Latin’s Initiative for Ethics (LIFE) hosted a lunch forum on ethics and healthcare with two distinguished guests: Juliet Sorensen worked with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and currently is a professor of international law at Northwestern's Pritzker School of Law and teaches about human rights and healthcare; and Dr. Mardge Cohen is a former doctor at Cook County hospital and founder of its Women and Children HIV program, Medical Director of WE-ACTx, an international NGO that provides comprehensive HIV care in Rwanda and currently practices at Boston Healthcare for Homeless.
The upper school student panel, consisting of members of LIFE’s leadership group and previous Latin in Rwanda members, moderated the conversation.
Sorensen and Cohen have revolutionary roles in the world of medicine, healthcare, human rights, as well as Rwanda. Needless to say, depth of experience granted them many relevant stories to share with the audience, which were provoked by thoughtful questions from Latin students and faculty. It was inspiring to hear how passions for social justice and internationalism manifest in careers. They have been advocates for those who are silenced, and given help to those in need. The conversation concluded with a discussion of what students can do as high schoolers to aid individuals affected by human rights’ violations. It was a wonderful way to conclude LIFE’s 2018 year as it solidified our answer to our biggest question: healthcare is a human right. (Insights by Summer C. ’19, Nick D. ’19, Margo W. ’19 and Anastasiya V. ’18)
In addition to speaking at the LIFE forum, Sorensen visited the International Human Rights Law (IHRL) upper school classes. During those discussions, she offered insight into patterns of government and citizen behavior previous to the perpetration of genocide and crimes against humanity. She spoke of her experiences while working with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. One specific experience that Sorensen highlighted regarded her prosecution of a perpetrator of the Rwandan genocide—Jean-Marie Vianney Mudahinyuka (Zuzu). As Sorensen explained, Mudahinyuka was a genocidaire suspected of murder and rape who escaped to America posing as an individual seeking asylum. Sorensen also talked about the responsibility of the international community regarding lack of healthcare and intervening when human rights violations are committed. The conversation concluded with a discussion of what high schoolers can do to aid individuals affected by human rights’ violations. (Insights by Emma B. ’20 and Eriko D. ’20)
The IHRL students have been eagerly preparing for their ICC trial simulation that will take place next month with the help of human rights attorney and Latin alum, Adam Weber '91. A former prosecutor for the ICC Yugoslavia, Weber offered advice to the ICC pre-trial panel and the individual case teams.