Date: April 7, 1999
Contact: Stephen Collins
The Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights will sponsor "Child Labor Week" at Colby College in Maine April 20-23. Programs examining human rights and child labor issues around the world are open to the public.
Major events include an address on April 23 by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who was a pioneer in linking U.S. foreign policy to human rights issues and is currently the sponsor of legislation that would curb child labor; a debate on April 21 between economist Jagdish Bhagwati, who has been described as "the world's most militant defender of free trade," and Pharis Harvey, director of the International Labor Rights Fund, a nonprofit action and advocacy organization that works to end inhumane labor practices; and, on April 20 and 21, showings of the film "Globalization and Human Rights" with discussions including the filmmaker Robin Romano.
Zafaryab Ahmed, Colby's first Oak Human Rights Fellow and a crusader against child labor and human rights violations in South Asia, helped to organize the Child Labor Week events and will participate in discussions and other activities. Additional events will take place on campus during the week.
Oak Convocation with Senator Harkin: 4 p.m., Friday, April 23
Debate on Free Trade and Child Labor: 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 21
Bhagwati is the Arthur Lehman Professor of Economics at Columbia University and served as economic policy advisor to the director general of GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade). He is the author of books including The Economics of Underdeveloped Countries and Protectionism, as well as his most recent, A Stream of Windows: Unsettling Reflections on Trade, Immigration, and Democracy. He won Rhodes College's Frank J. Seidman Distinguished Award in Political Economy in 1998. Bhagwati is one of the most distinguished international economists in the world today as well as one of the world's most outspoken defenders of free trade.
Pharis J. Harvey is a founder of the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF) and its executive director since 1990. He is the author of Trading Away the Future: Child Labor in India's Export Industries and editor of several studies of labor and peoples' movements in Asia. In 1996 Harvey received the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award for lifetime achievement in developing labor rights law and defending labor rights internationally. The ILRF maintains that internationally recognized rights are violated in every part of the globe when women work in sweatshop garment factories, children work in poor conditions making products that are shipped to developed countries and men are forced to labor without pay. Women and men are harassed, fired or even killed for their efforts to organize and speak out, maintains Harvey, who works to end such injustices.
Film: 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 20, and 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 21,
The Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights was established with a major endowment from the Oak Foundation. Each year it offers a fellowship for an individual engaged in human rights work to spend a semester at Colby. This year Zafaryab Ahmed, a Pakistani journalist, is the first Oak Human Rights Fellow. In addition to the fellowship, the institute supports human rights programs on campus and scholarships for international students at Colby.