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Marina Schuster called on University of La Verne students to speak up and speak out against what they perceive to be violations of human rights.

Marina Schuster called on University of La Verne students to speak up and speak out against what they perceive to be violations of human rights.

A Call To Action

Human rights activist Marina Schuster speaks for Bhutto-Ispahani lecture series.

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  • May 17, 2013

Some might have called her soft-spoken, but German Parliament member Marina Schuster’s message was stern and clear:

“Never get tired of challenging assumptions of what you hear, see and read,” she said to the packed audience in the University of La Verne Campus Center Ballroom on Wednesday May 1.

Schuster’s presentation titled “Human Rights and International Justice: A Common U.S. European Agenda?” was the feature presentation for the sixth annual Benazir Bhutto and Ahmed Ispahani International Lectureship, which addressed the state of several international issues of social injustice.

From the state of the Euro to Russia’s perceived passivity regarding problems in the Middle East, Schuster’s expertise in foreign policy and human rights provided an influential perspective on international social issues and the importance of maintaining a bond between the U.S. and Europe.

“The goal of attaining lasting peace in Europe is tied to the principles of international justice,” Schuster said. “I think we share a common agenda that attaches human rights to every issue to foreign affairs.”

She quoted President Barack Obama on how “political leaders will not take risks if the people do not demand that they do,” a poignant message in her presentation that prompted three calls to action for students:

  1. Become an ambassador for human rights
  2. Write letters to congressmen and foreign ambassadors
  3. Trust your common sense when challenging injustices

At the close of Schuster’s presentation, Professor of Business Administration & Economics Dr. Ahmed Ispahani presented her with an award of appreciation and gave closing remarks.

“My cousin [Benazir Bhutto] was put into prison for five years during her struggle for democracy in Pakistan, to the point where they clamped her mouth shut so she could not speak. She would have loved you and your organization because in Pakistan they needed human rights advocates like you.”

Schuster, who has been a member of the German Bundestag since 2005, is a leading figure of foreign policy and human rights in Germany. She sits on the boards of the United Nations Association of Germany, the German Africa Foundation, the German Foundation for Peace Research, the German Institute for Development Evaluation, and the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation, an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

Sponsored by the university’s International Studies Institute, the Benazir Bhutto & Ahmed Ispahani Lectureship series is named for the late Benazir Bhutto, two-time Prime Minister of Pakistan and the first female head of a Muslim State, who was assasinated in 2007; and for longtime La Verne professor Ispahani, Bhutto’s cousin, who joined the university faculty in 1964. The lectureship was established thanks to a gift by La Verne Board of Trustees member and university alumnus Paul Moseley and his wife, Jeanne.

The International Studies Institute seeks to establish personal, scholarly, and professional links among American and International faculty and students in order to enhance knowledge and understanding of the global community.

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