Network Poised to Remodel Human Rights Activism

Inspired by his work in the classroom and his activism around the globe addressing human rights abuses, UA faculty member Bill Simmons launched GlobalHumanRightsDirect.com.
Jan. 12, 2016
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In related news, the UA Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry is accepting aplications for its Faculty Collaboration Grant awards through Jan. 29. More information is available online.

Bill Simmons, an associate professor in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies, speaking in China in 2009. (Photo courtesy Bill Simmons)
Bill Simmons, an associate professor in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies, speaking in China in 2009. (Photo courtesy Bill Simmons)

It doesn't take more than a quick glance at news headlines to see that human rights are compromised in every part of the globe.

But, behind these headlines, there are groups of people working to stop human rights abuses. They are survivors, activists, scholars, translators and policymakers from around the world who want to build connections, share their knowledge and create solutions.  

Inspired by his work in the classroom and his activism around the globe addressing human rights abuses, Bill Simmons, a University of Arizona associate professor in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies, has launched a website with an eye on defending peoples' rights and finding achievable solutions to ending abuses.

"Our main goals are to revolutionize how human rights is taught, how it is conceived, and what counts as expert knowledge in rights discourses," Simmons said. "By doing so, we hope to address human rights abuses in novel ways that take into account the voices of those not normally heard."

Funded by a UA Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry "Innovation Farm" grant, the website, GlobalHumanRightsDirect.com, launched this month. The site allows members to video conference with human rights experts, connect with individuals and groups interested in similar human rights issues, learn more about important human rights topics, publicize human rights causes/organizations and become educated in ways to contribute to stopping abuses.  

"Bill Simmons' website and project is a testimony of the highly positive impact that Confluencenter's Innovation Farm program will have in the field of human rights," said Javier Durán, the Confluencenter's director.

"The website is poised to transform the global conversation about human rights and social justice issues for the next decade," Durán said. "The project is creating a new model for a multiplicity of actors to become engaged and closely connected in many areas of the world. The innovative and collaborative nature of the project demonstrates how the University of Arizona’s talented and passionate faculty are working together to provide solutions to humanity’s grand challenges."