kevin McKiernan joins us for a screening of his documentary Bringing King to China. The film chronicles a young American teacher's quest to bring Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy of non-violent struggle for human rights to modern day China in the form of a play about him with Chinese actors.

The film is a vehicle for American audiences to examine Dr. King's international impact and to access the changing beliefs of China's future leaders. The film provides a unique lens for Americans to review the history of the U.S. civil rights movement and to wrestle with Martin Luther King Jr.'s inspiring call for global peace, one of his important—but lesser known—beliefs.

After the screening, Mr. McKiernan will lead a discussion about the film.  The full trailer of the film may be viewed here

Co-sponsored with the BC Arts & Social Responsibility Project.  RSVP to

A Google map of the BC campus with parking locations and Cushing Hall marked may be viewed here.

Sentence Home movie poster

Screening of Sentenced Home

Wednesday, February 15
6:00 pm -- BC Newton campus, East Wing 120

Part of Center's Migration film Series, a documentary film following young men who, as small children, found asylum in Seattle, Washington after fleeing Cambodia's civil strife.  However, as young men, they are deported back to an unfamiliar Cambodia after run-ins with the law in the US.  The film shows the effects on their families as they are separated from even their wives and children, only able to see them when their families can afford to travel to Cambodia.  It also shows their struggles to fit into a different society in Cambodia after being raised in public housing projects in Seattle.

Center Associate Director Dan Kanstroom, expert in US immigration law, will lead a discussion with attendees after the film.  View the event flyer here.

Abdullahi A. An-Na'im

Islam, Sharia, and Democratic Transformation in the Arab World

Wednesday, February 15
4:45 pm --
Devlin 008

With Abdullahi A. An-Na’im, Emory University

Co-sponored event with the Islamic Civilization & Societies Program and the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

José María Tojeira
José María Tojeira, SJ

Amnesty and Accountability in the Case of the El Salvador Jesuit Assassinations: The Moral Meets the Pragmatic

Thursday, March 22
7:30 pm -- Heights Room, Corcoran Commons

With Pamela Merchant, Center for Justice and Accountability, and José María Tojeira, SJ, Rector Emeritus of the University of Central America, El Salvador.

Last year, the Spanish National Court issued an indictment and arrest warrants for 20 Salvadoran ex-officers charged with crimes against humanity and state terrorism for their role in the shocking killings of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador in 1989, seeking their extradition to Spain to stand trial for these charges.  Our speakers, the executive director of the organization that filed the case in the court and a colleague of the victims and rector emeritus of the university the priests resided at when slain, will talk about the current status of the case, perspectives from Jesuit and human rights communities on the case, and the possible relevance of this case for other efforts to secure human rights today. 

Read more about the case on CJA's website here.

The event flyer can be seen here.    Click here for the video.

A translation of Fr. Tojeira's remarks, which are in Spanish, can be accessed by clicking here.

Co-sponsored with the Center's partner project, the Ignacio Martín-Baró Fund for Mental Health and Human Rights. RSVP to

Gabriel Bol Deng

The Power of Hope

Sunday, March 25
11:15 am -- Heights Room, Corcoran Commons

St. Ignatius Parish and the Boston College Center for Human Rights and International Justice present: The Power of Hope, With former Lost Boy of Sudan Gabriel Bol Deng

A screening of the film, “Rebuilding Hope”, the story of Gabriel Bol Deng and two other young men who fled their homes in southern Sudan during the civil war there, finding refuge in the U.S. in 2001.  The film follows them as they return to their home village in 2007 to meet their families once again and to find ways to help rebuild after the devastating war, focusing on health and education needs and the empowerment of women. Having just returned from a trip to South Sudan, where he met with President Kiir, Mr. Deng will answer questions on the situation in the new nation of South Sudan, what his foundation, Hope for Ariang, is trying to accomplish there, and will share some photos and stories from his trip. Refreshments to be served.

Event flyer can be seen here.


