Celebrating 70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Global to Local: Cities for Human Rights & Sustainable Development in Los Angeles and Around the World

For decades, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been heralded as one of the pillars of a global ethic and common conscience for humanity, helping sustain the morale of those subjected to injustices. On the declaration’s 70th anniversary Dec. 10, 2018, global dignitaries, activists and leaders convened at USC to take stock of achievements since 1948, but also to envision the future and set an agenda for the next 70 years.

Resource Kit

In the resource kit below learn more about how cities and local governments are spearheading the most critical human rights issues of our time, from achieving equity and inclusion for all people, to providing for basic needs and human dignity. Through videos, quotes, activities and essay topics, we invite you to explore discussions and calls to action from United Nations human rights trailblazers, mayors from around the world and USC leaders, as well as from actress Alyssa Milano, Jane the Virgin writer Rafael Augustín, Paralympian Candace Cable and YouTube star Gigi Gorgeous.

Teachers, student groups, advocacy organizations and thought leaders in all disciplines are encouraged to use the kit to help nurture new voices and ideas in human rights advocacy and support. These materials introduce the role the Universal Declaration of Human Rights plays in our communities and abroad and aims to inspire people to stand up for human rights by ensuring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights remains a living document for many years to come.

View the resource kit online »

Download: [Powerpoint] | [PDF]

Social media images & messaging

View messaging and additional sharable resources for your social media channels: https://standup4humanrights.org/en/social-media.html

Read more about the event »

See highlights:

Watch livestream:

Meet the speakers:

Welcome Remarks

Wanda Austin

Interim President, University of Southern California


Dr. Wanda M. Austin was appointed interim president of the University of Southern California on August 7, 2018 by the Board of Trustees. Austin is an American businesswoman who is internationally recognized for her work in aeronautics and systems engineering. She is co-founder of MakingSpace, Inc, a systems engineering and leadership development consultant and motivational speaker. She is the former president and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation, an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the application of science and technology toward critical issues affecting the nation’s space program. From January 2008 until October 2016, Austin led the organization’s 3600 employees and managed annual revenues of $950 million at 17 offices nationwide. As the sixth president, she was the first female and the first African American in the 57-year history of the organization. Austin served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology until January 2017, advising President Barack Obama in areas where an understanding of science, technology and innovation was key to forming effective U.S. policy. Austin is currently a member of the Defense Policy Board having previously served on the Defense Science Board and the NASA Advisory Council. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. She is an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Chevron Corp. and Amgen Inc. She has served on the USC Board of Trustees since 2010. In 2018, she received the USC Presidential Medallion. She graduated from The Bronx High School of Science, earned a B.A. in mathematics from Franklin & Marshall College, M.S. degrees in systems engineering and mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. in systems engineering from the University of Southern California.

Kate Gilmore

United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights


Kate Gilmore was appointed United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights on 1st December 2015. She brings to the position diverse and longstanding experience in strategic leadership and human rights advocacy with the United Nations, government and non-government organizations. Prior to joining OHCHR, Ms. Gilmore was Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director for Programmes with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Previously she was National Director of Amnesty International Australia and then Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International. Ms. Gilmore started her career as a social worker and government policy officer in Australia. She helped establish Australia’s first Centre Against Sexual Assault at Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital and her work over a number of years focused on prevention of violence against women. In Australia, she was granted honorary appointments to provincial and national public policy and law reform processes, including membership of the country’s first National Committee on Violence Against Women. Ms. Gilmore holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New England and postgraduate degrees in Social Work from the University of Melbourne and Community Development from RMIT.

Eric Garcetti

Mayor, City of Los Angeles


Eric Garcetti is a fourth-generation Angeleno and the 42nd Mayor of Los Angeles.
The Mayor’s government service began on the L.A. City Council, where he spent four terms as Council President before being elected Mayor in 2013 and winning re-election in 2017 by the widest margin in the history of Los Angeles. Garcetti was raised in the San Fernando Valley and earned his B.A. and M.A. from Columbia University. He studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and the London School of Economics and taught at Occidental College and USC. The Mayor and his wife, Amy Elaine Wakeland, have a young daughter. He is a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy reserve and is an avid jazz pianist and photographer.

