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Former Congressman Perriello to Speak on Social Justice Issues Friday at U.Va.

UPDATE, July 7: Perriello will speak from Egypt via Skype.

July 6, 2011 — Scholars studying global social justice campaigns – such as the fight to end the trade in "blood diamonds," the movement to save Darfur and the struggle to get life-saving medicines in the hands of AIDS patients worldwide – will hear from former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, on Friday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the University of Virginia's Nau Hall, room 211. The event is free and open to the public.

Perriello will speak on "Advocating for Global Justice" during an eight-day, graduate-level program of U.Va.'s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy that focuses on global advocacy. He will discuss international issues related to his recent government service as well as his co-founding of two human-rights organizations, DarfurGenocide.org and Avaaz.org, which deal with regional conflict, global poverty, climate change and other concerns. Perriello is one 10 presenters speaking to 17 graduate students from 10 European countries, Canada and the United States.

Christine Mahoney, summer school director and assistant professor of politics and public policy at the Batten School, said the program is focusing on "cutting-edge tactics international activists are using today and the successful strategies of previous global advocacy campaigns." Among the topics being studied are the anti-apartheid movement, campaigns for women's rights and the fight against gender-based violence, and the movement to promote the production of less-expensive generic vaccines for HIV/AIDS patients.

Batten's Global Advocacy Summer School is the first in the United States sponsored by the European Consortium for Political Research.

Perriello's international work includes service from 2002 to 2003 as special adviser to the international prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, where he helped to prosecute warlords and worked with local pro-democracy groups, child soldiers and amputees. He later became the court's spokesman and helped to indict Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, forcing him from power.

Perriello also worked as a consultant to the International Center for Transitional Justice in Kosovo in 2003, the Darfur region of Sudan in 2005 and Afghanistan in 2007, where he worked on justice-based security strategies. He has also been a fellow at The Century Foundation and a consultant to the National Council of Churches. He helped to launch FaithfulAmerica.org and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.

The program concludes Monday at 5 p.m. in Washington, D.C., with a discussion on "Trade and Aid Reform" at the Paul Greenberg House of Syracuse University, 2301 Calvert St. NW. The program is free and open to public, but only a few spaces remain; attendees must RSVP to katharine.meyer@virginia.edu or 434-982-6761. The program is co-sponsored with the Moynihan European Research Centers at Syracuse University.

The Monday session, subtitled "Best Practices for NGO Advocates," will include three Washington professionals who have direct experience with non-governmental organizations and pressing international issues: Timothy Rieser, staff director of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations; Michele de Nevers, visiting senior program associate at the Center for Global Development; and Linda Delgado, director of government affairs for Oxfam America. Moderating the roundtable discussion will be Gerry Warburg, assistant dean for external affairs at the Batten School and professor of public policy, who is a veteran of Washington congressional and lobbying circles.

Earlier in the day, students will tour Capitol Hill and meet with representatives from InterAction, an alliance of U.S.-based international non-governmental organizations, as well as the Center for Global Development, a think tank aimed reducing global poverty and inequality through rigorous research and advocacy.

Mahoney spoke Tuesday on "Advocacy in the Age of Globalization, Internationalization and New Social Media." Warburg also spoke Tuesday, on "Advocating on Global Issues on K Street."

Other speakers include Kathryn Sikkink, Regents Professor and the McKnight Presidential Chairman in Political Science at the University of Minnesota; Frank R. Baumgartner, Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Jan Beyers, professor of political science and the director of the Research Group on European and International Politics at the University of Antwerp, Belgium; and Jutta Joachim, associate professor with the Institute of Political Science at Leibniz University in Hanover, Germany.

— by Carl Briggs

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