2011-2012 YIHR

Refugee & Migrant Rights

Webster University's “Year of International Human Rights” began in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2008. Since then, the YIHR has expanded to include a wide range of programming that includes guest lectures, film series, art performances and exhibits, common reading programs, and more. 

The 2011-2012 YIHR theme, refugee and migrant rights, was selected because 2011 marks the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, a treaty that formalizes the rights of individuals fleeing persecution. The 1951 Convention compliments the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the principal agency responsible for finding durable solutions to the plight of the world's refugees. Durable solutions include the assimilation of refugees within countries of first asylum or resettlement in third countries. The YIHR will also emphasize related migration issues and the needs of individuals in refugee-like situations, such as those who are internally displaced or are fleeing generalized violence, civil war, extreme poverty, or natural disaster.



2011- 2012 Highlights

Annual Human Rights Conference: Refugee and Migrant Rights

Refugees Poster






John Seeger from Population Connection

Winnie Moore Auditorium


Population Poster






Is the 'Golden Door' Still Open?: America's Reception of Refugees in the 21st Century
Jonathan Guzé, Attorney at Law

Emmerson Library Conference Room

Jonathan Guzé shareD his personal experience and insights as a result of representing immigrants in Immigration Court and before the Bureau of Immigration Appeals.  He has provided legal assistance to immigrants and the businesses which hire them on various matters arising out of the employment of aliens.  Mr. Guzé has supplied professional legal advice on issues related to interactions between immigration and nationality matters and criminal, family, and estate matters.  His experience includes interactions with the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of State's National Visa Office, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina.  He helped us understand the human rights of immigrants from the inside.

**This event was part of series of annual seminars dedicated to Mary T. Hall, a leader of the United Nations Association of St. Louis and other local civic organizations for many years.  This 2011 Mary T. Hall Seminar had special significance because Mary celebrated her 100th birthday in February.

Golden Door



Student Panel "My St. Louis Story: Immigrants & Refugees"

Sunnen Lounge

Student Panel

Webster students, alum, and Pat Joshu, Executive Director of Immigrant and Refugee Women's Program in Saint Louis, came together to discuss immigrant and refugee issues. Students and alum shared their stories of how they came to Saint Louis, and what life is like as a refugee or immigrant.

Student Panel Poster





Changing Realities in the Arab Spring: Migrants and a Voyage to Europe
Jack Shenker

Award winning journalist Jack Shenker visited Webster University in Jack SpeakingOctober. Shenker, who made headlines earlier this year with his coverage of the Egyptian revolution, spoke in Moore Auditorium at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, as part of the Year of International Human Rights 2011-12: Refugee & Migrant Rights.

Shenker spoke on Changing Realities in the Arab Spring: Migrants and a Voyage to Europe.

A correspondent for the U.K.'s   Guardian newspaper as well as magazines and other newspapers, Shenker has reported from Egypt, the Indian subcontinent, central Asia, Sudan, and Gaza. His coverage of the revolution
in Egypt won him the Amnesty International Gaby Rado Prize for excellence
in human rights journalism.

Jack Shenker
Photo by Max Bouvatte

In, January 2011, Shenker was attacked on the streets of Cairo by government security forces. Along with demonstrators, he was beaten and driven to the desert
in the back of a police truck. Shenker secretly recorded his experience on a dictaphone, and the audio that was eventuallycirculated around the world revealed the brutality of government forces and the desperation of demonstrators trying to crack a three-decade-old dictatorship. Over the next three weeks, Shenker's reports on Egypt were awaited eagerly by the rest of the world. His coverage was named one of the Guardian's 190 “most defining moments.”

Shenker now lives between London and Cairo as he continues to cover Egypt's ongoing revolution. He also is working on other journalistic projects. Among them is an investigation of the experiences of migrants, which heightened awareness of the plight of those seeking political asylum and a better life in Europe.

Shenker was co-sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences, the Multicultural Center/International Student Affairs, the School of Communications, and the Year of International Human Rights 2011-12: Refugee & Migrant Rights.

Click here to listen to Jack's interview with Don Marsh, St. Louis on the Air.

Jack's talk at Webster was also featured in the Saint Louis Beacon.



Shenker & Class

Jack Shenker and members of Larry Baden's journalism class