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Colombian faculty and students visit U of M to continue work on human rights education

Visit part of U-Antioquia, Colombia Human Rights Partnership

September 6, 2013

Gaining a broader understanding of human rights education, clinical practice and advocacy in the U.S. is the purpose of a visit by faculty and students from Colombia to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities this fall.

Beginning Monday, Sept. 9, the Human Rights Program and Human Rights Center at the U are hosting six professors, one professional and two students from Colombia through the U of M - Antioquia Human Rights Partnership. Visiting partners have backgrounds in law, public policy and political science and work on behalf of vulnerable women and children, workers, LGBT individuals, displaced individuals and victims or armed conflict, and communities affected by environmental degradation in their home country. The Partnership aims to promote and protect human rights in Colombia by enhancing human rights legal education.

On Tuesday, Sept. 10 the deans of the U’s College of Liberal Arts and Law School, together with the co-directors of the Partnership, Professors Barbara Frey and David Weissbrodt, will welcome visiting faculty, staff and students in Mondale Hall’s Auerbach Commons (229 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis). Following the welcome reception, each visitor will spend between 1 and 6 weeks engaging with U of M faculty and clinical teams and local human rights advocates to gain a broader understanding of human rights education, clinical practice, and advocacy in the U.S.

Initiated in October 2012, the U of M - Antioquia Human Rights Partnership, provides an opportunity for UMN faculty in human rights to share strategies, mechanisms and theory for the promotion and protection of human rights with human rights defenders at four universities in Antioquia, Colombia: the Universidad de Medellín, Universidad de Antioquia, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana and Universidad Católica de Oriente. Having spent the early part of 2013 developing strong bonds at each school, U faculty and students are currently collaborating on legal clinical work for human rights cases in Colombia, the development of human rights curriculum at each institution and realization of extra-curricular events and internships to enhance human rights education throughout the region.

The objectives of the U of M - Antioquia Human Rights Partnership are to:

  • strengthen the institutional capacity of the Colombian law schools to train future legal practitioners in human rights;
  • enhance the outreach capacity of regional law schools to better serve vulnerable populations;
  • and equip future legal professionals with an understanding of national and international standards of human rights and the skills to support human rights in Colombia.

The Partnership is funded by a $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Higher Education Development (HED) through 2015 and provides several international exchange opportunities for U of M and Antioquia faculty and students over the next two years.

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