CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
Last living Universal Declaration of Human Rights signee to speak
at UI Oct. 30
IOWA CITY, Iowa Fereydoun Hoveyda, said to be the last living
signee of the Universal Declaration of Human rights, will present an oral
history of the Declaration and advancements in human rights at a University
of Iowa lecture at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30 at Buchannan Auditorium in the
Pappajohn Business Administration Building.
Hoveyda will speak about his work as a contributor to Les Cahiers
du Cinema, a magazine that has influenced contemporary cinematic theory
and technique at a showing of the Iranian film Gabbeh, at 7 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 29 at Becker Communications Studies Building.
Hoveyda was an Iranian ambassador to the United Nations from 1971-79
and was one of a 60-member delegation who voted to adopt the Declaration
on Dec. 10, 1948.
The UI is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration
with various Global Focus: HR'98 events featuring Nobel Prize winning speakers,
events, and conferences on the topic.
Hoveyda is the Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations.
His brother was the Shah of Iran, who was assassinated in 1979.
"He is, for obvious reasons, a natural selection as a featured
speaker," says Burns Weston, UI professor of law and lead organizer
of the UI's yearlong Human Rights commemoration.
"And what a wonderful opportunity it will be for us to compare
1948 expectations with 1998 realities," Weston says.
In an interview earlier this year with the Diplomatic World Bulletin,
Hoveyda said he was told to remain silent while the document was being
negotiated because the Declaration was merely a non-binding declaration
that contained only recommendations and goals to be reached with no timetable
"Although I did as I was instructed, I found myself, by a quirk
of fate, actively involved in the finalization of the text," he said
in the Bulletin interview.
"Over the past 50 years, both as a diplomat and writer, I have
witnessed the ever growing influence of the Declaration around the world.
It has been used more and more in the defense and advancement of people's
rights. It's principles have been included in and continue to inspire national
legislation of many states," Hoveyda said.
Hoveyda is a film producer and writer and a promoter of Iranian cinema,
which he says can be used to advance human rights and promote national
and international discourse on human rights issues. He received the Leopold
Senghor Literary Prize from the French Language Cultural and Technical
Society in 1973 for the Snows of Sinai and was named a Planetary
Citizen by the United Nations for his work on global disarmament.
He organized the first conference on international literacy for the
U.N. Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization and has written 12
works of fiction and non-fiction, which includes "The Fall of the
His visit is sponsored by the International and Comparative Law Program
of the College of Law, the Institute for Cinema and Culture and The Stanley