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International Bridges for Justice founder Karen Tse to present University Lecture March 22

March 10, 2011

Kelly Homan Rodoski
(315) 443-3784

Karen Tse, an award-winning human rights defender and founder of International Bridges for Justice (IBJ), will speak about her work to champion human rights around the world in the next University Lecture at Syracuse University on Tuesday, March 22.

tseTse’s presentation, “Transformation and Liberation: Rising Up From Fear to Hope,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel. The lecture, sponsored in cooperation with the College of Law and the School of Education, is free and open to the public; reduced-rate parking is available in the Irving Avenue parking garage. CART and sign language interpretation will be offered during the presentation.

A former public defender, Tse first developed her interest in the intersection of criminal law and human rights as a Thomas J. Watson fellow in 1986 after observing Southeast Asian refugees detained in a local prison without trial. She later moved to Cambodia in 1994 to train the country’s first core group of public defenders, and subsequently served as a United Nations Judicial Mentor. Under the auspices of the UN, she trained judges and prosecutors and established the first arraignment court in Cambodia.

Tse founded IBJ in 2000 to promote systemic global change in the administration of criminal justice. As director, she provides the vision and direction for IBJ, and is a leader in the global criminal defense movement. She has since negotiated and implemented groundbreaking measures in judicial reform with the Chinese, Vietnamese and Cambodian governments. Under her leadership, IBJ has expanded its programming to Rwanda, Burundi and Zimbabwe and is now working to create a Global Defender Support Program that will bring IBJ assistance to public defenders worldwide.

Tse is a graduate of UCLA Law School and Harvard Divinity School. She is the recipient of numerous awards and was named by the U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders. In 2008, Tse received the American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation International Human Rights Award, which annually recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the cause of human rights, rule of law and access to justice.

The Office of University Lectures welcomes suggestions for future speakers. To recommend a speaker, or to obtain additional information about The University Lectures, contact Esther Gray in the Office of Academic Affairs at 443-2941 or More information can be found on Facebook at

The final scheduled presentation for the spring semester is Maude Barlow, co-founder of the Blue Planet Project and chair of the Food and Water Watch (April 5).

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