TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Local college students learned about human rights and how they can make a difference in lives around the world.

Indiana State University held its annual Human Rights Day event on Tuesday, March 14 and WTWO’s Nicole Krasean was the emcee for the event. ISU President Deborah Curtis, Terre Haute Mayor, Duke Bennett, and many officials from the VCSC were also in attendance.

New York Times bestselling author Kelsey Timmerman was the keynote speaker for the day-long event. Timmerman has reported from over 60 countries focusing on topics like Bangladesh sweatshops and slavery on the Ivory Coast. Timmerman’s focus for the Human Rights Day event was Going Global: Searching for Community and Justice in our Globalized World.

“We are all connected, from what we wear to what we eat,” Timmerman said. “Our skills, passions, experiences, trials, and tribulations uniquely put each of us in a position to produce a positive impact on people and the planet.”

Timmerman explained that the lives of the people who make the products we import are vastly different from our own in terms of income and opportunities. He encourages people to become aware of the issues they face and then take action to help make a positive impact.

“You can be a responsible consumer. You can look at things like fair trade food. There’s fair trade clothing. There’s also organic. Workers are exposed to fewer chemicals. There’s also the fact that when you give to some nations, it’s multiplied by 100 in the impact it can make,” Timmerman said. 

After the event, ISU held several breakout sessions featuring various speakers. The first breakout sessions took place at 10:30 a.m. the second at noon, the third at 1:00 p.m. and the final breakout sessions took place at 2:00 p.m.

The complete list of speakers and the topics they presented are below:

  • Human Rights and Reproductive Justice | Dr. Jeannie Ludlow  
  • Workers’ Rights are Human Rights | Allison Duerk
  • The Death Penalty in the United States | Abraham J. Bonowitz.
  • LGBTQ+ Issues | Dr. Katie Lugar & William Edwards
  • Social and Economic Rights and the U.S. Constitution | Dr. Anne D’orazio 
  • Affordable Housing is a Human Right | Katrina Babb & Raye Rackman.
  • War Crimes and Human Rights in the War in Ukraine | Dr. Barbara Skinner
  • Why Diversity and Inclusion Matters | Dr. Alex Kenney
  • From School to Community: Empowerment Through Student Engagement | Alvina Mastakar, Arya Odhayamangalam & Sara Zachariah.
  • Language Rights: The Case of Amazighi in Morocco | Mahmoud Abdel-Rahman  
  • The Death Penalty in the United States | Abraham J. Bonowitz

In addition to the in-person presenters, ISU in partnership with CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center will provide a virtual event at 6:00 p.m. with Dr. Arthur Caplan, founding head of the division of medical ethics at the New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Caplan will discuss the use and misuse of the Holocaust in today`s political, scientific, and ethical debates.