International community to discuss HIV/AIDS at NU

Laura Schocker

Northwestern will host students, professionals and scholars from around the world this spring at its second annual Conference on Human Rights.

The conference, “U.S. Policy Toward AIDS in the Developing World,” will run from April 28 to 30 and will include panels and speakers on subjects related to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Topics will include international drug patent laws, gender roles and the media’s portrayal of AIDS. All presentations are free and open to the public.

Michael Chanin, the conference’s chairman, said both students and policy makers should be included in the dialogue.

“It’s really important for undergrads to realize they can make an impact on campus and on human rights issues,” said Chanin, a Weinberg junior. “This type of interdisciplinary interaction is what drives the conference.”

The conference is a student endeavor organized through the offices of the American Studies Program. The organizers sorted through about 140 online applications to select 50 student delegates who will meet with speakers and participate in discussions about the issues, Chanin said.

Students from 36 schools submitted applications, which required a resume, transcript and a 750-word essay.

The conference features two speakers this year — Dr. Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of the Nobel Prize winning organization Doctors Without Borders and Stephen Lewis, UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. An additional five panels will discuss specific HIV/AIDS issues.

“The group spent a good part of the summer and first quarter researching and getting the best possible speakers,” Chanin said.

Chanin said he hopes the effects of the dialogue will outlive the conference itself.

“The core purpose is to bring these students together and then allow them to then increase HIV/AIDS awareness on their own campuses,” he said.

More information is at the conference Web site,

Reach Laura Schocker at [email protected].