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December 13, 2016

Human Rights First Hosts Annual Human Rights Summit

Washington, D.C.—Today Human Rights First will convene its annual Human Rights Summit: American ideals. Universal values., at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.  The Summit, which comes as the presidential transition brings U.S. leadership on global crises and human rights to the forefront of the national conversation, will feature leaders from government, business, and the military to discuss today’s most pressing human rights problems and challenges for American leadership.

The Summit has become Washington’s premier celebration of Human Rights Day—a call to action for American leadership in defense of freedom and democracy, at home and around the world. Leaders from across the political spectrum will talk about their shared commitment to human rights, to highlight some of the most pressing issues of the day, and to discuss areas where the incoming Trump Administration and Congress can exert U.S. leadership to promote human rights at home and around the globe.

The Summit’s panel discussions and keynotes will cover a wide array of timely topics, including: the key national security challenges for the next administration; eradicating human trafficking from supply chains; and the U.S. role in meeting global challenges to democracy and human rights. The program will feature General Carter Ham, U.S. Army (Ret.), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), U.S. Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr., and General Charles C. Krulak, USMC (Ret.), among others.

During the Summit Human Rights First will award the 2016 Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty to anti-slavery activist Janvier Murairi Bakihanaye of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Murairi was selected for his work on behalf of vulnerable rural populations to combat contemporary forms of slavery in the mining sector in the DRC.

Today’s event will culminate with the organization’s presentation of the 2016 Beacon Prize, which is awarded annually to an individual or organization whose work embodies the best in the tradition of American leadership on human rights. This year’s recipient is Marilyn Carlson Nelson, former chairwoman and CEO of the global travel and hospitality company Carlson Inc., in recognition of her pioneering leadership in the fight to end modern slavery. Carlson Nelson is the first person from the corporate sector to be awarded this prestigious prize.

“For decades Marilyn has been a passionate outspoken advocate for those who are vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking, and a pioneer for corporate sector leadership in combating modern slavery,” said Human Rights First’s President and CEO Elisa Massimino. 

Watch the Summit live beginning at 12:30 p.m. here.

For more information or to RSVP for the event, contact Mary Elizabeth Margolis at margolisme@humanrightsfirst.org.