|The Colby Reader|
At 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21, in the Page Commons Room of Cotter Union, as part of the Oak Institute’s Child Labor Week, Jagdish Bhagwati and Pharis Harvey debated the topic, "Free Trade and Child Labor: What the United States Should and Should Not Do," focusing on whether the U.S. should adopt child labor and other human rights conditions as part of its trade policy. After the debate, The Political Affairs Reader was able to speak to both Dr. Bhagwati and Mr. Harvey. In doing so, we tried to reconstruct the debate for you, our readers, as well as to allow the debaters to expand on their views and really explain their positions. We hope that we have provided for you an interesting discussion of both child labor and what exactly should be done to curtail such practices.
The Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights was established in 1998 by a generous grant from the Oak Foundation. Each year, it hosts an Oak Human Rights Fellow to teach and conduct research while at residence in the College and organizes lectures and other events centered around the fellow’s area of expertise. The purpose of the fellowship is to offer an opportunity for prominent practitioners in international human rights to take a sabbatical leave from their work and spend a period of up to a semester as a scholar-in-residence at the College.
The College also has a Colby-Oak international scholarship program that has a special focus on students who have individually or whose families have suffered political oppression, including political torture. The scholarships are additionally awarded to other international students, with two each reserved for students from Denmark and Zimbabwe. In addition to the presence of the Oak Institute fellow, a number of speakers come to the college to discuss issues of human rights and social justice. Among those events we have chosen to highlight in this issue, is a debate between Dr. Jagdish Bhagwati of Columbia University and Pharis Harvey of the International Labor Rights Fund regarding the merits of using economic trade sanctions to stem the practice of child labor. We have also included an article about Emmanuel Dongala-Boundzeki, a writer from Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo. He read from his fiction and presented "An African View of Human Rights." The presentation was held in the Pugh Center, Cotter Union, and was co-sponsored by Colby’s Amnesty International group and the Oak Institute for Human Rights.
In our effort to highlight the incredible work done by the Oak Institute and its director, Professor Ken Rodman of the Government Department, we hope that you enjoy our articles and encourage you to attend the many lectures and presentations organized by the Oak Institute throughout the year. In doing so, we believe that you will gain a greater sense of perspective about the world around us. Colby has done an incredible job at attracting a number of internationally known scholars, so please take advantage of their presence.