Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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The Human Rights Movement and the Helsinki Process: Conversation with 
    Gerald Nagler, Chair of the Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights; 4/30/02 
    by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Gerald Nagler, who is a cofounder and Secretary General of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, based in Vienna. He held that position from '82 to '92, and he is presently chair of the Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights.

  1. Background
  2. impact of wartime political situation ... businessman
  3. Human Rights Work
  4. a rabbi's request ... travel to the Soviet Union ... refuseniks and dissidents ... mobilizing elite opinion in the West ... dissident scientists' "kitchen seminars" ... bringing in religious items for Jewish dissidents ... network of committees ... importance of the Helsinki Accords ... courage of the dissidents and their families ... membership of the committees
  5. Lessons Learned
  6. individuals can make a difference ... the tradeoff of recognition of Soviet borders for recognition of human rights ... bring the teaspoon of water to put out the fire ... universalism vs. cultural relativity in human rights ... affect of 9/11 ... importance of travel and observation ... inspired by the courageous

Images on this page are from the video; archival images in this interview are courtesy of Gerald Nagler. See also the Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights website.


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