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Amnesty International, Write for Rights

University of Utah

December 3-5, 2018

Amnesty International with the Tanner Center for Human Rights hosted their third annual Write for Rights letter writing campaign. People joined together, using the power of the written word, to stand up human rights on behalf of  human rights defenders who face discrimination, abuse, intimidation, imprisonment and violence at the hands of their government. This campus-wide event for students and the broader community resulted in over 550 letters written to government leaders around the world. 

   Amnesty logo      Angie, Brigitte Aleta Write for Rights 2

Write for Rights is the world’s largest human rights letter writing event. Every year around Human Rights Day on December 10th, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide write letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience, human rights defenders and others at risk of human rights violations. This year, Write for Rights focused on women, gender, and human rights defenders, celebrating the role of women who stand up against injustice and lead the charge for change.

              Write for Rights 4Write fir Rights Write for Rights 7

From experience we know these letters have the power to change lives. Throughout Amnesty International’s 57 years of human rights activism, many people have been freed because of the action taken by activists who participate in Write for Rights. Letters and online actions taken by activists have given former prisoners of conscience, human rights defenders, torture survivors, and death row prisoners hope and helped changed the minds of decision makers.


The Overwhelming, Regional Premiere

Salt Lake Acting Company

 The Overwhelming


September 28, 2018

Celebrating the regional premiere of The Overwhelming, an extraordinary new play by J.T. Rogers author of White People, Seeing the Elephant, and Madagascar. 

The Overwhelming tells the story of a naïve and desperate American professor who, in an attempt to save his teaching career, brings his family to Rwanda just as the country careens toward unspeakable horror.  This drama, developed at the Salt Lake Acting Company, premiered in London and New York and then shared its remarkably powerful and important story with our community, here.

A very special post-play discussion was moderated by the Salt Lake Acting Company Dramaturg, Mike Dorrell, featuring Dr. Howard Lehman, Professor from the Department of Political Science and Dr. Leonard Hawes, Professor from the Department of Communication, both from the University of Utah.


Never Again is Now: Remembering and Reaffirming Our Collective Commitment to Protecting Civil Rights

Utah Museum of Fine Arts

August 30, 2018



See the Ann Burroughs interview with ABC 4 Utah



Journey to America: Young Migrants and Refugees

Utah Museum of Fine Arts

March 29, 2018

Our keynote address by Sonia Nazario addressed this year’s topic of immigration and the journey that many unaccompanied minors face. 


Following her talk, we had a reception in the Great Hall where we featured the photographic work of Rosa Villoslada, artwork from the children at Uinta Elementary and music by the Mundi Project.

 Mundi Project piano player              UintaArt ProgramImmigrant Photo Exhibit

Students in Conversation with Sonia Nazario 

University of Utah

A select group of students from North Davis Preparatory Academy, S.J Quinney College of Law, Sociology and Latin American Studies were invited to a private lunch with Sonia Narario at the University.  She shared her stories from Central America and relayed the plight of young refugees fleeing gang violence and poverty in Central American countries. 

Sonia Nazario and students


International Women of Courage Award Recipient- Roya Sadat

Officer's Club

March 27, 2018

 Roya Sadat

Together with the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, we hosted award-winning Afghan filmmaker and 2018 International Women of Courage award recipient Roya Sadat. Roya uses her platform of film making to change communities through discourse and raise awareness of the challenges facing women and girls.

Roya Sadat is a creative thinker who refuses to be silenced in the face of threats from conservative elements within Afghan society. Using cinema and television as platforms for advocacy, she is peacefully advocating for positive change by telling the untold stories of Afghan women and girls. At age 20, Sadat directed her first feature, Three Dots, which she secretly wrote during the Taliban era. The film centers on a young widow who is pressured to marry an in-law. 

Sadat took major risks to shoot the film in a rural village; at one point, she was chased away at gunpoint by villagers angry at her use of uncovered women actresses. Despite these and other challenges, she completed the film, which received international acclaim.

Throughout her career, Sadat has faced enormous risks and has overcome tremendous cultural, bureaucratic, and monetary barriers. Born in Herat in 1981, Sadat always dreamed of being a filmmaker. But when the Taliban came to power, her dreams were nearly crushed as music, movies, television, and theater were banned. Yet Sadat organized secret theater classes in hospitals, refusing to give up her passion. 

Women of Courage poster


 In 2003, Sadat founded Roya Film House to tell compelling stories about Afghanistan. In more than 30 documentaries, films, and television shows, Sadat has not shied away from depicting the brutal injustices of life for Afghan women. And in 2013, she founded the Afghanistan International Women’s Film Festival to promote women filmmakers and the empowerment of Afghan women through art. 

Sadat’s most recent work, A Letter to the President, tells the story of a strong-willed woman who is sentenced to death after accidentally killing her abusive husband. In the process of examining Afghanistan’s culture through cinema, Sadat is doing her part to make her country a better place for women and girls.


Film Screening “Dolores”

Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center

March 14, 2018

Together with the Utah Film Center, we hosted Dolores Huerta and Director Peter Bratt for a screening of the documentary “Dolores”.  The auditorium reached capacity quickly causing the venue to turn many groups away.  During the film screening, Dolores Huerta shared her time visiting with those groups who remained in the lobby.  A rock star in her own right, Dolores Huerta has a following that spans generations, ethnicity and socio-economic standing.

Utah Film Center screeningUFC Audience

A Born Again Feminist - Dolores Huerta

Hinckley Institute of Politics

March 14, 2018

Generating the largest turnout the Hinckley Institute has seen in the past two years, Dolores Huerta’s visit to the University was a success on many levels.  In attendance were university students, faculty and staff, high school students, KUED special guests and members of the community at large.  Young women gathered outside of the caucus room to get a picture and an autograph with her.  When Dolores walked in she received a standing (and very lively) ovation.  Her talk was both thought provoking and inspiring and what really resonated with many attendees is her very important message: It only takes one person with an idea to make a difference in world. 

Dolores HuertaDolores AudienceAudience for Dolores


Oxford Consortium:  Human Rights In and After Conflict

Oxford, UK

March 2018 

The Barbara and Norman Tanner Center sponsored three students from the Honors College to travel to Oxford to participate in the 2018 spring workshop aimed at understanding and developing constructive solutions to the problems of today. 

SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS:  Hans Liu- History & International Studies, Nicholas Cockrell- History and Political Science, Amy Loret- Biology   _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What Future Might Nuclear Arms Control Have?

Hinckley Institute of Politics, Pizza and Politics Series – Henry Sokolski

January 24, 2018

Our annual Pizza and Politics talk by Henry Sokolski is always educational and enlightening.  As former Deputy for Nonproliferation Policy in the Cheney Pentagon and executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center in Washington, Mr. Sokolski often raises many interesting questions and sparks a lively conversation with students. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Downwind Stories Shifting the Status Quo

Hinckley Institute of Politics, Pizza and Politics Series - Sarah Alisabeth Fox 

January 23, 2018

Sarah Alisabeth Fox highlighted the personal cost of nuclear testing and uranium extraction in the American West through extensive interviews with “downwinders,” the Native American and non-Native residents of the Great Basin region affected by nuclear environmental contamination and nuclear-testing fallout.  This was a Pizza and Politics event, which we co-sponsored with PAC/Deb Sawyer. 

Last Updated: 3/31/21