Human Rights First Summit: American Ideals, Universal Values

Inaugural summit brings together policymakers, advocates, and business leaders

Washington, D.C. –Human Rights First will convene its inaugural Human Rights Summit: American ideals. Universal values, today and tomorrow at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.  The summit, which precedes the 64th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, brings together international human rights activists with U.S. policymakers, military and business leaders for conversations about where the second Obama Administration and 113th Congress can exert U.S. leadership to promote human rights. The summit is comprised of two days of panels, keynotes, and plenary sessions that cover a wide array of topics including the Arab Spring, emerging technologies, national security, and immigration reform. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of Russia’s United Civil Front Garry Kasparov, Egyptian democracy activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission Dr. Richard Land, Vice President of Communications and Public Policy at Facebook Elliot Schrage, and many others will join as guest speakers. Taped messages from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Ai Weiwei, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will also be aired during the gathering.  For a full list of speakers, click here. At the summit, Human Rights First will also unveil a dozen blueprints for the next administration and Congress, documents that include practical steps lawmakers and administration officials can take to address some of the most pressing human rights in the world today. Among the topics covered in the blueprints are Human Rights in China, national security, internet freedom, immigration and Egypt.  To view the full collection of blueprints, click here. Today, during a luncheon at the Newseum, Human Rights First will present the 2012 Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), a non-governmental advocacy organization that promotes democracy and human rights in Bahrain. The BCHR was prominent in documenting and publicizing human rights violations during thegovernment crackdown over the last year, often at great risk to its members and supporters. Human Rights First’s two-day summit will culminate on December 5 with the awarding of the inaugural Beacon Prize. This year, Human Rights First will honor the late Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens for his bravery and dedication to advancing American ideals on human rights. Ambassador Stevens is being honored posthumously for his courage in standing with the Libyan people as they demanded freedom and democracy. Ambassador Robert Ford, U.S. Ambassador to Syria, will present the honor. Ambassador Stevens’ cousin, Geoffrey Bannister, will accept the award on behalf of the family. The name of the award echoes the words of leaders from President Ronald Reagan to President Barack Obama who have hailed the United States as a beacon for all those seeking freedom. The Beacon Prize invokes this description as a challenge: America’s beacon shines brightest when our country leads by example and when its actions match its ideals. The summit is open to the public and to media.


Published on December 4, 2012


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