Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First will convene its second annual Human Rights Summit: American ideals. Universal values., on December 4 and 5 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The Summit, coinciding with the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, will bring together international human rights activists, U.S. policymakers, military leaders, and business leaders from across the political spectrum and around the world to talk about their shared commitment to human rights, to highlight some of the most pressing issues of the day, and to discuss areas where the Obama Administration and Congress can exert U.S. leadership to promote human rights.

The Summit is comprised of two days of panel discussions, keynotes, and plenary sessions that cover a wide array of topics including global internet freedom, human trafficking, LGBT rights, and national security. Ambassador Susan E. Rice, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL27), Bloomberg L.P. President and CEO Dan Doctoroff, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council Eileen Donohoe, Cindy McCain, Chairman of the Russian LGBT Network Igor Kochetkov, Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Former British Foreign Secretary The Rt Hon Lord David Owen CH FRCP, and many others will join as guest speakers. For a full list of speakers, click here.

The two-day Summit will culminate on December 5 with the awarding of the Beacon Prize for American global leadership on human rights, with which Human Rights First will honor Senator Robert Dole for his pioneering advocacy on behalf of the disabled. Senator Dole spearheaded bipartisan passage of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, which President George H.W. Bush signed into law, and returned to Capitol Hill last year to press the United States Senate to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The name of the award echoes the words of leaders from President Ronald Reagan to President Barack Obama who have hailed the United States as a beacon for all those seeking freedom. The Beacon Prize invokes this description as a challenge: America’s beacon shines brightest when our country leads by example and when its actions match its ideals.

In addition, during lunch on December 4, Human Rights First will host a special discussion in honor of the 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights hosted by Historian Allida Black, editor of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, which will examine the role of American leadership in the creation of the Universal Declaration and its relationship to the American civil rights movement.

This event is open to the public and to media.


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