Culture Series: Introduction
Physicist Albert Einstein once stated, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” There may be no precise scientific formula that leads us to global security and peace. But engaging in the pursuit of deeply understanding people, places, and cultures that make up the fabric of this world we all inhabit is a worthwhile one. This year, JD, LLM and SJD students will come together in a series of roundtables to discuss, debate, and explore the idea of culture – beginning with its definition to how it intertwines with other social constructs and trends such as class, gender, sexuality, populism, and activism.
Our daily agendas often feel too full to ask, converse, and reflect on something as abstract and complex as culture. But perhaps examining and grappling with culture - and how it is practiced across the world - can shed some light on how to improve humankind’s collective experience.
The formal comments that precede every discussion will be published on this blog. Please feel free to submit your own written thoughts by emailing email@example.com. We welcome your engagement on our explorative journey.
May 22By: Engy Abdelkader, JD, LL.M.The United Nations (UN) has long characterized the Rohingya as the world’s most persecuted population. Historically, the Burmese viewed the ethnic and religious minority as illegal immigrants permitted entry by their former British colonizers. Such historical context informs contemporary views of the group as “foreigners.” And that has helped justify decades-long persecution by both private and public actors culminating in the Rohingya’s legal exclusion as citizens and other discrimination codified as law. Despite the group’s pre-colonial ancestral ties to the land, messaging that Rohingya are “outsiders,” “Bengalis” and even, “terrorists,” has helped the government justify mass atrocity crimes. The current humanitarian and human rights crises also implicate national security.
May 1By: Shane Fischman, L’19It is a timely issue of resonance and consequence, the confluence of a class of committed students and an engaging Professor of unparalleled expertise. Our vigorous classroom discussions sounded more like policy debates and revolutionary cries than staid academic deliberation We represented a handful of different countries and states, a global array of religious, cultural, and economic backgrounds. More like a weekly conference than a class, we spent our two hours every Tuesday afternoon in friendly arguments— was it enough to have women at the table, or have people been ignoring a critical variable in the equation, having the right women at the table? And if that is the case, then how do we ensure women in the international community were prepared to lead? And is the top-down approach to securing women’s rights effective, or is that method only paying lip-service to the women living in rural villages who are legally barred from accessing capital to run a business and from attaining a passport without a male guardian’s permission?
March 27By: Kimberly Panian, L’18This year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) proved to be a historic one where member states gathered to discuss the substantial progress made in favor of gender equality. While each country addressed areas still in need of work, each event of the CSW offered an inspirational promise of hope. The excitement was palpable whenever discussing the significant progress already made—how women’s voices have been amplified and legitimized through legal reform and political activism.