Washington, D.C. – On December 4 and 5, Human Rights First will convene its second-annual Human Rights Summit: American ideals. Universal values. 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 and keynotes 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 Donahoe, Cindy McCain, 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 event will also be livestreamed and can be viewed 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. All press must be credentialed ahead of the summit. To register for this event or to schedule time to interview a participant, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at bowsersoderb@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3323. For more information, please visit the event website.

The event will be livestreamed and can be viewed here. For reporters watching via livestream and hoping to interview a participant over Skype or telephone, please submit that request to bowsersoderb@humanrightsfirst.org. To follow the event on Twitter, use the hashtag #HRFSummit.

WHAT: Human Rights Second Annual Human Rights Summit: American ideals. Universal values.
WHEN: December 4-5, 2012 – View the Full Agenda
WHERE: Newseum, Knight Conference Center, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
RSVP: Press should register online or by contacting Brenda Bowser Soder at bowsersoderb@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3323

  • Elisa Massimino, President and CEO, Human Rights First;
    Ambassador Susan E. Rice, National Security Advisor
    Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
    Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL27)
    Dan Doctoroff, CEO and President Bloomberg L.P.
    Ambassador Eileen Donahoe, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council at Geneva
    Cindy McCain, Founding member of the Eastern Congo Initiative, co-chair of the Arizona Governor’s task force on human trafficking
    The Rt Hon Lord David Owen CH FRCP, Former British Foreign Secretary, Navy Minister and Health Minister
    Kerry Kennedy, President of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights
    Allida Black, Founding Editor of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers
    Maina Kiai, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
    Ambassador Mark Lagon, Global Politics and Security Chair, Georgetown University; former Executive Director and CEO of the Polaris Project; former U.S. ambassador-at-large and director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, U.S. Department of State
    Ivan Simonovic, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
    Adam Szubin, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Department of Treasury
    Ambassador Phil Verveer, Former U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy at the U.S. Department of State
    General Lamine Cissé, Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Former Minister of the Interior of Senegal
    General Carter Ham, USA (Ret.), Former Commander in Chief of U.S. Africa Command
    General Joseph P. Hoar, USMC (Ret.), Former Commander in Chief of United States Central Command
    Colonel Steven Kleinman, USAFR, Former Senior Intelligence Officer, U.S. Air Force
    Arturo Aguilar, Secretary of Strategic and Private Affairs, Office of the Attorney General, Guatemala
    Kathi Lynn Austin, Executive Director of the Conflict Awareness Project
    The Honourable Lloyd N. Axworthy PC, OC, OM, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winnipeg, Former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Yalemzewd Bekele, Human Rights Defender (Ethiopia)
    Reda Al-Fardan, Bahrain Watch
    Aryeh Neier, President Emeritus of the Open Society Institute
    Jovanka Todorovic, Labris Lesbian Human Rights Organization (Serbia)
    Arnold Tsunga, Director of the Africa Regional Programme of the International Commission of Jurists
    Nadine Wahab, Cairo Center for Human Rights
    Kaspars Zalitis, Latvian LGBT activist and Board Member of LGBT NGO Mozaika
    Letty Ashworth, General Manager of Global Diversity, Delta Airlines
    Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York
    Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning Author and Civil Rights Historian
    Jonathan Capehart, Opinion Writer and member of The Washington Post editorial board, MSNBC contributor
    Steve Clemons, Washington Editor-at-Large, The Atlantic
    Michael Hanna, Senior Fellow at the Century Foundation
    Hisham Hellyer, Nonresident Fellow with the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at Brookings and Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies
    Rebecca MacKinnon, Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation and Cofounder of Global Voices Online
    Dr. Habib C. Malik, Associate Professor of History and Cultural Studies at the Lebanese American University (LAU)
    Andrew McLaughlin, President of DIGG, Former White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer
    Omar Mestiri, Tunisian Journalist and Chief Editor of the Online Newspaper Kalima
    David Rohde, American Author and Investigative Journalist for Thomson Reuters
    Eric Schwartz, Dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota
    Jacob Weisberg, American Political Journalist and Editor-in-Chief of Slate Group
    Eli Wolff, Director, Inclusive Sports Initiative, Institute for Human Centered Design

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