James Ron speaking on public attitudes & human rights to Open Society Foundations board

James Ron, Stassen Chair for International Affairs at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs & Department of Political Science, will be speaking to the Open Society Foundations board meeting in Washington, D.C. on October 15, 2:30 p.m.

A Conversation with James Ron, University of Minnesota, openGlobalRights, and Regan Ralph, Fund for Global Human Rights.  Moderated by Sue Gunawardena-Vaugh

Discussion Topic: "Public attitudes and human rights: Do we really know what most people think about rights?" Whether at a meeting in Dakar or in London, human rights activists lament not only the apathy of the general public but also a growing concern that people are opposed to issues when they are framed as “human rights.” Some have suggested that the human rights brand is “toxic” and that it is time to resort to other frames. Political rhetoric and media debates are often evidenced to support such arguments. But what do we really know about what the public thinks about human rights? Is public opinion as monolithic as these concerns seem to indicate? What role should public opinion play in human rights activism and the work of human rights organizations? Are there ways in which we can employ research-based evidence to “reclaim” the language of rights?

Background papers: “For human rights, majority opinion isn’t always important,” by Kenneth Roth; “Doubling down on human rights data,” by Sarah E. Mendelson; “Data-driven optimism for global rights activists,” by James Ron, Shannon Golden, David Crow, and Archana Pandya

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