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British Human Rights Activist and Journalist Inaugurates Joseph S. Iseman Memorial Lecture at Bennington Commencement

May 23, 2008

British journalist, human rights advocate, and director of several international non-government organizations (NGOs), Rebecca Tinsley will inaugurate Bennington College’s newly established Joseph S. Iseman Memorial Lectureship at the College’s 73rd commencement dinner on Friday, May 30, 2008 at 7:00 pm.

Tinsley has documented and published a breadth of work concerning the vast human right violations that have plagued Africa for decades. She has appeared on the BBC London, and has covered major international stories for The Telegraph, The Times, The Independent, and the New Statesman, among several other outlets. She has tirelessly broadcast the atrocities suffered by victims of genocide and human rights violations that have besieged regions throughout Africa.

In an effort to further human and women’s rights and to end genocide, Tinsley has established the Carter Center UK, following a personal request from Mrs. and former President Carter. She directs the UK-based NGO Waging Peace and has held several influential posts as a member of the London committee of Human Rights Watch. She has worked with the Bosnian Support fund, and more recently established The Rwanda Girls School—a boarding school for poor and orphaned girls in Rwanda that prepares them for a University education.

The Joseph S. Iseman Memorial Lecturer honors the longtime Bennington trustee (1969–1981) and former acting president, Joseph S. Iseman who believed that education could and should play a major part on the world’s stage. The lecture series, established in 2007 in his memory, seeks to bring national and international figures to Bennington who have devoted their lives to addressing the most pressing issues of our time.

More about Joseph S. Iseman, former trustee and acting president

Having joined Bennington College's board of trustees in 1969, Joseph S. Iseman memorably served as acting president of Bennington College in January 1976. While he declined to be considered for a permanent appointment, he aided the College through a difficult transition and delivered the 1976 commencement speech in Latin without notes.

A founding board member of the Academy of Education Development, Iseman had a distinguished legal career with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison for more than 60 years. As a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, he taught at such institutions as the College of William and Mary in Virginia and Fisk University in Tennessee. Additionally, iseman helped to establish New York City's first educational television channel, WNET/Thirteen, early in his career.

Born in New York City, Iseman graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1937 and received his law degree from Yale in 1941. He was a member of the bar in New York and Paris and was licensed as a Conseil Juridque in France. He passed away on April 25, 2006.

more about Rebecca Tinsley

To read more about Rebecca Tinsley's human rights work.