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Less than two weeks after President Bush signed a controversial bill about how to define and treat enemy combatants, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson will give a talk at Colby College titled “The Challenge of Human Rights in the 21st Century.” Robinson, who also served for seven years as President of Ireland, will deliver the George J. Mitchell Distinguished International Lecture on Thursday, October 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Lorimer Chapel. The event is free and the public is invited.

As U.N. High Commissioner from 1997 to 2002, Robinson gave priority to integrating human rights concerns into all activities of the U.N. During her first year she traveled to Rwanda, South Africa, Colombia and Cambodia, among other countries. In 1998 she was the first High Commissioner to visit China. Robinson sent human rights workers to Indonesia and to countries in Europe and Africa, and she strengthened human rights monitoring in areas of conflict such as Kosovo.

The Mitchell lecture series, under the auspices of Colby’s Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, brings a high profile world leader to engage the Waterville community while honoring former U.S. Senator, statesman and international negotiator George J. Mitchell, a Waterville native. The series was launched last year by generous contributions from Mitchell family members and friends of the senator.

The Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement at Colby connects teaching and research with contemporary political, economic and social issues. For more information about the Goldfarb Center, click here.