Human Rights Week promotes the understanding of rights throughout the UNO community


Madison Smutz

The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s (UNO) first­ ever Human Rights Week is Sept. 24 through Oct. 2.

It is sponsored by the Goldstein Family Community Chair in Human Rights to educate the UNO community about human rights through panels and discussions.

In 2017, the community chair was established to engage UNO faculty and students in the study on human rights.

In January 2018, the Leonard and Shirley Goldstein Center for Human Rights was established at UNO. It’s a product of a decades long partnership between the Goldstein family and UNO’s Religious Studies program.

The center is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian organization that promotes the understanding of human rights through teaching, research, creative activity and community engagement.

The Human Rights Week events include lectures and panels with scholars of human rights, workshops with community partners and a film screening. Topics include gender, sex trafficking, slavery, immigration, citizenship and political advocacy in the Jewish community.

“I hope students will better understand the connection of human rights to many social questions that we face today,” said Laura Alexander, a UNO assistant professor and the first recipient of the Goldstein Family Community Chair in Human Rights.

“The speakers we’ve invited include folks who are working on questions of community, human migration, citizenship and belonging, from both historical and contemporary perspectives,” Alexander said. “Hosting these events as part of Human Rights Week allows us to address those concerns and explore their relationship to human rights ideas.”

The events emphasize the importance of being a good citizen.

“To (be a good citizen), you need to broaden your horizons of history, (and) be able to understand the value other humans have and what they had to go through to get their rights,” said Troy Romero, human rights executive chairman.

Students who attend the events will learn about human rights issues throughout the world and within the Omaha community. Alexander said she hopes students become interested in human rights and bring that passion to UNO.

“UNO has the opportunity to become a hub for research, teaching and engagement to help human rights ideas be better understood and debated,” Alexander said. “I hope this series of events helps to spur us toward that goal.”

More information can be found on the Human Rights Week event page.