Past Global Events

In the fall of 2020, the Center for Global Engagement is hosting a Global Perspective Series on “Human Rights at Home.” Although the Bill of Rights was one of the world’s first human rights declarations, over time the US government has broadly disengaged from the international human rights system.

The U.S. Constitution provides strong protections for civil and political rights, but it fails to recognize the economic, social, and cultural rights guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights such as the right to food, shelter, and health care. Public policies can exclude people from eligibility to programs that ensure these rights. 

With Secretary of State Pompeo’s recent creation of the U.S. Commission on Unalienable Rights, the dream of joining the international community and bringing human rights home has gotten even more distant. The purpose of the Commission is to support “fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation's founding principles of natural law and natural rights" instead of encouraging the U.S. to fully embrace the universality and indivisibility of human rights as set out in the UDHR, provide a strong defense of human rights abroad, and engage in an honest effort to address deep and persistent rights violations at home.

This series brings together experts to discuss why the U.S. has taken a divergent route on human rights and how embracing the international human rights system could make a critical impact in addressing system racism and differential access to education and health care.

Racial Injustice in the U.S. from a Human Rights Perspective | Experiences of Black UMB Students, Scholars, and AlumniHealth as a Human Right in the United States: What COVID-19 Has Exposed 

Racial Injustice in the U.S. from a Human Rights Perspective

Held September 17, 2020 

A discussion about systemic racism in the United States with a specific focus on whether applying a human rights lens would be a step forward toward addressing racism in this country.

Moderator: Roger J. Ward, JD, MSL, MPA, Interim Provost, University of Maryland, Baltimore  


  • Russell McClain, JD, Law School Professor and Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, UM Carey Law School    
  • Peter Danchin, JD, Director International and Comparative Law Program and Professor of Law, UM Carey Law School  
  • Neijma Celestine-Donnor, MSW, Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, UM School of Social Work 
  • Jackie Smith, Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh and co-coordinator of the Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance 

Experiences of Black UMB Students, Scholars, and Alumni

The Center for Global Engagement continued the Human Rights at Home conversation around racial injustice October 13, 2020 by hearing from our Black UMB students, scholars, and alumni. The panel showcased the different shades of Black and the diversity of experiences within the Black community on campus, as well as increased awareness of the varying needs and challenges of Black students and scholars on campus. Engaging in open dialogue will help everyone at UMB enhance efforts to promote and ensure racial diversity, equity, and inclusion across campus.

Moderator: Semhar Okbazion, JD, LLM, Assistant Director, Center for Global Engagement


  • OyebolaBabare, International Student, UMB School of Nursing
  • Olufunke Sokan, PharmD, International Scholar, UMB School of Pharmacy
  • Shayla Butler, DDS Student,UMB School of Dentistry
  • Nana Tufuoh, JD, UMB alumna,UMB Carey Law School 
  • Vonetta Edwards, PhD, International Scholar, UMB Institute for Genome Sciences


Health as a Human Right in the United States: What COVID-19 Has Exposed

The Center for Global Engagement continued the Human Rights at Home conversation around racial injustice November 17, 2020 with a look at the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed the perilous state of access to health care in the United States and the danger inadequate access poses to every citizen. In countries, such as Costa Rica, where health care is a right, the virus was much better controlled. Are we at a turning point on how we think about health as a human right?

Moderator: Flavius R. W. Lilly, PhD, MA, MPH, Vice Provost, Academic & Student Affairs and Vice Dean, Graduate School


  • Kenyon Farrow, Co-Executive Director of Partners for Dignity & Rights
  • Alicia Ely Yamin, JD, Senior Fellow at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics at Harvard Law School; Research Director, Gender Unit at the Centre on Law and Social Transformation (Bergen, Norway); Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School
  • Carlos Faerron, MD, MPH, Executive Director, InterAmerican Center for Global Health (CISG) and Faculty Member, University of Maryland Graduate School