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The history and future of universal Human Rights

26 July 2018
5.00pm – 7.00pm AEST
Allens Theatre. UNSW Law
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Statue of Liberty viewed from behind looking out to a grey cloudy sky

“Ever since the US government has professed to see in international relations an opportunity for moral progress, not just an unending power struggle, it could never abandon the rhetoric of human rights, and the construction of the image that the US was the last best hope for the world and destined to lead the world to more human rights and democracy.

“The election of Donald Trump in 2016 has the potential to alter this history. He appears to have a pre-1919 view of the US and the world, in which the only things that matter are US independent power, security, and economic advantage.”

In this lecture, Professor David P. Forsythe from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will give a rich exploration of the US contribution to human rights and democracy in the past and point to signs that indicate hard times ahead for human rights around the world. Introduction by by UNSW Law Associate Professor Ben Golder.

Presented by the the Australian Human Rights Institute and the UNSW Sydney Globalisation and Governance Network.

Location: Allens Theatre, UNSW Law, G23 UNSW Kensington Google maps

David Forsythe sitting in his office in front of the window and pot plant.

Professor David P. Forsythe

Professor David P. Forsythe is Charles J. Mach Distinguished Professor of Political Science Emeritus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA.

David Forsythe taught various aspects of international relations for over four decades. He published the first independent book in English on the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1977. He published the first textbook on international human rights in American social science in 1983. He was the general editor of award-winning The Encyclopedia of Human Rights (5 volumes) in 2009.

His co-authored textbook on the United Nations went into eight editions spanning 24 years through 2016. He continues to write about human rights, as per his co-authored book, American Exceptionalism Reconsidered: U.S. Foreign Policy, Human Rights, and World Order (2017); and Human Rights in International Relations, (also 2017, 4th ed.).

He maintains an active interest in the laws of war and the Red Cross/Red Crescent, as per his 2018 article, “The International Red Cross: Decentralization and its Uses,” in the Human Rights Quarterly. His numerous publications have led to various recognitions at his university, in the American Political Science Association, and the International Studies Association. He is a former Chair of the IPSA Research Committee on Human Rights.