Former U.N. High Commissioner to speak about global challenges, human rights

February 27, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein of Jordan and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights will be speaking about ‘Global Challenges to Human Rights Today’ at Penn State on March 14 at 8 p.m. at Alumni Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center. The lecture, sponsored by the Center for Character, Conscience and Public Purpose a unit of Student Affairs, will be free and open to the public.

The lecture will incorporate topics of responsive citizenship, including what students and citizens can do to make a difference to protect and improve human rights, civic engagement, conscience and ethics.

The former commissioner is known for criticizing fascism, religious radicalism and other threats to civil liberties growing in counties around the world. al-Hussein was also the first Arab and Muslim commissioner to hold his post in the U.N.

He has a rich and reputable past in the world of politics and global affairs. From 2000 to 2007 and 2010 to 2014, al-Hussein was Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the U.N, including service as a member and president of the U.N. Security Council. The former high commissioner was also Jordan’s ambassador to the U.S from 2007 to 2010 and Jordan’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the U.N with the rank of ambassador from 1996 to 2000.

In 2002, al-Hussein was elected as the first president of the governing body of the International Criminal Court (ICC), in which he was a key contributor in its establishment along with leading negotiations to determine the precise terms of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

He was also appointed by Kofi Annan as adviser to the Secretary-General on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, allowing his report on the subject to be the first in efforts for the elimination of sexual exploitation and abuse in U.N peacekeeping operations.

Recently, al-Hussein also pledged to be an International Gender Champion, committed to advancing gender equality in the office of Human Rights. The International Women’s Health Coalition honored al-Hussein with the Visionary Leadership Award in 2018.

About The Center for Character, Conscience and Public Purpose

The Center for Character, Conscience and Public Purpose, promotes the development of ethical leadership and civic learning among Penn State’s students through reflection, dialogue and action. Through a variety of programs and services, the center prepares students for lives of thoughtful and committed ethical leadership in the advancement of the public good and a sustainable and successful democracy.

Last Updated March 20, 2019