In February 2018, the Disasters, Displacement, and Human Rights (DDHR) program hosted its highly successful third biennial conference, Transitions: Crisis, Uncertainty, Opportunity. More than 150 students and faculty from UT and other universities, as well as practitioners and community members, participated in a wide range of panels, roundtables, workshops, and discussions.
Speakers included Fabio Lopez de la Roche of the National University of Colombia, Kim Tallbear of the University of Alberta, Canada, journalist Sarah Kendzior, and Irma Velasquez Nimatuj of the Guatemalan Mechanism de Apoyo a Pueblos Indigenas Oxlajuj Tzikin (Support Mechanism for Indigenous Peoples). The conference welcomed Native American tribal elders and leaders to discuss archaeology and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Conference topics ranged from the causes and consequences of climate change and natural disasters, to indigenous rights, refugees and immigrants, and the role of forensic science in transitional justice processes.
Lead faculty organizer Caela O’Connell received invaluable help from the steering committee, led by graduate students Christine Bailey, Krista Billingsley, and Martin Walker, and a host of student and alumni volunteers. The conference could not have happened without staff members Pam Bailey and Charlene Weaver, who scheduled guest travel and all the associated paperwork for this complex event. The next DDHR conference is scheduled for September 2019.