Cathy Mansfield has been engaged in archival research on the Holocaust over a number of years, and has composed a musical drama (The Sparks Fly Upward ) that chronicles the fate of three Berlin families during the Holocaust. Cathy’s lecture presentation will examine how a seemingly civilized society degenerated into genocide in a few short years and the difference that a single individual can make to the survival of another in the midst of genocide. The presentation features historical photographs of Berlin and Germany from the years before and during the Holocaust, a short film about a rescuer from the Holocaust and from Rwanda, and musical selections from The Sparks Fly Upward.
The Sparks Fly Upward is a musical drama that follows three German families in Berlin, two Jewish and one Christian, through the Holocaust, beginning in the autumn of 1938 with the events building up to Kristallnacht. Between 1938 and the end of the war in 1945, the families struggle to outlast Hitler. Throughout the story, the three families turn to the Book of Job for reassurance and enlightenment. The suffering of Job, and the contest between good and evil represented in his story, are reflected in the lives of the German Jewish community, and their non-Jewish neighbors, who face the immediate question of man’s obligation to man in times of moral and political crisis. The story is told completely through music and lyrics and was researched, written and composed Cathy Lesser Mansfield. The story is based on years of research in many Holocaust archives.
Michael Ratner is the President of the Center for Constitutional Rights  Board of Directors, Professor at Columbia Law School and author of Guantanamo: What the World Should Know . Michael has worked for decades, as a crusader for human rights both at home and abroad litigating many cases against international human rights violators resulting in millions of dollars in judgments for abuse victims and expanding the possibilities of international law. He acted as a principal counsel in the successful suit to close the camp for HIV-positive Haitian refugees on Guantanamo Base, Cuba. Over the years, he has litigated a dozen cases challenging a President’s authority to go to war, without congressional approval. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the Center has focused its efforts on the constitutionality of indefinite detention and the restrictions on civil liberties as defined by the unfolding terms of a permanent war.  Among his many honors are: Trial Lawyer of the Year from the Trial lawyers for Public Justice, The Columbia Law School Public Interest Law Foundation Award, and the North Star Community Frederick Douglass Award. Check out Michael’s blog Just Left. 
Chivy Sok, an advocate of international human rights, is dedicated to the advancement of peace and social justice. Currently, she is working on projects to advance understanding about child labor through public education and training.
Most recently Sok served as the Deputy Director of the UI Center for Human Rights (UICHR) and Project Director of the $1.2 million Child Labor Research Initiative (CLRI) at the University of Iowa. She was responsible for all CLRI project implementation and reporting to the U.S. Department of Labor. The CLRI was a three-year multi-faceted project that resulted in (1) construction of an internet database of national legislation related to child labor of 31 countries; (2) publication of an essay collection edited by Professor Burns Weston, an internationally renowned scholar of human rights; (3) development of a series of public education curricula on child labor; (4) course development and teaching of child labor for college students, and (5) workshops and training on child labor for K-12 teachers. Through her work, Sok also engaged local Iowa City youth activists to get involved in child labor issues. Sok continues to do consulting work for the UICHR.
Sok also co-taught a research seminar, “International Human Rights and Child Labor” (also with Professor Weston at the UI College of Law and an undergraduate course on child labor with Professor Rex Honey, UI Professor of Geography.
The Iowa City Human Rights Commission awarded Sok the International Human Rights Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Worldwide Community and the Council on International Visitors awarded herewith the “Citizen of the Year” in 2004.
Sok joined the UICHR after five years of working at Columbia University's Center for the Study of Human Rights where she was the program coordinator and later program director. Prior to joining the UICHR, she worked as a consultant to the Cambodian Association of Illinois that raised funds to build the first Killing Fields Memorial and Museum in the United States.
Sok earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Master of International Affairs (MIA) degree from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs with a special concentration in East Asia and human rights.
Jonathan Todres is an Associate Professor of Law at Georgia State University's College of Law. As a member of the core faculty of the Center for Law, Health & Society, he teaches Human Rights and Children, Public Health Law, International and Comparative Health Law, and Torts. His research focuses on children’s rights and health law issues.
