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Latin American activists gather for University of Oklahoma symposium

A symposium designed to give Latin American activists an opportunity to learn from each other's successes and failures wrapped up Wednesday. The symposium also exposed OU students to actual activists working for social change, rather than faculty members discussing those changes
by Silas Allen Modified: April 3, 2013 at 9:54 pm •  Published: April 4, 2013
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“The OU community is lucky to have people working in the trenches of social change throughout Latin America report to us what they have achieved and what challenges they face,” McPherson said.

Waissbluth said the symposium is a good opportunity for him to share his organization's successes and strategies with fellow activists from other Latin American nations. Likewise, he learns from the experiences of other activists, he said.

Raquel Yrigoyen, an indigenous rights advocate in Peru, said she hopes the symposium left students with a better understanding of social issues in Latin America.

She said she also hoped to help students understand that it's important to pay attention to those issues after they graduate and go to work for companies, government agencies or other entities.

Yrigoyen works to protect the rights of indigenous groups in Peru. She said she hopes she left students with an understanding of the importance of policies that respect human rights, both in their own countries and abroad.

“It's necessary to create a consensus that every business must respect human rights,” she said. “There is no progress when things are destroyed and the rights of others are destroyed.”

by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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