By Julia Brown
April 12, 2018
Through a continuing partnership between the Hobby School of Public Affairs and the Honors College, four UH students attended the annual Oxford Consortium for Human Rights, held at Oxford University in March 2018. The intensive, week-long event included lectures and discussions on the theme Human Rights in and after Conflict from a variety of scholarly and applied perspectives.
|Oxford Consortium Attendees: Honors College Professor Marina Trninic
and Human Rights Fellows Hina Uddin, Malik Chambers, Mehreen Arshad, and Danielle Niangar.
This year’s UH Human Rights Fellows, Mehreen Arshad, Malik Chambers, Danielle Niangar, and Hina Uddin, were among the 40 graduates and undergraduates from around the world who spent the week learning about humanitarian action, human rights law, conflict trends, armed conflicts, and peacemaking.
Senior history major Malik Chambers attended the event in order to learn creative approaches to social justice. "Although the attendees were from strikingly different backgrounds, we were all passionate and driven about making change in our communities," he said. Hina Uddin, a finance major in her junior year, described the week of total immersion as one of the consortium’s benefits. “There were lectures on the morality of drone strikes, on cultural diplomacy, on Guantanamo Bay. We got so much information on things that were only mentioned in a sentence in history class.”
Each visiting group of students presented to the other groups about local matters concerning human rights. “Our presentation was on Hurricane Harvey and how underserved people function in natural disasters, which is definitely a human rights issue,” Uddin said. “We highlighted a lot of personal stories. Minorities who don’t have access to many resources are still not living in homes right now.”
Oxford Consortium board member and Hobby Center Visiting Professor Johanna Luttrell said that the program offers students international perspective and contacts. “I find there is a lot of concern about human rights among Honors students, but they don't know how to translate their curiosity into career paths. This seminar helps them gain contacts and focus their interests. For instance, some students want to work in global health and need a background in humanitarian aid work—its history and current trends—and this seminar gives them that. Other students have made connections at the United Nations that help them get internships or positions there later on.”
Attending the Oxford Consortium gave Malik Chambers a new perspective on and enthusiasm for social justice work. “Work on even a small scale can be important for a community. Many of the changes we want are going to take some time to make, but we have to keep working toward them and not become complacent. It was inspiring to meet professors who are still passionate about the work they began as young people.”
The Human Rights Fellows were accompanied to the U.K. by Honors College Professor Marina Trninic. “It was a sincere privilege to accompany Mehreen, Malik, Danielle, and Hina to the Oxford Consortium,” Trninic said. “Their commitment to human rights was evident through their enthusiastic engagement with Consortium faculty and peers. I was impressed by the questions they asked and the ideas they brought to the discussions.”
Find out more about the program at the Oxford Consortium's website: https://www.oxfordconsortium.org/