Previously, Professor Todres served as Acting Assistant Professor at New York University School of Law and Adjunct Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. He also has been a Visiting Professor (Human Rights) at Vytautas Magnus University School of Law in Lithuania. Professor Todres also practiced law with Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York and London and clerked for the Honorable Rosemary Barkett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
Professor Todres serves as a regular advisor to non-governmental organizations working to combat commercial sexual exploitation of children. He also has held several leadership posts within the ABA Section of International Law, including Chair of the Section’s International Health Law Committee and Vice-Chair of its International Human Rights Committee. Professor Todres received his J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and his B.A. (with high honors in International Development) from Clark University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Prior to attending law school, he worked for a number of years in international health and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand.
Professor Todres is the co-editor of U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child: An Analysis of Treaty Provisions and Implications of U.S. Ratification (2006) and a number of articles on children’s rights and health law issues.
Thea Lee is Deputy Chief of Staff at the AFL-CIO. Previously, she worked as an international trade economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. and as an editor at Dollars & Sense magazine in Boston. She received a Bachelors degree from Smith College and a Masters degree in economics from the University of Michigan.
Ms. Lee is co-author of A Field Guide to the Global Economy, published by the New Press. Her research projects include reports on the North American Free Trade Agreement, on the impact of international trade on U.S. wage inequality, and on the domestic steel and textile industries.
She has appeared on numerous television and radio shows, including the News Hour with Jim Lehrer; CNN; Good Morning America; NPR’s All Things Considered and Marketplace; and the PBS documentary, Commanding Heights. She has testified before several committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate on various economic policy topics. She serves on several advisory committees, including the State Department Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy and the Export-Import Bank Advisory Committee. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Worker Rights Consortium and the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Professor Stephen Meili comes to the University of Minnesota Law School after 17 years at the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he directed the Consumer Law Clinic. As Director, he supervised the litigation of cases resulting in important federal and state court precedent in the areas of mandatory arbitration clauses, rent-to-own contracts, class certification, antitrust law, and ERISA. Through his work in the Consumer Clinic, Professor Meili became a leading authority on consumer law in Wisconsin. He wrote the chapter on consumer law in West's Wisconsin Practice Series Methods of Practice. He frequently testified before legislative committees and administrative agencies, and was consistently voted a "Top Lawyer" in the categories of consumer law and public interest law in Madison Magazine. He also served on advisory boards to state consumer protection agencies.
Professor Meili has published numerous articles and chapters in edited volumes on lawyers and the legal profession, civil procedure, comparative law, and consumer protection. His most recent publications include Of Course He Just Stood There: He's the Law': Two Depictions of Cause Lawyers in Post-Authoritarian Chile (2008); Consumer Cause Lawyers in the United States: Lawyers for the Movement or a Movement unto Themselves? (2006); and Cause Lawyering for Collective Justice: A Case Study of the amparo colectivo in Argentina (2005). He also wrote the chapter on comparative approaches to consumer protection law in Legal Systems of the World (2002). His current research projects include a study of lawyer and client attitudes towards class actions, and a comparative study of laws regulating so-called "south to south" immigration within Latin America.
Professor Meili has taught a variety of law school subjects, including Civil Procedure, Consumer Law, and Immigration Law. He also developed and was the lead teacher of Wisconsin's Pre-Trial Advocacy course, which trains students in a variety of lawyering skills.
After graduating from law school, Professor Meili held a fellowship at Georgetown Law School's Institute for Public Representation, where he supervised law students on litigation and legislative projects in the areas of consumer, environmental and immigration law. Prior to his academic career, he was a partner in a plaintiffs'-side employment law firm in Hartford, Connecticut.
