Human Rights in a Dangerous and Divided World

Panel Discussion

at Through the Flower Art Space

November 18, 2023 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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Time: 2:00pm     Day: Saturday     Doors: 1:00pm     Ages: All Ages     Price: 0.00
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Human Rights in a Dangerous and Divided World

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the General Assembly on December 10, 1948. Drafted after the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Universal Declaration was meant to fend off future authoritarianism and illiberal populism. Currently, 193 countries have signed on to the Declaration. Countless treaties, covenants, conventions, and agreements have emerged from the general principles incorporated in the Declaration. Unfortunately, most countries that accepted the Declaration often violate the very ideals articulated in the Declaration. And we are currently seeing shifts towards authoritarianism around the world. 

Our distinguished panelists are deeply engaged as activists, legal scholars, or observers in societies and countries that are struggling to transition to democratic systems or to maintain their democracy. The panelists will share their experience of encountering seemingly difficult political and polarized situations, and address the question: Are human rights still an effective weapon against autocracy and tyranny? Where do they see hope, and what more do we need to do to protect human rights? 


Simon Romero, New York Times Correspondent for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Located for many years in Albuquerque, Simon recently moved to Mexico City. He is well known for his reporting on US-Mexico border issues, immigration policy, indigenous sovereignty, and topics in climate change. In 2015 he was awarded Columbia University’s Maria Moors Cabot Prize, the oldest international award recognizing journalists who contribute to Inter-American understanding. 

Tarrie Burnett, Executive Director, Tomorrow’s Women. Tomorrow’s Women’s mission is to prepare a new generation of Palestinian and Israeli young women for leadership roles in their respective communities. Since 2003, the organization has brought small groups of Palestinian and Israeli women to New Mexico to dialogue and develop leadership skills. Tarrie previously worked with Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains, developing nationally recognized mental health and wellness, micro-financing, and sustainable farming initiatives and programs for refugee families. She currently volunteers with the New Mexico Refugee Educational Bridge Project, supporting young women from Afghanistan as they pursue secondary and higher education in the United States.

Maryam Ahranjani is the Ronald and Susan Friedman Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law. She specializes in constitutional rights, criminal law, and education law. She has taught at American University and Universidad del Istmo Facultad de Derecho in Guatemala City. Among other positions, Maryam served as a consultant for the U.S. Department of State/Guatemala and U.S. Agency for International Development/Guatemala. From 2009-2014 she was Associate Director of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, a program that trains law students to teach public high school students about constitutional rights and responsibilities. 

Michael Nutkiewicz, Independent Scholar. Trained as a historian, Michael taught at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of New Mexico. He served as Executive Director of the Program for Torture Victims (Los Angeles), an agency that provides medical, psychological, and legal services to victims of state-sponsored torture, as well as the manager of the refugee resettlement program at Catholic Charities of New Mexico. From 2001-2007, he was senior historian at the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, the archive founded by Steven Spielberg to film the testimony of Holocaust survivors around the world. He recently published an annotated translation of a 1921 Yiddish memoir of an aid worker in Ukraine during the Russian Civil War.