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Colby College’s Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights in Waterville has announced a fall lecture series, which will open with a presentation by 2001 Oak Human Rights Fellow Sevdie Ahmeti. On Thursday, September 20, Ahmeti will present “Working for Women and Human Rights in Kosovo.” The lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Robins Room on the second floor of Roberts Building. It is open to the public and free of charge.
A 56-year-old Albanian Kosovar, Ahmeti has risked her life helping women and children war victims in Kosovo. A librarian by training, Ahmeti has worked on behalf of war victims for 14 years and founded the Center for the Protection of Women and Children in Prishtine in 1993. The Center, of which she is currently executive director, now operates nine branches.
Highly regarded by human rights practitioners familiar with her work, Ahmeti has worked tirelessly to document hundreds of human rights abuses in Kosovo in the former Yugoslavia. She has published extensively and worked with regional and international organizations and networks to protect human rights across ethnic lines. While her courageous work has focused on protection, rehabilitation and documentation of ethnic Albanian women and children who are victims of rape, torture and enslavement, she does not discriminate based on ethnic origin and has arranged treatment for many other human-rights victims as well. Crimes documented by Ahmeti and her colleagues have been used as evidence by the International Criminal Tribunal on Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
Because of her outstanding record, Human Rights Watch chose Ahmeti as one of four Human Rights Monitors for 1999. This fall Ahmeti will teach at Colby about her work in women’s rights and human rights and will share her on-the-ground perspective on human rights and civil war in the former Yugoslavia.
All other Oak events will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Room 01 of Olin Science Building and are open to the public free of charge. On Monday, October 1, Ahmeti will lead a video presentation of a new Kosovo documentary, “Survival of Death.” A discussion will follow.
On Monday, October 8, a panel presentation, “Confronting Sexual Violence and War—Women’s Rights as Human Rights,” will be held. Participants will include Nancy Paterson, former prosecutor with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Naime Sherifi of the Council for the Defense of Freedoms and Human Rights in Prishtine, Kosovo, and Martina Vandenburg of Human Rights Watch.
On Friday, November 2, Julie Mertus, professor of peace and conflict resolution at American University’s School for International Service will present a lecture, “The Gender Dimensions Of Humanitarian Intervention.”
On Friday, November 16, a panel will present “The Future of Human Rights in the Balkans.” Participants will include Dusan Bjelic of the University of Southern Maine, Keith Brown of the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University and Oak Fellow Sevdie Ahmeti.
Ahmeti is the fourth Oak Human Rights fellow, following human rights activists who had risked their lives on behalf of child laborers in Pakistan, civil society in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and indigenous and peasant groups in Colombia.
Editors Note: Sevdie Ahmeti is available for interviews by contacting her directly at 207-872-3134 or by contacting the Oak Institute at 207-872-3813.