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News from the Hilltop

October 20, 2011

Human rights leader and advocate Elisa Massimino to lecture at Birmingham-Southern College Nov. 1

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Elisa Massimino, president and CEO of Human Rights First, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that seeks to foster American leadership on human rights, will lecture at Birmingham-Southern College on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. in the Bruno Great Hall of the Norton Campus Center.Human rights leader and advocate Elisa Massimino

The lecture is open to the public, and admission is free.

In her lecture titled "Human Rights: Challenges for American Leadership," Massimino will discuss how Human Rights First encourages the U.S. to take the lead on a range of human rights issues, including torture, freedom of religion and expression, and refugee policy. "When the United States abdicates its leadership role, it creates a vacuum that no other nation can fill and that dictators and tyrants are quick to exploit," wrote Massimino in HRF's annual report.

Massimino also will meet with various BSC student groups and speak to classes while on campus.

Widely recognized as one the nation's most effective public advocates, Massimino has dedicated her career to protecting human rights. Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., describes Massimino as "one of the finest leaders on human rights that I have ever known." As a national authority on human rights law and policy, Massimino has testified before Congress dozens of times on American policies regarding human rights and writes frequently for mainstream publications and specialized journals.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, Massimino holds a law degree from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining HRF in 1991, she served as pro bono legal counsel in many human rights cases. In 2008, she was named president and CEO of HRF.

Massimino's lecture is part of Birmingham-Southern's 2011-12 Leadership Matters in the 21st Century: Practicing Leaders on Leadership lecture series. Andrew Card, who served as White House Chief of Staff under George W. Bush from 2001-06, presented the inaugural lecture Sept. 15. Others scheduled to participate in the lecture series at the college this academic year include David Horth, a fellow at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, N.C.; Fred Smith, chairman, president, and CEO of FedEx Corporation; and Colin Coyne, winner of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham's Prize2theFuture competition and lecturer on social enterprise.

The lectures are sponsored by the college's Hess Center for Leadership and Service, in cooperation with the Bunting Center for Engaged Study and Community Action, the Stump Entrepreneurship Programs, and the entire Birmingham-Southern College community.

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