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MSU College of Law

March 28, 2013

CONTACT: Kent Love, director of communications, 517-432-6959;

Talsky Center for Human Rights to Host Symposium on U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Michigan State University College of Law Lori E. Talsky Center for Human Rights of Women and Children will host a “Symposium on Whether the U.S. Should Become a Party to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child” on April 4—5, 2013.

“The U.S. and Somalia are the only two nations that are not parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty that has become a marker of humanity’s moral progress,” said Susan H. Bitensky, the Alan S. Zekelman Professor of International Human Rights Law at MSU Law and the Director of the Talsky Center. “Whether the U.S. should continue to balk is no minor matter since American children are not currently enjoying the benefits that the Convention is bringing to children elsewhere.”

Howard Davidson, director of the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law, will offer the keynote address on Thursday, April 4, 2013, at the East Lansing Marriott at University Place in East Lansing, Michigan.

“This Symposium presents speakers who are in a unique position to inform U.S. consideration of the Convention. They bring to the table the highest levels of expertise in child rights and of the Children’s Convention in particular; and, the numerous speakers from aboard will be able to provide perspectives on what it is like to live under the Convention,” said Bitensky.

Three panel discussions on Friday, April 5, 2013, in the Castle Board Room at the Law College Building, will feature leading human rights jurists and activists from the around the world offering insights on the child soldier, Convention rights enhancing the child's quality of life, and experiences of states parties in living under the Convention. Confirmed panelists include:

  • Adem Arkadas-Thibert, International Children’s Center, Bilkent University, Turkey
  • Jo Becker, Children’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch
  • Bernardine Dohrn, Bluhm Legal Clinic, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Françoise Hampson, University of Essex School of Law, United Kingdom
  • Matthew Happold, University of Luxembourg Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance
  • Mark Hecht, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law and Sherbrooke Faculty of Law, Canada
  • Anne Lindboe, Ombudsman for Children, Norway
  • Tamar Morag, Haim Striks Law School, College of Management Academic Studies, Israel
  • Jonathan Todres, Georgia State University College of Law
  • Wouter Vandenhole, University of Antwerp Faculty of Law, Belgium

The mission of the Talsky Center is to educate MSU College of Law students, as well as the broader community, about international human rights law and international humanitarian law. The Center aims to promote an understanding of the important civilizing role that this body of law so often plays in a world fraught with transgressions against human dignity and well-being. The Center promotes human rights for all people, with a focus on women and children.

More information at


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