Browser warning

Human Rights Day Conference

Saturday, April 22, 2017, 10 a.m. - 5:50 p.m.

401 W. Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida, USA
Ninth Floor, Vaughn Center

The annual Human Rights Conference brings together human rights scholars and activists to share information and strategies for increasing public awareness and commitment to human rights and their critical appraisal. The conference is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the UNA-USA Tampa Bay, the College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education, the Department of Philosophy and Religion, and the Honors Program.

Keynote Address

Migration, Immigration, and Refugee Rights
Amy Benson and Scott Squire (Producer/Director, Drawing the Tiger)
View bio

Session topics

  • Contested Borders, Refugees and Human Security
  • Social Justice Communication and Actuality Media
  • Migrant Rights
  • Central American migrants
  • Florida Institute for Community Studies (FICS)
  • Transformation of the agricultural industry
  • CARIBE refugee program
  • and more

Human Rights Day Schedule

Sessions and Speakers

Room 1

10 a.m.
Bruce Friesen (Sociology, UT) and Marcus Arvan (Philosophy, UT)

10:00-11:55 a.m.
Drawing the Tiger Film Screening
»Watch trailer
Shot over seven years, Drawing the Tiger follows a rural Nepalese family as they try to escape the cyclical debt and grinding poverty of subsistence farming by sending their daughter to school and their son abroad. The result is an intimate and epic portrait that offers startling insight into the promises and perils of development through education and migrant labor in the global economy.
Co-Directors Amy Benson and Scott Squire will present Drawing the Tiger and then deliver a keynote address chronicling their behind-the-scenes journey from idealism to disillusionment over the simplified promises of Western-style philanthropic interventions.

Noon-12:55 p.m.
Amy Benson and Scott Squire

1-2 p.m.
Lunch and Art Awards

2-2:50 p.m.
'Contested Borders, Refugees and Human Security: A Case Study of Kashmir'

Aurobinda Mahapatra (Ph.D. in Conflict Resolution, UMass Boston)

3-3:55 p.m.
Social Justice Communication and Actuality Media

Christopher Boulton (Communications, UT)
UT Students
Actuality Media Rep

4-4:55 p.m.
Migrant Rights

Scott Solomon (Government and International Affairs, USF)
Mary Meyer (Political Science, Eckerd College)
Tara Deubel (Anthropology, USF)

Room 2 : UNA-USA Tampa Bay

2 p.m.
Welcome – Marcus Arvan (Education Director, UNA-USA Tampa Bay)

2-2:50 p.m.
Central American Migrants: Social and Economic Causes of Emigration
Harry E. Vanden (Government and International Affairs, USF)

3-3:50 p.m.
Florida Institute for Community Studies (FICS)
Alayne Unterberger, Ph.D. – Founder/Research Director

4-4:50 p.m.
Fair Food and Human Rights: How the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Consumer Allies have Transformed the Agricultural Industry
Coalition of Immokalee Workers

5-5:50 p.m.
CARIBE Refugee Program

Ronald Alan Cruz, M.Ed - Coordinator

About Human Rights Think Tank

An organization at UT fostering human rights education
The University of Tampa's Human Rights Think Tank exists to foster human rights education, scholarship and action.

Human rights-related events are organized and/or sponsored by Tank members, including the annual human rights conference at the University of Tampa each April.

Started in 2011, the current Tank co-chairs are Bruce Friesen, associate professor of sociology, at, and Marcus Arvan, assistant professor of philosophy, at

External Resources

Human rights organizations and journals
U.S.-based national nonprofit group dedicated to furthering the work of the United Nations in the U.S.A. and abroad.

Societies Without Borders

The journal Societies Without Borders is a great resource for human rights scholarship.

Sociologists Without Borders

Sponsors the journal Societies Without Borders.

The People's Movement for Human Rights Learning
Independent, international, nonprofit organization promoting, enhancing and providing learning about human rights as relevant to people's daily lives at all levels of society, that leads to action.

Human Rights in Art: Call for Participation

Human Rights Art Show during Human Rights Day Conference

In conjunction with the conference, the organizers would like to host a display of artworks (both two-dimensional and three-dimensional), which embody the concept(s) of human rights. Further clarification and inspiration may be found within the 30 Articles of the United Nation’s The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Recurring themes in artwork related to emancipation from slavery, poverty, equal respect for all or a sense of global community would all be appropriate. It is important that all submitted works inspire a respect for human rights.

Artists are free to interpret the theme(s) in any manner they choose. All artworks related to the theme will be accepted. However, the organizers of the conference retain the right to decline artworks deemed offensive or, in their determination, do not adequately express the intended theme.

Who May Enter

This exhibit is limited to all students (undergraduate or graduate) enrolled at any college or university within the state of Florida. Any media may be submitted, including time-based media. However no work may exceed 4’ in height or width, nor exceed 50 lbs. in weight. Time-based media will require submission of a digital file in .mov format.

Any questions related to the submission of artwork my be addressed to:

Professor Jack King
Department of Art
The University of Tampa
401 W. Kennedy Blvd.,
Tampa, FL 33606


Artists must email notification of their intent to display an entry to no later than April 12. A brief description of the piece should be included, along with a digital image of the work(s) to be shown (if possible).

All artwork for consideration should be set up on the 9th floor of Vaughn Hall at the University of Tampa by 9 a.m. Doors open at 8 a.m. Judging will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.. Winners will be announced at 2 p.m. All artwork must remain on display until 2 p.m.. All artists are invited to attend the conference and to remain close to their work between 1-2 pm to discuss their work with the conference attendees. Artwork may be removed at 2 p.m., and must be removed before the end of the conference at 6 p.m.


All accepted artwork will be on continual display during the Human Rights Conference, 9th floor Vaughn Center, University of Tampa.


Two $100 awards will be given. One award for the best two dimensional (including time based media) and one award for the best three-dimensional artwork exhibited. Judging will done by a small group of professional conference organizers and a professional artist.