Council Creates Human Rights Speaker Series

Photo by Flickr user tao_zhyn.

Photo by Flickr user tao_zhyn.

On Jan. 20, the Community Outreach Council under All-School Vice President Paige ‘15 welcomed Lisa Colacurcio-Cahierre to speak to an audience of over 30 students in the Collins Room about North Korean Human Rights. This semester the Community Outreach Council has organized a Human Rights Speaker Series, which is bringing three speakers to campus to educate the Marlborough community about pressing humans rights issues.

Paige and the Council want to take advantage of resources from within the Marlborough Community for the series.

“We wanted to keep the series community-oriented, which is why our first speaker was the mother of Lucie ’15. I wanted Colacurcio-Cahierre to speak to the students because of her experience of advocating for human rights.”

Colacurcio-Cahierre is an advisor and member of the U.S Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, which is a WaPaigegton D.C.-based non-governmental research organization that publishes research focusing on human rights abuses. Members of the non-profit, including Colacurcio-Cahierre, testified before Congress in 2001 about China’s forced repatriation of North Korean refugees.

“Cahierre has been a board member of the Human Rights in North Korea Committee since 2004 and was involved in the writing of Escape from Camp 14, which tells the story of a North Korean refugee who escaped from a prison camp,” Paige said.

Lucie was one of the thirty attendees at the presentation, and chose to attend based on her interest in North Korean security.

“She [Colacurcio-Cahrierre] talked about the origins of the regime, the prison camps and the defectors, the human rights abuses, and about trying to get Kim Jong-Un and other high ranking members of the regime to the ICC to put them on trial for crimes against humanity. Also, at the end she talked a little bit about how we as students can help get involved by joining Marlborough’s Liberty in North Korea Club (LINK) , which raises money to rescue North Korean refugees,” Lucie said.

Gabby ’15, who is the Co- President of LINK, believes the presentation provided her with more in-depth information to use for LINK. Luu also hopes to attend the next two Human Rights Series speakers.

“I think it would be interesting to hear from a human rights speaker who specializes in prostitution in southeast Asia and the growing prevalence of online prostitution from countries like Indonesia,” Gabby said.

Originally the Council devoted itself to a “Human Rights Issue of the Month,” which would dedicate each month of the school year to learning about a specific human rights issue. According to Paige, the council decided that a human rights speaker series would be a more active and effective way to educate students about human rights.

“[The Council] decided that the HRI of the Month wasn’t exactly the most effective way to spread word about these causes, so we decided on the Human Rights Speaker Series. As All-School Community Outreach Council Rep, I’m in charge of organizing the event and making sure the event runs smoothly. We received positive feedback for the first speaker, so I think so far we have been very successful,” Paige said.

The Council is hoping again to find speakers in the community who work in other areas of human rights.

“We’ve looked into those who work in public health and journalism, so they may be our next plan of action. We do not have the dates for these events set either, but they will most likely be in the Collins room. We are really optimistic about the series,” Paige said.