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U.S. Leader of Amnesty International Will Speak at Davidson

By Mario Prohasky '05

October 12, 2001
Contact: Bill Giduz 704/894-2244 or bigiduz@davidson.edu

William Schulz
William Schulz

William Schulz, the executive director of the United States chapter of Amnesty International (AI), will speak at Davidson College on Tuesday, October 23. His lecture, which begins at 7:30 in Love Auditorium of Chambers Building, will concern his latest book, which is entitled, In Our Own Best Interest: How Defending Human Rights Benefits Us All. There is no admission charge, and a book signing session and reception will follow the presentation.

Schulz's new book, which was published in April, addresses issues such as prison conditions in the United States, nuclear fuel leaks in Russia and their effects on the environment, the spread of dangerous viruses, and the corruption of many governments which are supported by US economic assistance. Schulz connects the problem of human rights around the world to America, arguing that human rights violations anywhere on the globe can directly affect the lives of American citizens.

William Schulz book
William Schulz's book In Our Own Best Interest.

He states in the book, "Whether it be war and peace, international trade, economic growth, the security of jobs, the state of our environment, the public health, the interdiction of drugs, or a host of other topics, there is a connection between Americans' own interests and international human rights."

Schulz, an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, was president of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations from 1985-1993, and has been executive director of Amnesty International since 1994.

He has traveled widely throughout this country and the world advocating a wide spectrum of national and international social justice issues on behalf of AI.

AI campaigns worldwide to promote the human rights outlined in the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights," and other international standards. In particular, AI works to free prisoners of conscience, ensure fair and prompt trials for political prisoners, abolish the death penalty, torture, and other cruel treatment of prisoners, end political killings, and oppose human rights abuses by opposition groups.

AI has about a million members and supporters in 162 countries and territories. Activities range from public demonstrations to letter-writing, from human rights education activities to fundraising concerts, from individual appeals on a particular case to global campaigns on a particular issue.

AI is independent of any government, political persuasion, or religious creed, and is financed largely by subscriptions and donations from its membership.

Schulz's appearance at Davidson is sponsored by the Dean Rusk Program in International Studies, the Davidson College chapter of AI, and the college's Public Speakers committee. It is part of a two-month series of lectures on human rights and humanitarian assistance that has been sponsored by the Dean Rusk Program.

Schulz is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Oberlin College, holds an M. A. in philosophy from the University of Chicago, an M.A. in theology from Meadville/Lombard Theological School at the University of Chicago, the Doctor of Ministry degree from Meadville/Lombard, and has been awarded honorary doctorates from from Meadville/Lombard in 1987 and from Nova Southeastern University in 1995.

He has served on the boards of several public service organizations, and is currently a member of the international advisory committee for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, and is chair of the board of Meadville/Lombard Theological School.

He has appeared frequently on national radio and television programs, and been published in the popular press. He has spoken at many colleges and universities, and taught a seminar on the role of religion in international social and political conflict at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is a frequent speaker at World Affairs Council meetings, before corporate groups and in international settings and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

He has received the Harry S. Truman Award for International Leadership from the Kansas City United Nations Association, and been honored by those from one end of the religious spectrum to the other. He was chosen "Humanist of the Year" by the American Humanist Association in 2000.

In addition to the presentation on the Davidson campus, Schulz will also speak at a luncheon in Charlotte, co-sponsored by the Dean Rusk Program and the Charlotte World Affairs Council, on Wednesday, October 24.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,600 students. Since its establishment in 1837, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is ranked in the top ten liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News and World Report magazine. Davidson is currently engaged in "Let Learning Be Cherished," a $250 million campaign in support of student financial assistance, academic resources, and community life.

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