Event Recap: Human Rights Day

Humanity United joined Article3.org on Dec. 10, 2021, to honor Liberian Nobel Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee on the 74th anniversary of Human Rights Day with the Human Rights Global Treasure Award. HU’s Melanie Greenberg, Akwasi Aidoo, and John Paul Lederach participated in a panel discussion on peace, security, and the future of conflict as part of the event. If you missed this incredible event with its impressive line-up of speakers, you can watch a recording here at Article3’s site.

In light of the many current global threats to human rights, including violent extremism, climate change, and deepening racial and economic disparities, the theme of this year’s event—Peace, Security and the Future of Conflict—has been on the minds of many at HU this year. Gbowee, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for the nonviolence movement she founded to end Liberia’s Civil War, was a worthy selection for this year’s Human Rights Global Treasure Award due to her work improving conditions for women and girls in peace-buildling through education and economic inclusion, as well as for her work elevating solutions developed by the people closest to and most affected by a particular conflict. Gbowee’s approach is especially relevant given threats to women’s progress created by the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and other conflicts around the world in 2021.   

We’d like to especially thank the event’s other speakers, philanthropist Abigail Disney; Sarah Holewinski, Washington director at Human Rights Watch; Amina J. Mohammed, deputy secretary general of the United Nations; and Adela Raz, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States, for all of your deeply thoughtful tributes to Gbowee

As we look toward 2022, it’s clear that a paradigm shift in peacebuilding is still needed, which John Paul Ledarach pointed out as part of the event’s panel discussion. In a year where systems we took for granted have been slow to restart after grinding to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must look much more carefully at the mechanisms we’ve created and whether they are ethical or getting in the way of the proposed changes that people, at the deepest level, really want to pursue.

Watch a recording of the event >>