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People across the world can record and photograph every moment of their lives on their smartphones. When tragedy strikes, such as war or a government crackdown, citizens and journalists alike are now able to document these events in real time.
From the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s to the ongoing war in Ukraine, visual media have exposed apparent war crimes and severe human rights abuses. Photography and video can show how, when, and where atrocities took place, forcing acknowledgement of what happened and increasing the chances that perpetrators will be held responsible.
As media and photography have evolved over the past three decades, how has their role in exposing abuses changed? How does the ubiquitous nature of smartphones affect documentation of conflicts and government crackdowns? What are the ethical considerations? Join Perry World House for this event, part of our Global Lens cultural programming, on how visual media can help expose atrocities.
Gary Knight is the CEO of The VII Foundation and co-founder of the VII Photo Agency. Knight was a photojournalist between 1988 and 2017 and a former Newsweek Magazine photographer who covered the wars in Cambodia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, among others. Twice chair of the World Press Photo Award, and President of the Prix Bayeux Correspondents de Guerre, he was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 2009 and a Logan Non–Fiction Fellow at the Carey Institute in 2017. Knight founded and ran the Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice at Tufts University between 2011 and 2018.
Dalila Mujagic leads international justice and accountability work at the global nonprofit organization WITNESS. She also teaches law and evidence at the Global Campus for Human Rights. With over fifteen years of international experience in human rights advocacy, research, and law, Mujagic specializes in the use of emerging technologies for case-building and strategic litigation with a focus on visual evidence, open source investigations, and synthetic media. Her current work is dedicated to training and advising lawyers, prosecutors, and civil society organizations who seek to use visual documentation to prove atrocity crimes committed in Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, and Myanmar.
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein is the Perry World House Professor of Practice of Law and Human Rights at the University of Pennsylvania. He served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2014 to 2018. He was awarded the Stockholm Prize for human rights in 2015 and the Tulip Prize in 2018. He is currently the President and CEO of the International Peace Institute and Perry World House Professor of the Practice of Law and Human Rights at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2019, Al Hussein was appointed a member of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working for peace, justice, and human rights, founded by Nelson Mandela. He served twice as Jordan’s ambassador to the United Nations (in New York) and once as Jordan’s ambassador to the United States. In January 2014, he served as president of the UN Security Council and earlier, in 2002, was elected the first president of the governing body of the International Criminal Court (ICC) -- guiding the court's growth in its first three years from 2002 to 2005. He also represented Jordan twice before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). From 1994 to 1996, he served as a UN civilian peacekeeper with UNPROFOR. Al Hussein holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Cambridge.
Biz Herman is a postdoctoral fellow in the Borders and Boundaries Project at Perry World House. Her research examines how experiencing violence in the context of conflict and forced migration shapes social cohesion and prospects for sustainable peace. Her research has been supported by the Fulbright US Student Program, the UC Institute on Global Conflict & Cooperation, the Simpson Memorial Research Fellowship, the Malini Chowdhury Fellowship, and the Georg Eckert Institute. Herman received her BA from Tufts University and will receive her PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. She was a visiting scholar at The New School for Social Research’s Trauma and Global Mental Health Lab and a predoctoral research fellow with the Human Trafficking Vulnerability Lab. In addition to her academic work, Biz is an Emmy-nominated visual journalist.