North Central College - Naperville, IL

Human rights expert-advocate to give talk Oct. 13 at North Central College

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Alexander Wilde
Alexander Wilde

North Central College welcomes human rights advocate Alexander Wilde, a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., to its campus Oct. 13 for a free lecture on human rights.

Wilde will present “Religious Wellsprings of Human Rights: Latin America” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, in the College’s theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth St., Naperville.

His talk will focus on the emergence of a human rights movement in Latin America and the important ways it was shaped by religion and the churches, both there and in the United States. This event also kicks off North Central College’s yearlong, campuswide focus on global human rights.

Wilde has been directly involved in the international movement for human rights as advocate, foundation official and scholar. He was executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), an independent nongovernmental organization concerned with human rights and U.S. foreign policy, from 1987 to 1993, and later served as chair of its board of directors.

From 1993 to 1999 he headed the Ford Foundation office for the Andes and Southern Cone, based in Santiago, Chile, with direct responsibility for its programs on human rights and historical memory. As a vice president of the Ford Foundation, New York, from 2000 to 2004, he played a role in its support for the International Center for Transitional Justice, the Coalition for International Site Museums of Conscience, and documentary films on human rights, such as “State of Fear” and “The Reckoning.”

For more than 10 years, Wilde lived in Chile, and since 2006 has been a Fellow at the Center for Ethics at the Jesuit Alberto Hurtado University, where he’s conducted research on human rights and politics.

After graduating with a bachelor of arts degree from Lawrence University in 1962, Wilde studied politics, philosophy and economics on a Marshall Scholarship at Keble College at the University of Oxford, U.K., and earned his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University. He has taught at the universities of Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Georgetown, George Washington and Haverford College and is the Stephen Edward Scarff Memorial Distinguished Visiting Professor at Lawrence, where he’s teaching this fall in the government department.

Each academic year, North Central College and the Office of International Programs focus on an issue of global significance and host speakers, films and panel discussions that address the issue. This year’s focus is global human rights, especially related to the region of Latin America—Wilde’s area of expertise. Alexander Wilde is also a brother of North Central College President Harold R. Wilde.

This lecture is among many ongoing programs at North Central College to enrich and broaden the cultural and academic outlook for the College and community. North Central offers a variety of venues accommodating a rich range of local and world-class events, performances and space needs for the public. For a comprehensive schedule of musical performances, theatrical and dance productions, art exhibits and lectures, visit or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).