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SPECIAL - The 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: A Concert Celebration





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Episode Details

CUNY Distinguished Professor Blanche Wiesen Cook hosts this special concert event held at the Graduate Center on December 10th, 2008 and commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The CUNY TV Special features prominent guest speakers from the front lines of human rights activism. Blanche Wiesen Cook introduces the event and provides historical background on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, highlighting the leadership role of Eleanor Roosevelt and the Declaration's partitioning into two covenants. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was ratified in the U.S. in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush; the U.S. has yet to act on the Covenant on Social and Economic Rights.

The first guest speaker is Charlotte Bunch, the Founding Director of the Center for Women's Global Leadership at Rutgers University. Her argument for the universal right of women to human rights emphasizes the diversity of women's experiences worldwide and how the rights of women ought to take precedence over culture. Next, Hossein Alizadeh, from the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, describes the efforts of and obstacles for regional groups worldwide that are working to secure human rights for members of the LGBT community. Finally, the Executive Director of the National Economic & Social Rights Initiative Cathy Albisa calls for the grassroots movement that elected Barack Obama in the U.S. to now turn its attention to the ratification by Congress of the Covenant on Social and Economic Rights, which is long overdue.

In between speakers, Brazilian band leader Guadencio Thiago de Mello performs songs composed throughout his illustrious career that celebrate human rights, freedom for all and resistance to tyranny. De Mello is joined by his band Amazon and the special guest, noted Brazilian vocalist Ithamara Koorax.

"The 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: A Concert Celebration" is a tribute to Sergio Vieira de Mello, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and his colleagues, who perished in the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad on August 19, 2003.

This concert event was coordinated by The Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center, directed by Aoibheann Sweeney. The Producer for CUNY TV is Lauren Mucciolo. Videography was provided by Koko-Baz. The Editors are Darren Ryan and Lauren Mucciolo. The Executive Producer for CUNY TV is Robert Isaacson.

Guest List

Cathy Albisa Executive Director, National Economic & Social Rights Initiative

Hossein Alizadeh Communications Coordinator, International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Thiago de Mello and Amazon

Charlotte Bunch Founding Director, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University

Blanche Wiesen Cook Distinguished Professor of History, John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY

Ithamara Koorax Vocalist