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Four Students Delve into Human Rights with Oxford Consortium

Week of workshops and seminars explore related issues, themes and approaches

From left are Kayla Hohenstein, Nicole Giordano, Brian Stiltner, Christine Susienka, Hector Gutierrez and Linh Nguyen in the United Nations Security Council chamber.

Four Sacred Heart University students attended the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights Workshop in New York City at the Westgate Hotel with faculty advisers Brian Stiltner and Christine Susienka this fall.

This six-day workshop—which honored the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—brought students together from all over the world to discuss the issues, themes and approaches to situations in which people are deprived of their ability to live freely.

Stiltner, a philosophy, theology and religious studies professor and Susienka, a philosophy professor, accompanied students Linh Nguyen, Kayla Hohenstein, Nicole Giordano and Hector Gutierrez as they attended various sessions, hearing the truth behind violations of human rights around the world and learning about ways to help.

“All the different activities gave us the opportunity to learn from one another and from the guest speakers who came to share their experience and wisdom as active workers and defenders for human rights,” said Nguyen. “By the end of the week, each of us was equipped with resources and knowledge that will help us implement the small and essential changes within our own local communities as the start to the formation of greater global society that respects and defends the dignity of every individual.”

“The Oxford Human Rights Consortium allowed me to expand my knowledge and lens of human rights work domestically and internationally,” said Kayla Hohenstein. “We were given the opportunity to share our story and learn from the diverse and inspiring group of participants and speakers.”

“This consortium was an amazing opportunity and really showed the power our generation has to make real change in the world,” said Nicole Giordano. “Listening to the incredible speakers and meeting some of the most amazing, smartest people from around this country and the world gives me a lot of hope for what we can accomplish in the future.”

While in New York, the SHU students and professors visited the United Nations and viewed the activist exhibits at the Museum of the City of New York.

“I couldn’t be prouder of these students for stepping out of their comfort zones and joining me on this journey,” said Stiltner. “These four students stated that this workshop was an eye-opening experience for them that they will never forget. They have become more aware of their roles in society and acknowledge that taking action is the first step to change.”