Stanford News


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Human rights expert will return to Farm as alumni mentor

Christopher Avery will return to Stanford as an alumni visiting mentor at the Haas Center for Public Service later this month. He will meet with students during formal and informal gatherings from Monday, April 28, through Friday, May 2.

Avery served as a legal adviser and later as a senior manager of Amnesty International in London for a dozen years. He currently is working to found a new international organization that will encourage the business community to contribute to development and human rights.

Avery graduated from Stanford in 1974 with honors in history. As an undergraduate, he directed the Stanford Youth Program, a project that matched Stanford athletes with local middle school students. He said the project opened his eyes "to the real needs which exist even in affluent areas of Palo Alto, and I found how effective a grassroots community project can be when it addresses those needs in a practical way." Avery and the youth program's other co-directors expanded the project to universities across the country and ultimately helped create the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Volunteers for Youth program. The experience planted the seed for Avery's public service and human rights career.

Some of the planned forums scheduled during Avery's visit include a brown bag lunch with law students at noon Monday, April 28, in the Law School's Public Interest Community Center (basement level) and a talk titled "From Stanford to Cape Town: A Stanford Alum Speaks on His Human Rights Work," at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, in the Haas Center's Donald Kennedy Conference Room.

At noon Wednesday, April 30, in the Bechtel International Center, there will be a brown bag lunch titled "Not Business As Usual: How Corporations Are Making Extraordinary Contributions to Development and Human Rights in India, Thailand, South Africa and the Philippines." On Thursday, May 1, from 4 to 5 p.m., Avery will conduct a workshop on international internships and careers at the Haas Center's Donald Kennedy Conference Room.

The Alumni Visiting Mentor Program is jointly sponsored by the Stanford Alumni Association and the Haas Center. It brings experienced professionals in public and community service to campus for one week to meet and work with students, faculty and staff.

"I am envious of today's Stanford students who have access to the Haas Center for Public Service," said Avery, who holds a law degree from the University of California-Davis and an LLM from Columbia University. "When I was at Stanford, there were a number of disparate service organizations on campus, but no institution like the Haas Center and no visiting mentor program, that gives students the chance to talk with practitioners about the factors one should consider in deciding whether to choose a career in public service."

To set up a meeting with Avery or for more information about events that are scheduled, contact Jackie Schmidt-Posner or Debra Solomon at 723-9181.


By Elaine Ray