Najarian Lecture on Human Rights to Address ‘Truth to Action’ on Media Freedom, Human Rights


Panel to Feature Mayor Walsh, Kurkjian and Suarez, among Others


Head shot seriousBOSTON — The 2014 Najarian Endowed Lecture on Human Rights at Faneuil Hall will be held on Thursday, October 23, at 7:30 p.m. This year’s topic is “Truth to Action: Media Freedom, Protecting Human Rights Globally.”

A reception follows to continue the discussion with the speakers, lecture leadership and participating organizations.

Free and open to the public, the annual lecture, endowed by K. George and Carolann S. Najarian, MD, is a public program of the Armenian Heritage Foundation, sponsor of Armenian Heritage Park on Boston’s Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.

This year’s lecture addresses the critical importance of freedom of the press in upholding Human Rights across the world. The focus is both about the journalists who cover the host of issues affecting human rights as well as the challenges inherent in that effort and in many instances the journalists’ safety and security. Whether on the local or international level, it is reporters who protect and preserve human rights by exposing corruption, abuses to public safety, health, the environment and championing the well-being of women, children and the disadvantaged. “Everyone has the right to seek, receive and impart ideas without fear and interference,” states Amnesty International. “Yet throughout the world, journalists, bloggers and others face harassment and imprisonment for exercising their right to free speech…Freedom of expression is essential to the attainment of all other rights…and is closely linked to the right to hold opinions and the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion…”

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Honorary Chair Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston will offer opening remarks followed by award-winning journalists who will each speak from their own perspectives.

Advocacy Director for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPS), Courtney Radsch, PhD will report on the work and challenges of the organization to protect journalists worldwide citing stats, incidents and research, emphasizing the lack of protection for journalists. Radsch has had more than 13 years of experience as a journalist in the United States and Middle East. She joined CPJ in 2014 after working for UNESCO’s Section for Freedom of Expression, and before that as senior program manager for the Global Freedom of Expression Campaign at Freedom House. She writes and speaks frequently about the intersection of media, technology, and human rights.

Award-winning veteran journalist Ray Suarez, Host of Inside Story, the daily program on Al Jazeera America and America Abroad on Public Radio International will speak from his perspective as the “daily deadline reporter – one who each day quickly marshals as many facts and aspects to the story as it breaks and then crafts a narrative that would help the public understand what I’ve learned”. Suarez came from PBS’ NewsHour, where he worked from 1999 to 2013, most recently as its chief national correspondent. He also served as the lead correspondent for the program’s global health coverage, reporting on some of the world’s most threatening health crises from Africa, Latin America and Asia. Suarez is the author of the critically-acclaimed Latino Americans, the companion book to the PBS documentary series of the same name, published in September 2013. He also is the author of The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America and The Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration.

Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Stephen Kurkjian, founding member and former chief, Investigative Spotlight Team of The Boston Globe and editor of its Washington Bureau will speak from his perspective as a local investigative journalist and former Washington Bureau Chief. He will focus “on the ever-essential need for determined reporting to expose systemic abuses and inequities that deny the public equal access to government services.”

A Boston native, Kurkjian spent nearly 40 years as an editor and reporter for The Boston Globe before retiring in 2007. During his career, he shared in three Pulitzer Prizes and won more than 20 regional and national reporting awards. He was named chief of The Globe’s Washington Bureau and for six years oversaw the work of the paper’s 10 reporters in Washington. Retired, he teaches as an adjunct professor at Northeastern University’s School of Journalism and Boston College’s Woods College for Advancing Studies.

Award-winning journalist and editor Thomas Mucha, editor of the web-based GlobalPost, will speak to the importance of international reporting with diminished foreign coverage of American media “taking people to far flung places around the globe most will never visit but where events are shaping our lives. As Editor of GlobalPost, Mucha oversees GlobalPost’s editorial operations. has grown into one of the leading news sites in the world, attracting more than 7 million visitors per month from more than 200 countries and territories with its outstanding daily reporting and video coverage of global economics, business, politics, conflict and other topics.

Among the participating organizations and their leadership are: Boston University College of Communication -Thomas Fiedler, Dean College of Communication and Professor of the Practice in Journalism; Emerson College – Jerry Lanson, Associate Chair of Journalism and Associate Professor; New England Center for Investigative Journalism – Jenifer McKim, Assistant Managing Editor and Senior Investigative Reporter; Clara Germani, Investigations Editor and Beth Daley, Investigative Reporter/Director of Partnerships; Northeastern University School of Journalism – Dan Kennedy, Acting Director and Associate Professor and WGBH – Phillip Martin, Senior Investigative Reporter

The intent of the Najarian Lecture on Human Rights at Faneuil Hall is to advance understanding of human rights issues and societal abuses worldwide, and to increase awareness of the work of individuals and organizations so that we are all more actively engaged. The annual lecture has been inspired by the New England women and men-intellectuals, politicians, diplomats, religious leaders and citizens-who from 1895-1918 at Faneuil Hall heard the eyewitness accounts of the atrocities taking place against the Armenian minority of the Ottoman Empire and spoke passionately about the urgent need for intervention. Distinguished Bostonians, among them Julia Ward Howe, Clara Barton, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Alice Stone Blackwell, heard these accounts and were moved to assist the Armenians. Philanthropists nationwide raised over $100 million. The American Red Cross launched its first international mission with Clara Barton bringing aid to the Armenians — America’s first international human rights movement. Just as these brave and noble witnesses gave voice to those in crisis and mobilized the gathering of Bostonians at Faneuil Hall sparking a nationwide response, it is our hope that this lecture will serve to refocus our attention, not only on past events, but upon the critical human rights issues of today, inspiring us to meaningful action.

“This endowed lecture on human rights is in my father’s honor as he taught so many about the need to pay attention, spot injustice and speak out wherever and whenever it occurs,” Carolann S. Najarian said.

Lecture Co-Chairs are Martha F. Davis, PhD, Faculty Director, Northeastern School of Law, Human Rights and the Global Economy; Michael A. Grodin, MD, Executive Director, Global Lawyers and Physicians Working Together for Human Rights, Boston University School of Public Health; David Hollenbach, SJ, Director. Boston College Center for Human Rights and International Justice; Shant Mardirossian, Chairman of the Board, Near East Foundation; Deborah W. Nutter, PhD, Senior Associate Dean, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University; Balakrishnan Rajagopal, PhD, Director, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Human Rights and Justice; and Joshua Rubenstein, Advocate and scholar

Serving on the Lecture Planning Committee are Carolann Najarian, MD, George Najarian, Joyce Barsam, PhD, Phyllis Dohanian, Linda Kaboolian, PhD, Audrey Kalajian and Barbara Tellalian in collaboration with Stephen Kurkjian and Friends of Armenian Heritage Park. For further information, visit or email


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