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"Rights in Conflict" presentation: "Palestinian Mental Health: Human Rights and Social Justice in Conditions of Continuous Conflict, Siege, and Oppression"
With Dr. Yasser Abujamei, Gaza Community Mental Health Programs
Join us for a lunch discussion on issues of mental health in Palestine with connections to human rights and social justice. Dr. Abujamei has been with the Gaza Community Mental Health Programs since 2004 playing different supervisory, clinical and research roles. He assumed the leadership of the institution in 2014 and continues to serve as the general director overseeing the general operations of the program in providing a world class mental health care with the limited resources available. Dr. Abujamei is a psychiatrist and he has served as a member of the Task Force that developed the Palestinian National Mental Health Strategy for 2015-2019. His research and evaluation work focus on: integrating mental health and human rights, resilience, surviving torture and post-graduate mental health education.
A light lunch to be served. RSVP at https://tinyurl.com/GazaMentalHealth
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Campion Hall, 139
"Rights in Conflict" luncheon presentation - "Conflicting religious freedoms? Catholics and Muslims in secular Belgium"
With Laurie Johnston, Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, Director of Fellowships and Scholarships, Emmanuel College; and Professor, International Studies, Boston College.
Particularly since the Brussels terrorist attacks in 2016, Belgium has been criticized for failing to successfully integrate its Muslim populations, which constitute about 6% of the country’s population. Given that nearly 70% of Belgium children attend Catholic schools, these institutions play an important role in inter-religious and intercultural relations. Respect for religious liberty in society depends not only upon the behavior of the state, but also upon how private institutions demonstrate it – particularly if those private institutions are serving a diverse population.
Drawing upon six months of interview research with the directors and faculty at Catholic schools throughout Belgium, this presentation will examine some of the ethical issues that arise at Catholic schools with significant Muslim student populations. For some schools, the presence of Muslims is seen as a threat to their Catholic identity. Other Catholic schools embrace the opportunity to serve populations that are marginalized by the broader society, even boasting that more than 90% of their students are Muslim. Overall, the research shows that despite the declining number of practicing Catholics, Catholic institutions nevertheless have an important role to play in Belgian society, as they attempt to mediate between religiously observant Muslims and a society that is often hostile to religious practice of any kind.
Laurie Johnston, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies and Director of Fellowships and Scholarships at Emmanuel College. A social ethicist, she holds degrees from Boston College, Harvard Divinity School, and the University of Virginia. She has recently been a Fulbright Scholar at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, and a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College. She is editor of several books, including Can War be Just in the 21st Century (Orbis Press 2015), and The Surprise of Reconciliation in the Catholic Tradition (Paulist Press, 2018).
Lunch to be served. RSVP at https://tinyurl.com/johnston0214 or at the Register button above.
Campion Hall, 139
"Rights in Conflict" luncheon discussion series
The focus of this year’s Human Rights Luncheon Speaker series is “Rights in Conflict.” By this framing, we aim to focus on two distinct but related ideas: The first is that rights discourses, by their very nature, often conflict with each other. This raises deep problems of interpretation, legitimacy, strategies and tactics for activists, etc. Around the world, we see many recent poignant examples of such conflicts, including US Supreme Court litigation over religious-based refusals to provide cakes for gay weddings, debates over the lines where “free speech” may become sufficiently oppressive to violate rights to dignity or equal protection, tensions between the power (some say the “rights”) of nation-states to control their borders versus compelling human rights claims of refugees, those facing deportation, women’s rights claims for equity versus “traditional” or “cultural” but often exclusionary or patriarchal norms, etc.
The other meaning of conflict refers to actual conflicts where rights claims face increasing pressure, again often due to claims of overriding security issues (e.g., President Trump’s promise to resurrect waterboarding; the threats to journalists in Mexico, and elsewhere), deep norms of cultural or religious cohesion (e.g., the Rohingya in Burma; US and Canada removals and forced assimilation of Native children), and transnational capital development (e.g., global North’s industries’ extractive mining and/or flooding of indigenous lands for hydroelectricity in the global South).
In sum, human rights claims have increasingly come into conflict in both senses, both in the US and around the world. Invited speakers will reflect on these fault lines and consider how societies and institutions balance such competing claims, both as to specific case studies and, as part of a year long extended conversation, more broadly.
Follow the links in the event calendar above for more details and to RSVP for lunch.