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(Editor's note: Shestack will be available to meet with the press at 10 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 24 at the fourth-floor faculty lounge of the Boyd Law Building.)

Former U.N. Ambassador Jerome Shestack is featured UI human rights speaker Sept. 24

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Jerome J. Shestack, recent past president of the American Bar Association and former ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, will speak at the University of Iowa at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24 at the Levitt Auditorium of the Boyd Law Building.

Shestack will present a lecture, "Human Rights: The Neglectful Past, the Traumatic Present, and the Hopeful Future," as part of the UI's "Global Focus: Human Rights '98" year-long commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The lecture is free and is open to the public.

In the early 1970s Shestack helped to found and was chairman of the American Bar Association's Section of Individual Rights, a section that provides leadership to the legal profession in protecting and advancing human rights, liberties, and social justice. From 1979 to 1980 as ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission, he launched the U.N. Working Group to investigate political activists' disappearances under repressive regimes. He has chaired the International League for Human Rights since 1981.

Shestack recently served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the Moscow Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe as a commissioner of the Presidential-Congressional Commission to Improve the Effectiveness of the United Nations, and as an informal advisor to the Department of State on the establishment of the International Criminal Court.

Shestack says that many of the rights proclaimed in the Universal Declaration have been given firm legal expression in a series of treaties covering civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, racial discrimination, religious tolerance, torture, and women's and children's rights. He says societies globally have made noticeable gains in advancing human rights causes.

"The past 50 years have shown an appetite for human rights among the masses of the world that should ultimately devour rulers who fail to satisfy the human rights hunger. The movement supporting human rights has turned out to be the revolution of our time," Shestack says.

Burns Weston, UI law professor and chair of Global Focus: Human Rights '98, says it is a great honor and privilege to host Shestack at the UI.

"He is without doubt one of the most active and pioneering human rights lawyers in our country and world today," Weston says. "Having thought long and deeply about international human rights issues, he also has produced some major scholarship. He is definitely an expert not to be missed."

During Shestack's three-day visit at the UI, he will present seminars to UI faculty and law students on lawyers' role in promoting and protecting human rights. Shestack's visit to the UI ends Sept. 25.

Other human rights activists and scholars who will visit the UI as part of Global Focus: Human Rights '98 during the fall 1998 semester are:

Elie Wiesel, 1986 Nobel Peace Prizewinner, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14 at Hancher Auditorium.

Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Wednesday, Oct. 21 at the Wayne Richey Triangle Ball Room in the Iowa Memorial Union (time to be announced).

Dith Pran, Cambodian activist and journalist, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27 at Buchanan Auditorium in the Pappajohn Business Administration Building.

Fereydoun Hoveyda, Iranian filmmaker and last surviving signer of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 30 at Buchanan Auditorium in the Pappajohn Business Administration Building.

Rigoberta Menchu Tum, of Guatemala, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 12 at MacBride Auditorium in MacBride Hall.

Ronald Dworkin, New York University and Oxford University legal philosopher, 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19 at Levitt Auditorium in the Boyd Law Building.

The Honorable John Hume, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland and a principal architect of the Northern Ireland political settlement, at 8 p.m., Nov. 23 at Levitt Auditorium in the Boyd Law Building.

Adam Hochschild, award-winning writer, 8 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1 at Shambaugh Auditorium in the UI Main Library.

For more information about scheduled events, visit the Global Focus: Human Rights: '98 website at