HRW film festival Michigan debut is a great success

By Website Administrator | Feb 21, 2003

More than 650 people from Kettering University, area colleges and the community came to Kettering for the Human Rights Watch (HRW) Traveling Film Festival Feb. 13 to 16.

More than 650 people from Kettering University, area colleges and the community came to Kettering for the Human Rights Watch (HRW) Traveling Film Festival Feb. 13 to 16. The festival, a series of documentary films showcasing the heroic stories of activists and survivors from throughout the world, offered viewers an unbiased glimpse into current threats imposed on humanity in such countries as Israel, the U.S., Lebanon, Palestine, Chile, Afghanistan and Rwanda.

Dr. Badrinath Rao, assistant professor of Social Science, and the Department of Liberal Studies, brought the film festival to Kettering, one of only 19 locations in the country to host it. The festival has been shown at three sites in the Midwest, including Kettering, and Kettering was the only site in Michigan to host the HRW Film Festival.

Attendees included the community at large and students and employees of area colleges and universities including the University of Michigan-Flint, Michigan State University, Oakland University and Kettering.

There were a variety of reactions to the films. On student was moved to tears by "Afghanistan Year 1380," said Karen Wilkinson, interim chair of Liberal Studies at Kettering. Another struggled to understand what "August" was all about. Several people expressed thanks to Kettering for bringing the films to Flint.

Started in 1978 as Helsinki Watch, Human Rights Watch is the largest human rights organization based in the United States. Human Rights Watch researchers conduct fact-finding investigations into human rights abuses in all regions of the world, press for the withdrawal of military and economic support from governments that egregiously violate the rights of their people, and provide up-to-the-minute information about conflicts while they are underway. All the "Watch" committees were united in 1988 to form Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch believes that international standards of human rights apply to all people equally, and that sharp vigilance and timely protest can prevent the tragedies of the twentieth century from recurring.

Written by:
Dawn Hibbard and Gary Erwin
810-762-9865 or 810-762-9538
dhibbard@kettering.edu or gerwin@kettering.edu