The promotion of human rights has been a part of U.S. foreign policy at least since the time that Eleanor Roosevelt championed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the earliest days of the UN. Human rights policy has also been the subject of recurring controversy, often related to its very basis in philosophy and law.
Robert Paul Churchill, who grew up overseas as the son of a diplomat and an artist, took his PhD in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University, and was the Elton Professor of Philosophy when he completed 42 years of teaching, research, and educational innovation at George Washington University in 2017. While serving as department chair several times, Dr. Churchill published seven books and numerous monographs, edited volumes and articles in his major areas of interest: ethics and global justice, ethnic and gender violence, human rights, just war theory, peace studies and nonviolent activism, national defense, terrorism, tolerance, reconciliation and moral psychology. His books include Human Rights and Global Diversity and Women in the Crossfire: Understanding and Ending Honor Killing forthcoming from Oxford University Press.
How universal are universal human rights? How can one justify the notion of universal human rights when the world is so divided by cultural, religious, and ideological norms? Is there a philosophical basis for reaching agreement on issues of equality, religious liberty, and freedom of expression?
How can one reconcile personal autonomy, the foundation of individual rights, and the idea of state sovereignty, the premise of diplomacy? Can the community of states hold a sovereign nation to account for violating the human rights of its citizens?
Does the theory of human rights need to be extended to include the collective rights of peoples, like the indigenous, whose identity and way of life differ so much from the basic notions of Western jurisprudence -- property, contract, individual rights?
Location: DACOR Bacon House, 1801 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
1801 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006