Tuesday Nov. 15: Defending Artistic Freedom After the Attack on Salman Rushdie

Defending Artistic Freedom After the Attack on Salman Rushdie

When: Tuesday, November 15, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM, Eastern Time (USA)

Where:  Palmer Commons on the University of Michigan campus, a 15 minute walk from the law school (Palmer Commons address: 100 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2218 Palmer Commons | Welcome to Palmer Commons (umich.edu))

Link to event page with link for zoom registration: https://ii.umich.edu/humanrights/news-events/all-events.detail.html/98508-21796731.html

More about the event: 

On August 12, acclaimed writer Salman Rushdie was to address a crowd at the Chautauqua Institution about safe havens for at-risk writers, when he was stabbed multiple times. While Mr. Rushdie thankfully survived, he experienced severe injuries, after facing years of threats since the 1989 fatwa against his book “The Satanic Verses” by Iran’s then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. What will be the impact of this brutal act of violence against a writer on efforts to defend the human right to freedom of artistic expression around the world? What kinds of threats are artists facing globally as they practice their crafts – practice essential to the cultural rights of all? What kind of self-censorship do these pressures foster, especially around controversial issues such as religion? What strategies can cultural rights defenders use to support artists like Salman Rushdie, and all the Rushdies around the world?

Moderated by: Karima Bennoune, Lewis M. Simes Professor of Law, Michigan Law School

Panelists:

Julie Trébault, Director, Artists at Risk Connection
Julie Trébault is the director of the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), a project of PEN America that aims to safeguard the right to artistic freedom by connecting threatened artists to support, building a global network of resources for artists at risk, and forging ties between arts and human rights organizations. She has nearly two decades of experience in international arts programming and network-building, including at the Museum of the City of New York, the Center for Architecture, the National Museum of Ethnology in The Netherlands, and the Musée du quai Branly in Paris.


Salil Tripathi, Board member, PEN International, and former chair, PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee

Salil Tripathi was born in Bombay and lives in New York. He chaired PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee from 2015 to 2021 and is a member of its board. Between 2009 and 2013, he was on the board of English PEN. His honors include the Red Ink Award from the Mumbai Press Club in 2015 for human rights journalism and the third prize at the Bastiat Awards for Journalism in New York in 2011, among others. His journalism has appeared in major publications worldwide and he has been a correspondent in India and Southeast Asia. Offence: The Hindu Case, about the rise of Hindu nationalism and its implications on free expression, was his first book. His other books include The Colonel Who Would Not Repent: The Bangladesh War and its Unquiet Legacy (Aleph, 2014, Yale, 2016), and Detours: Songs of the Open Road, (Tranquebar, 2015). His most recent work is For In Your Tongue I Cannot Fit: Encounters with Prison, which he co-edited with the artist Shilpa Gupta. He is currently writing a book about Gujaratis, which Aleph will publish. Salil studied at the New Era School and Sydenham College in Bombay, and has an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College in the United States.


Ahmed Naji, writer, journalist, documentary filmmaker, Fellow at the Black Mountain Institute, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Ahmed Naji is a writer, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and criminal. His Using Life (2014) made him the only writer in Egyptian history to have been sent to prison for offending public morality. (Mr. Rushdie corresponded with him while he was imprisoned.) His book Rotten Evidence chronicles his time in prison, which is due out in September (2023) with McSweeney’s. Other published novels in Arabic are Tigers, Uninvited (2020), and The happy end (2022) Naji has won several prizes, including a Dubai Press Club Award, a PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, and an Open Eye Award. He is currently a fellow at the Black Mountain Institute in UNLV. He now lives in exile in Las Vegas, where his writing continues to delight and provoke. For more about his work: https://ahmednaji.net/

Event Tuesday 26 October: Mixing Cultures is a Human Right

An impressive line-up of speakers is scheduled to discuss a human rights approach to cultural mixing at a side event on Tuesday 26 October for the final report of UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Karima Bennoune, in an event co-organized with the Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development (CREID).

Tuesday 26 October 2021  |  12.00-13.30 EST  |  17.00-18.30 BST

Faced with rising claims about monolithic cultures and cultural “purity” around the world, and with rising threats in many contexts, whether of the destruction of the cultural diversity of Afghanistan or the erasure of mixed identities in Japan, the speakers will address how those who value rights-respecting cultural openness and hybridity can defend these practices. How can we preserve histories of cultural mixing in the past and ensure their possibilities in the present and future so as to protect cultural rights for all?

Link to Report and to Annex with the legal framework on cultural mixing and mixed cultural identities.

Link to report press release: Mixing Cultures is a Human Right

SPEAKERS

Karima Bennoune, UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights and Visiting Professor, University of Michigan Law School (Algeria/USA)

Wole Soyinka, Writer, Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, 1986 (Nigeria)

Omaid Sharifi, Artivist and Co-Founder, ArtLords (Afghanistan)

Pragna Patel, Founder and Director, Southall Black Sisters (UK)

Hiroko Tsuboi-Friedman, UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions Expert Facility member (Japan)

Mariz Tadros, Director of the Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development and Professor of Politics and Development at the Institute of Development Studies (Egypt/UK)

>>> Register here. <<<

This event is co-sponsored by:

Donia Human Rights Center
Feminist Dissent
Southall Black Sisters
Artists at Risk Connection
PEN America

Go On! Climate Change and Cultural Extinction: A Human Rights Crisis

Photo credit: UNICEF/Akash

The negative impacts of climate change on the enjoyment of cultural rights — along with the positive potential of cultures to serve as critical tools in responding to the climate emergency — must be placed on the international agenda. A cultural rights perspective is a critical component of the holistic approach needed to respond to catastrophic climate change.

To address these issues, an inter-disciplinary panel will convene in a side event / webinar via Zoom on 21 October co-hosted by UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights Karima Bennoune and the Human Rights Program of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College in New York. The following day, the Special Rapporteur will present her pathbreaking new report on climate change and cultural rights to the UN General Assembly.

Date: 21 October 2020 Time: 1:15pm – 2:45pm EDT / 5:15pm – 6:45pm GMT

Advance registration required. Click here to register.

Panelists:

Mary Robinson, Chief of The Elders; Former President of Ireland, Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Former Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Climate Change

Karima Bennoune, UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights

David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment

Joshua Castellino, Executive Director, Minority Rights Group International

Noa Petueli Tapumanaia, Chief Librarian & Archivist, Tuvalu National Library and Archives Department; Tuvalu national librarian

Mohamed Hizyam, youth activist, Maldives (video message)

Moderated by Stephanie Farrior, Distinguished Lecturer, Human Rights Program, Hunter College