2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). On Wednesday, July 26th, Oxford, England became the setting for conversation about the “Foundations and Founding Figures of Human Dignity”; namely, those who played pivotal roles in the formation of the UDHR. These conversations between lecturers, fellows, professors, and researchers from throughout the world set the foundation for a Special Issue of The Review of Faith & International Affairs, slated for publication in the upcoming year.
“Our hope is that, in our political era, human dignity might be able to serve the same unifying, foundational, bridge-building, conversation-starting role that it did back in 1947 as the UDHR was being drafted,” said Brett Scharffs, Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies.
Participants of this workshop shed light on different themes from the UDHR’s formation with continued relevance today. Dicky Sofjan, Core Doctoral Faculty in the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies, commented on how the council behind the UDHR could have been more inclusive, considering the voices of minority opinions with more reverence. Peter Petkoff, Senior Law Lecturer at the Brunel Law School, noted that the debate preceding the final version of the UDHR was more contentious than what is typically perceived.
An integral contributor to this workshop’s productivity was the diverse perspectives voiced by attendees, coupled with the contrasting viewpoints attributed to the “founding fathers of human dignity”. The forthcoming Special Issue of The Review of Faith & International Affairs is expected to be published and made available later this year.