The month of July has been busy for 22 GEO Study Abroad students in Rosario, Argentina. The program consists of two cohorts, one from the UO School of Journalism and Communications and the other focuses on human rights and social justice issues.
Last week students went to Montevideo, Uruguay to meet with former President José “Pepe” Mujica in the national legislative palace to discuss politics, environmental rights, and social justice issues.
Students donned professional attire and walked through the streets of the capital to the imposing congressional building for the nearly 2 hour meeting with President Mujica in one of the Senate’s meeting rooms.
Students also received a first-hand experience of freedom of speech issues that exists in many countries around the world. On July 4th the local newspaper, Tiempo Argentino, was ransacked. Archives were taken and Internet and phone lines were cut. Owner, Javier Matías Borelli, explained to the students that this was an “attempt to stifle our freedom of speech” by destroying the ability to publish.
It was quite a reality that students had to face as they realized their own human rights are also vulnerable. Program leaders, Will Johnson and Peter Laufer, hope that students will be prepared to fight for human rights as they move on to their professional careers.
The two cohorts continue to work very well together as media and social justice issues collide in many aspects of the program.
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