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W&L’s Bidlack Presents Nobel Prize Symposium Talk Professor Richard Bidlack will discuss the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize on Wednesday, Feb. 1.

KRR_9033-scaled-512x400 W&L’s Bidlack Presents Nobel Prize Symposium TalkRichard Bidlack

Richard Bidlack, the Martin and Brooke Stein Professor of History at Washington and Lee University, will present on the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organization Memorial, and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties (CCL). The talk will be held on Feb. 1 at 12:15 p.m. in the Harte Center, room 128, located in Leyburn Library.

“The Nobel Peace Prize committee issued a clear call for defense of human rights and promotion of democracy in awarding the Prize to two non-profit organizations and one individual in three countries,” Bidlack said. “They have worked tirelessly to document war crimes, violations of human rights, and abuse of power at the highest levels.”

Bialiatski has worked to promote democracy and protect human rights in Belarus since the 1980s and is the founder of Viasna, an organization that was originally founded to provide support for incarcerated demonstrators and their families and has evolved into a human rights organization that documents authorities’ abuses against political prisoners.

Memorial was founded in the former Soviet Union in 1987 to document the victims of crimes committed during the Stalinist era. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the organization began focusing on human rights violations in Russia. Russian authorities forcibly dissolved the organization after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the spring of 2022.

The Center for Civil Liberties was founded in 2007 in Kyiv, Ukraine, and dedicated itself to helping Ukraine develop into a full democracy. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the CCL has concentrated its efforts on documenting Russian war crimes against Ukraine’s civilians and the forced relocation of civilians from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia.

Together, the recipients represent the significance of civil society for peace and democracy, having for many years promoted the right to criticize power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens. Wednesday’s event is free to the public, with time for questions and conversation following Bidlack’s talk.

“Several members of our university community are from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, and Lexington is supporting several Ukrainian refugee families, so I look forward to an engaging and stimulating conversation following my prepared remarks,” Bidlack said.

Learn more about the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize recipients here.