The Enforcement of Economic and Social Rights: How Rights to Food, Water, Health, Housing and Education are Changing Public Law

Wednesday, March 28
12:00 pm -- Stuart 410, BC Newton campus

Dr. Katherine Young, a Visiting Scholar at Boston College Law School, is a Senior Lecturer at Australian National University College of Law. Her presentation draws on Part II of her forthcoming book, Constituting Economic and Social Rights (OUP, June 2012). When rights to food, water, health, housing and education are entrenched in law, they raise a wide range of institutional challenges. Drawing on international and comparative examples, Dr. Young’s presentation will discuss some of the institutional responses by both administrative agencies and courts. With respect to the latter, she will present a variety of modes of judicial review, and of judicial role conceptions, that have emerged in the attempts to scrutinize government policy and legislation, and to provide remedies for infringement. She will argue that institutional experimentation around the world shows that the most useful role for enforcement is one that is responsive to whether government intransigence, incompetence, or inattentiveness has caused the rights-infringement in issue. This raises a more salient set of questions, rather than any strict division between negative and positive rights.

Which Way Home movie poster

Screening of Which Way Home

Wednesday, March 28
7:00 pm -- Fulton 511

Part of Center's Migration film Series, a documentary film that follows unaccompanied child migrants, on their journey through Mexico, as they try to reach the United States.

A young man who immigrated to the US from El Salvador at the age of 16 with the aid of a "coyote" will also be on hand to speak about his experiences after the film.

Refreshments to be served.

The event flyer can be seen here.

Kim Jong Un

The Kims' Three Bodies: How Dynastic Succession Works in North Korea

Thursday, March 29
4:30 pm --
Devlin 008

With scholar of Korean history Prof. Bruce Cumings, U. of Chicago

Co-sponsored with BC's Asian and Asian American Studies,The Institute of Liberal Arts, Political Science International Relations Lecture Series, and History Department


The Politics of Genocide Acceptance

Thursday, April 12
4:30 pm --
Fulton 511

A talk by Aram Hampariam, head of the ANCA (Armenian National Committee of America) will be speaking on the topic of the Politics of Genocide Acceptance and Denial, with a specific focus on the politics surrounding the rhetoric on genocide in the United States. Mr. Hamparian will be discussing this issue with regards to the Armenian genocide (and recent attempts in Congress to pass legislation accepting that the atrocities from 1914- 1918 do in fact constitute a genocide. He will also address the wider issue of genocide acceptance and denial in the United States and abroad, from the early 20th century to the present. He will discuss how the politics of accepting the Armenian genocide fits in to a larger context of American politics. To see this event flyer, click here.

Co-Sponsored by the Boston College Armenian Club.


Citizenship-in-Question Symposium

Thursday, April 19
5:30 pm -- 120 East Wing, BC Newton campus

An international panel of scholars in legal and politcal thought on citizenship claims comes to BC to discuss the issue of citizenship and its interpretation across the globe.  Two people who have navigated the bureaucracy claims will also present on their experiences.

Co-sponsored by the Institute for the Liberal Arts, BC Law School, the University of Pennsylvania, Northeastern University and the Rochester Institute of Technology.  Event flyer can be viewed here.


Human Rights Violations, Memory, and Art: Exploring the Ethics and Aesthetics of Image and Voice

Tuesday, May 8
12:00 PM
Campion 139

With Prof. Juan Jorge Michel Fariña, Professor of Psychology, Ethics & Human Rights
University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

*Co-Sponsored by the Department of Counseling Developmental and Education Psychology*

Light lunch to be served. The event flyer can be accessed here.


CHRIJ Year-end Certificate Recipient and Research Presentation Event

May 15
4:00 p.m.
Boston Room, Corcoran Commons

A year-end event celebrating our graduate student recipients of the Certificate in Human Rights and International Justice and research presentations from this year's graduate recipients of the Center's Summer Research Grants. 

The ceremony includes a brief background on the certificate recipients and their research completed as part of their certificate requirements. Additionally, we will have three presentations from last year's Summer Research Grant recipients:

  • Paul Kozak, MDiv 2012, School of Theology and Ministry, on "From a Victims’ Perspective: True Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Colombia"
  • Diana Baker, PhD candidate, Lynch School of Education, on "Particular polyglots: Immigrant students, language, and autism"
  • Saliha Kozan, PhD candidate, Lynch School of Education, on "Headscarf Ban as a Human Rights Violation: A Qualitative Investigation into the Experiences of Turkish Headscarf-wearing Students in the US"

A light reception will follow.  RSVP to