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Wednesday, March 20

Redefining the American Social Contract: From Social Exclusion to Equity and Rights
12:00 pm to 1:30 pm
Cathy Albisa
109 Barco Law Building
Sponsored by:
Global Studies Center along with Pitt Human Rights Working Group; Year of Pitt Global; Center for Health Equity and Pittsburgh United

As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we face the realization that the human rights system is facing an existential crisis. Human rights are more important than ever and under great threat. But the human rights framework has historically avoided engaging with core economic and political systemic questions. Despite formal recognition of many human rights, hunger, housing instability, poor educational outcomes, lack of access to healthcare, abusive poverty jobs, state and private violence, and lack of access to clean water are all at epidemic proportions and dramatic racial disparities. Today it is core systemic questions—how capital and finance (and debt) are organized, what structural arrangements underlie our economy, our relationship to land and resources and more—that have become the focus of grassroots movements, especially those led by young people. These broader movements have embraced community driven solutions to our multiple crisis that arguably hold the key to deep systemic change. Can these solutions add up to a New Social Contract for America driven by human rights values? Will our movements usher in a new post-neoliberal era? And if so, what do human rights lessons of history have to say to guide us?