David Vasquez has served as pastor of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Batesville, Ind., and St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in Spades, Ind., since 1996. He has also served as a youth minister at First Lutheran Church in Cincinnati; the coordinator of the Lutheran Refugee Committee at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in Ontario, Canada; a translator with the Latino Church History Project; and a campus ministry assistant and chapel curate at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas. Vasquez holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from Texas Lutheran and a master's degree in divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He received his doctorate in ministry through the Association of Chicago Theological Schools. He became an active member of a network of individuals and organization responding to the humanitarian crisis emergent from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Agriprocessors plant in Postville Iowa in 2008. He subsequently founded the Postville Archive at Luther College, to preserve the stories or those impacted by the raid, and is writing a book about narrative and theological responses to migration.
Karen Musalo is Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California-Hastings Karen Musalo has been at Hastings since 1997, following years of teaching, as well as lawyering in the non-profit world. She has written numerous articles on refugee law issues, with a focus on gender asylum, as well as religious persecution, and conscientious objection as bases for refugee status. Professor Karen Musalo directs the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, and the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic. She is lead co-author of Refugee Law and Policy: An International and Comparative Approach (3rd edition), and has contributed to the evolving jurisprudence of asylum law through her scholarship, as well as her litigation of landmark cases.
Professor Musalo was lead attorney in Matter of Kasinga (fear of female genital cutting as a basis of asylum), which continues to be cited as authority in gender asylum cases by tribunals from Canada to the United Kingdom to New Zealand. She was co-counsel in the Ninth Circuit en banc decision, Abebe v. Gonzales, and attorney of record in Canas-Segovia v. INS and Ramirez-Rivas v. INS. She represents Rody Alvarado, whose case is likely to determine whether women fleeing domestic violence may qualify for political asylum in the United States. Professor Musalo has been quoted extensively in the media, including The New York Times, Washington Post, The Nation and El Pais, and has been interviewed on other media, such as Nightline, CNN International, The Diane Rehm Show and Talk of the Nation. She was featured in the PBS Documentary, Breaking Free: A Woman's Story, which focuses on Rody Alvarado's case.
Professor Musalo is recognized for her innovative work on refugee issues. She was the first attorney to partner with psychologists in her representation of traumatized asylum seekers -- a practice that has since become standard -- and she edited the first handbook for practitioners on cross-cultural issues and the impact of culture on credibility in the asylum context. She has received numerous advocacy awards for her pioneering legal work, including The American Lawyer's 1997 recognition as one of the forty-five outstanding young public interest lawyers. Professor Musalo has is a frequent speaker at conferences and law schools in the United States, and has lectured in Europe and Latin America.
Mehrangiz Kar is an Iranian scholar, activist, writer and lawyer specializing in women's rights and family law. A colleague of 2003 Nobel peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, Kar is internationally renowned for her writings and activism in defense of women's and human rights. She is the recipient of several human rights awards, including the National Endowment for Democracy’s 2002 Democracy Award. Kar came to world-wide attention in 2000 when she was imprisoned for expressing critical views about Iran's legal system while at an international conference in Berlin. In January 2001 she was convicted and sentenced to four years' imprisonment on charges of acting against national security and disseminating propaganda against the Islamic regime. Kar was later released on bail and her sentence was reduced. Kar recently was a Scholars at Risk fellow at Harvard University and at Wellesley College’s Newhouse Center for the Humanities, and she is currently a Brookings Institution scholar.
Tom Athanasiou is a long-time left green, a former software engineer, a technology critic and, most recently, a climate justice activist. His interests have wandered from the nature and limits of artificial intelligence technology to, most recently, injustice as, in itself, a wellspring of ecological crisis. Tom is the author of Divided Planet: The Ecology of Rich and Poor and the co-author of Dead Heat: Global Justice and Global Warming. In the late 1990s, Tom began to focus on global climate justice. In 2000, with Paul Baer, he founded EcoEquity, an activist think tank focused on the development and promotion of fair and potentially viable approaches to emergency climate stabilization. This work has taken shape as the Greenhouse Development Rights Framework. Tom is now the director of EcoEquity. In his spare time, he is developing a new book, the working title of which is A New Deal for the Greenhouse Century.