2015 International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies conference

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The 2015 International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies conference was the 66th annual meeting for the Washington D.C.-based group of human rights professionals. It was held from September 27-October 1, 2015 at the Sheraton Birmingham.

The event, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act, highlighted the Civil Rights Movement history in Birmingham and Alabama. Attendees were invited to tour Civil Rights sites in Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery during the conference. James Stowe of Montgomery County, Maryland headed the conference committee.

Keynote speaker U. W. Clemon was presented with an "Individual Achievement Award" by the group during the conference. Other speakers included Andre Anderson, interim Chief of Police for Ferguson, Missouri; David Arnot, Chief Commissioner for the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission; Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU's Human Rights Program; Alvin Gillard, Executive Director, Maryland Commission on Civil Rights; Bryan Greene and Gustavo Velasquez of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development; Thomas Battles, Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service; and Birmingham mayor William Bell.

In addition to presentations on the history of civil rights and voting rights in the United States, the program of speakers and plenary sessions covered numerous current topics such as community/police relations, international treaties, and fair housing.


  • Sunday, September 27: Registration, regional meetings and opening reception
  • Monday, September 28: Opening session with welcome from Mayor William Bell and keynote, "Why We Marched" by Judge U. W. Clemon
Plenary sessions
Luncheon with speaker C. T. Vivian and President's awards
Corporate business meeting
Tour of Birmingham led by Barry McNealy and Patricia Delaine
Dinner at the Florentine Building
  • Tuesday, September 29: Tour of Selma and Montgomery
  • Wednesday, September 30: Morning plenary sessions
IAOHRA Awards Luncheon with speaker Odessa Woolfolk
Afternoon plenary sessions
Evening plenary sessions
Sing along with the Carlton Reese Memorial Unity Choir
Presentation on the 1963 church bombing by Doug Jones
  • Thursday, October 1: Introduction of new board members


  • Stein, Kelsey (September 28, 2015) "Human rights professionals visit Birmingham: Using civil rights past to spur progress." The Birmingham News

External links