The Africa Center Guest Speaker: Peter Van Arsdale, Ph.D.
Lory Student Center Grey Rock Room
The 'Tree of Rights': A Metaphor for Africa
Peter Van Arsdale, Director of Africa Initiatives at the University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies
My “Tree of Rights” serves as a metaphor. It offers a communitarian vision, illustrating the evolutionary nature of human rights in diverse cultural settings, as we wrestle with how best to help one another. The tree demonstrates that rights are continually growing and changing. Just as a tree is never static, neither are rights. The tree is meant to be universal, while not suggesting that all specific rights unfold in the same ways. Rights ideally must be evidentiary. This metaphor can be used in several ways, but particularly as an educational tool. The tree provides a baseline, a touchstone, for human rights analysts, service providers, and advocates. This talk will demonstrate how the tree was derived with the aid of Sudanese, and how it can be applied to the critical issues now confronting citizens of both Sudan and South Sudan.