Chatham News

Chatham University to Host Rock for Human Rights as part of Southern Africa Year of Global Focus

PITTSBURGH:   Rock for Human Rights, a non-profit organization partnering with musicians to educate audiences about human rights, will make a stop at Chatham University’s Shadyside campus on Thursday, September 25 as part of their two-month national tour.  The event is part of Chatham’s award-winning Global Focus Program and will take place during the university’s Southern Africa Heritage Day Picnic (5:30—6:30 p.m.) on the Academic Quad on the Chatham University Shadyside Campus on Woodland Road in Pittsburgh, PA.

Rock for Human Rights (R4HR) was founded by musician Wil Seabrook as an attempt to bring human rights awareness to diverse audiences using the power of music, visual media, and social networking.  The R4HR National Tour launched earlier this month and will take place at various locations nationwide throughout September and October.  In addition to performances by Seabrook, the tour will also highlight Alexio Kawara, who is currently Zimbabwe’s #1 music artist.

Seabrook’s motivation to start R4HR came from the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, written by the UN under the guidance of Eleanor Roosevelt after the atrocities of World War II. Yet, more than 60 years beyond the passing of this historic document, human rights abuses remain a stark and unfortunate reality around the world. Most people do not have an understanding of their basic human rights, and fewer still have even heard of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Indeed, the first step towards making human rights a reality is raising awareness that these rights and agreements actually exist.  Seabrook hopes the organization’s dynamic presentation will help to bring these global issues to the forefront.   Zimbabwean performer Alexio Kawara is an Afro-fusion sensation with six albums and two Top 3 Video of the Year awards.   His fifth album, Tose, has been critically acclaimed as “a work dedicated to love, devotion and social commentary.”

The event is part of Chatham University’s Year of the States of Southern Africa through the Global Focus Program.  Started in 1995, the Global Focus Program at Chatham University concentrates on one country or region of the world each year to enable the college community to engage in a comprehensive study of that region through coursework, class assignments, campus events, community activities, co-curricular programs and service learning projects. This year’s program focuses on the southernmost expanse of the African continent that includes the countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. The island nation of Madagascar claims a distinct language and cultural heritage. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) founded in 1980 pulls all 15 nations “towards a common future.” The Republic of South Africa is one of the most prominent emerging economies in the world, and its history bears many similarities with the history of the USA. Southwestern Pennsylvania is home to several hundred individuals who have migrated here from Southern Africa.

For more information on Rock For Human Rights, visit their website at: www.r4hr.org.

For more information on the Global Focus Program, visit www.chatham.edu/globalfocus

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