Harward Center panel discusses feminism and women's rights

The Harward Center for Community Partnerships continues its 2008-09 Civic Forum series, “Maine in a Transnational World, ” with a presentation on women’s rights through the international perspective of female activists.

Debra Schultz, an historian and human rights consultant; Jael Silliman, a women’s rights program officer for the Ford Foundation; and Shalom Odokara, executive director of Women in Need Industries, offer a presentation titled “Women’s Rights and Women’s Activism: An International Perspective” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, in the Edmund Muskie Archives, 70 Campus Ave.

The event is open to the public free of charge. For more information, please contact the Harward Center at 207-786-6202.

Schultz is the author of Going South: Jewish Women in the Civil Rights Movement (New York University Press, 2002). The director and founding board member of the Open Society Institute’s international women’s program, she is co-author of  Memory and Justice: Confronting Past Atrocity and Human Rights Abuse, a Ford Foundation-commissioned report. Schultz has taught history and women’s studies at the New School, Rutgers University and LaGuardia Community College.

An activist in both the U.S. and international women’s health and reproductive rights movements, Silliman was a program officer at the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation program and an early supporter of organizations of women of color. A program officer concerned with reproductive rights at the Ford Foundation, she is the author of  “Policing the National Body: Race, Gender and Criminalization,” co-edited with Anannya Bhattacharjee. As a professor of women’s studies at the University of Iowa, she wrote about social movements, reproductive rights and women’s health.

One of six children of Nigerian educators who helped build a university in her native country, Odokara, is executive director of Women in Need Industries. Founded in Washington, D.C., in 1995, WINI moved to Maine in 2002, where it helps women who have become homeless or victims of domestic violence. The program also teaches such women to help themselves. WINI makes efforts internationally to help stem the tide of AIDS in Africa and treats those infected. The group also works on projects in Maine, including a temporary home for women released from prison, as well as a spice and beauty products factory that will include a health clinic, day-care facility and educational programs.

The Harward Center forum is a lively series that invites the audience to explore civic, political and policy issues significant to the Bates community, Maine and beyond. The Harward Center leads Bates’ efforts in community involvement, including programs in service-learning, community volunteerism and environmental stewardship.

The center works with community partners to meet community needs and, in the process, to integrate civic engagement with the Bates educational experience.

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