Star-Studded Performance to Kick-Off Human Rights Conference at SHU

News Story:

SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER, a global human rights initiative, promotes a more just and peaceful world by galvanizing public support for international human rights through cultural, educational, and web-based programs, was founded by Kerry Kennedy and Nan Richardson is a core program of The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial. The conference, performance and exhibit opening at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., brings people face-to-face with courageous international human rights heroes and the challenges they face around the globe.

A gala performance of the play Speak Truth to Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark by Ariel Dorfman, based on the book by Kerry Kennedy, directed by Terry Kinney and starring Carolyn Baeumler, Megan Byrne, Patrick Fitzgerald, Joel Garland, Lois Markle, Ellen McLaughlin, Gloria Reuben, Martin Sheen, Danton Stone, and Waleed Zuaiter, opens at 6:30 PM in University Commons on June 10, 2008. The play celebrates human rights leaders from nearly forty countries and five continents.

To reserve a complimentary ticket to the June 10 performance, contact The Edgerton Center Box Office at 203-371-7908.

Schedule of events:

Performance: Tuesday, June 10 at 6:30 PM 
                     University Commons at Sacred Heart University

Photo Exhibit: June 8 - June 15; Hours are Monday – Thurs, 12 – 5, Sundays 12 – 4. 
                    Gallery of Contemporary Arts at Sacred Heart University

Conference (for media attendance only; not open to the public): Wednesday, June 11, 9:00 AM-3:00 PM

Additional information:
The performance is the kick-off event for a conference sponsored by the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) on “The Role of Catholic High Education on Teaching Catholic Social Justice Principles and the Intersection with International Human Rights Advocacy.” 

Featured defenders are Nobel Peace Prize laureate Bobby Muller and Sister Dianna Ortiz.

SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER is a multifaceted project that presents the inspiring stories of fifty-one women and men from over thirty-six countries around the world, who have stood up to oppression at great personal risk in the non-violent pursuit of human rights. The project explores the quality of courage through the issues that these human rights defenders have committed their lives to, from demilitarization to children of war, from environmental activism to religious self-determination, and provides a tool box for activism for the students and the public at large.

“These heroes are dramatically changing the course of events in their communities and countries, and their stories will inspire audiences who experienced the exhibit to do the same,” said Kerry Kennedy.

SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER began with the publication of a book of interviews by Ms. Kennedy, with photographs by Eddie Adams, edited by Nan Richardson (Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World, published byUmbrage Editions www.umbragebooks.com),and the launch of www.SpeakTruthToPower.org, an activism web site that provides human rights action alerts and information on all fifty-one defenders featured in the project.

In addition to the book, the website, the play, and three traveling exhibitions, the SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER project also includes a PBS documentary, five public service announcements and a 64-page educational curriculum distributed free by Amnesty International to 10,000 high schools and universities.

The play premiered in 2000 at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington D.C., hosted by President William Jefferson Clinton, with a cast that included Sigourney Weaver, Kevin Kline, John Malkovich, Alfre Woodard, Alec Baldwin, Rita Moreno, Giancarlo Esposito, and others. The exhibition launched at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and has toured to over twenty cities in the United States as well as internationally. SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER began its international tour in Greece followed by venues in London, Madrid, Barcelona, Sydney, Helsinki, Rome, Seoul, Florence, Mantua, Johannesburg, Capetown, and Doha. The project is directed by Kerry Kennedy and Nan Richardson and produced by Umbrage Editions, New York.

SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER is a program of The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial (www.rfkmemorial.org), an activist organization dedicated to Robert F. Kennedy’s vision of creating a more peaceful and just world. For almost 40 years the RFK Memorial has worked to advance the human rights movement through partnering with courageous grassroots defenders from around the world who have won the RFK Human Rights Award, some of whom are featured in Speak Truth to Power, and supporting exceptional authors and journalists whose work brings light to injustice through the RFK Book and Journalism Awards. The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial is a 501c3 charitable organization.

The International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) is an association of Catholic universities and Catholic institutions of higher education. It was approved by the Holy See in 1949 and recognized as a International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) by the United Nations. The mission of the Federation is to contribute to the progress of knowledge and its applications, and to the development of a more just and humane world in the light of reason and faith, and through the ferment of the Gospel.

Sponsors for these events include the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU), Sacred Heart University, Speak Truth to Power, Umbrage, and WSHU Public Radio.

For more information on SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER, please visit www.speaktruthtopower.org or call 212-796 2707 ext: 4#.