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Dear all,

April 4, 2011

Hi. Thanks for visiting this blog, which my team and I hope will be the foundation of our “Cyber Ambassadors” program connecting French and American people via the net.

I am very pleased that Sarah Cleveland of the U.S. Department of State and Columbia University, as well as Vincent Berger of the European Court of Human  Rights and Géraldine Grenet of E-maginons spoke to so many high school and university students on Monday. They addressed several human rights-related issues and answered many questions from the students. I certainly learned many things during the “Town Hall” session and hope we can share impressions of that session as we have our own “Cyber Town Hall” via this blog.

This blog contains two key elements:

The first is you – anyone with access to a computer and the net can participate. You can write in French or English.

The second is my team and me. We will respond to your questions, comments, and who knows, perhaps some complaints. I’ll usually write in English to ensure clarity. We also hope to have “guest bloggers” to participate in the future.

Again, thanks very much and here are my first two questions:

1. For those who attended the “Town Hall” on Monday, what did you think?

2. What can the U.S.A do better regarding human rights?

Thanks again for visiting and let’s go and connect France and America!

Vincent Carver, U.S. Consul General, Strasbourg

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Miguel permalink
    April 5, 2011 8:27 pm

    I’m a student from the Lycée International des Pontonniers in Strasbourg and I attended the debate on Monday 4th . I consider myself to have strong ideologies concerning the theme of human rights and therefore felt the need to share my opinion on the debate itself.

    Quite frankly, I was dissapointed. Mrs.Cleveland, I imagine, answered all of the questions within the limits of her capacity but the time that was given to her was insufficient to develop the discussed points. I also felt a reluctancy to answer anything deriving from a political point of view. To me, the human rights debate is mainly human and philosophical and I was expecting there to be a sensible consideration of the concepts like killing for ‘the greater good’ (I assume that the death penalty and wars classify) or an exploration of the limits of human rights (for example the instauration of democracy by a foreign country constituting both the gift of freedom and an imposure).

    If I were to speculate even further, I would imagine that Mrs.Cleveland didn’t give an very objective view of the situations that were discussed (I’m thinking of Wikileaks where she strictly condemned the revelation of the information in question). I assume she was attempting to represent the government of the US and answering the way it would. This was the most interesting element of the debate, for me, since it gave us insight on the opinion that the American power has ; however I see limits to representing a point of view that is not perfectly your own. For instance she wasn’t able to reconsider complex issues that the US authorities aren’t unanimous about.

    Overall I would have wished for a much longer and personal debate and did not leave the conference knowing much more than when I entered it.

    Concerning the second question, I am no politician and know very little on the extent of the power the US has over human rights over the world and within it’s states. I consider any important movement concerning such an important issue as human rights to be of global scale and one country can do little about it in my opinion. However if I were to give advice to this government that I know so little about, I would recommend starting a movement to federalise more power and progressively make obsolete the concept of states. From my point of view, states represent barriers between people, divisions that cause inequalities and rivalities in a country that has such a rich and welcoming national culture.

    I asked some of my friends about what they thought of the conference (the first part of my comment) and the majority agreed with me. You can consider it somewhat representative of my International High School.

    I hope I answered to your questions clearly.

  2. Staub permalink
    April 5, 2011 8:33 pm

    Hi everyone,
    I’m not sure if it’s the right place to put my comment, but I actually didn’t find any other way to do it.
    I attended the ” Town Hall” yesterday and I have to say it was fascinating. I wasn’t expecting that kind of debate. It was dynamic and we have touched on many subjects.
    Nevertheless, it would have been interesting to hear Mr. Berger’s and Mrs. Grenet’s points of view.
    I hope I’ll have the pleasure to participate to more debates such as yesterday’s one in the future.
    Thank you,

    Best Regards,
    Julie, Terminale Student in Strasbourg

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