Panel Discussion

Moderator: Elizabeth Cousens

Deputy Chief Executive Officer, United Nations Foundation


Elizabeth Cousens is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the UN Foundation. Before joining the UN Foundation, Elizabeth served as U.S. Ambassador to the UN Economic and Social Council and Alternate Representative to the UN General Assembly (2012-2014). She previously served as Principal Policy Advisor and Counselor to the permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, Susan Rice (2009-12). In this capacity, she was lead U.S. negotiator on the Post-2015 Development Goals. During her stint as ambassador, she led U.S. diplomacy at the UN on human rights, humanitarian, social and environmental issues; served on the boards of UN agencies, funds, and programmes, and was the U.S. representative to the UN Peacebuilding Commission. She was also Sherpa to Ambassador Rice for the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability. Cousens’ has lived around the world, serving with UN political mission in Nepal and the Middle East and working as an analyst in conflict zones, including Bosnia and Haiti. Her prior experience includes Director of Strategy for the HD Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue which promotes and conducts medication of armed conflict, Vice President of the International Peace Institute, where she led initiatives on global crisis management and UN reform, and Director of the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, a research group that provides country and regional expertise to the UN on conflict and crisis situations. Dr. Cousens has a D.Phil. in International Relations from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and a B.A. in history and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Puget Sound. She has written widely on conflict management, peace processes, state-building, and the United Nations. She and her husband, Bruce Jones, have one child.

Alyssa Milano

Actress and activist


Actress and Activist Alyssa Milano has been in the spotlight for most of her life. She chooses to shine that spotlight on causes that matter deeply to her. Her advancement of #MeToo sparked a viral movement of women fighting against sexual harassment and assault and she has been involved in TimesUp since its inception. She recently joined the ERA Coalition’s Advisory Council. In the wake of the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, Alyssa became one of the founders of NoRA, a coalition dedicated to combatting the NRA money in political campaigns so that common sense gun reform can be enacted. For 15 years, she has been a UNICEF National Ambassador. In 2016, she received their Spirit of Compassion Award for her dedication to their mission of advocating for the protection of children’s rights, helping meet their basic needs and expanding their opportunities to reach their full potential. She has lobbied members of congress for greater rights for immigrants as well as education reform and has been on the forefront of efforts to protect health coverage for all Americans. She continues to use her voice and platform to advocate for social justice, fairness and equality.

Candace CableCandace Cable

Professional Athlete/Paralympian/Olympian and advocate


Candace consults across the US and globally to promote and protect the human rights for people with disabilities by leading workshops and presentations on understanding disability as a life experience. She helps organizations, businesses, educators and students understand that they are missing out on huge creative and marketable opportunities if they don’t make their world more accessible to people with disabilities.She works with Open Doors Organization as a trainer in equable travel and tourism, she has written inclusive education material for UNCIEF, worked for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation a blogger, webcast host and UN advocate to the CRPD and SDG’s. Candace is a board member USICD, USOPA and SCOPA. Candace Cable is a nine-time Paralympian in both Winter and Summer sports of wheelchair racing, downhill and cross country ski racing she won 12 medals, including 8 gold medals. Candace was the first woman to win medals in both the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games in 1992. She has also won 84 marathons, including six Boston Marathons. She has worked with the State Department Speaker and Specialist program in Sport Diplomacy and was Director of Paralympic and Disability Engagement and Vice Chair for the successful bid LA2028 to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games to Los Angeles.

Gigi Gorgeous (Gigi Loren Lazzarato)

Activist, Author, Digital Creator


Gigi Gorgeous is a YouTube star, transgender activist, television personality, actress, model and LGBTQ icon. Gigi will next be adding “author” to her list of credentials with the release of her first book, “He Said, She Said: Lessons, Stories, and Mistakes from my Transgender Story” with Penguin Random House on April 2nd 2019. Born Gregory Lazzarato and raised outside Toronto, Canada, Gigi was a nationally ranked diving champion. In 2008, Gigi’s rise to stardom began when she created her YouTube channel, posting beauty, fashion and makeup tutorial videos as a Toronto high school student, while also encouraging her viewers to express themselves in the face of bullies and harassment. At the age of 19 she came out on her YouTube channel, identifying as a gay male. In 2013, she announced that she was a transgender woman. She legally changed her name to Gigi Loren Lazzarato in 2014, a year in which she documented her transition on her channel. In January 2017, her feature-length documentary “This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous”, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The film chronicles Gigi’s life and transition and was directed by two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple. The film was released in limited theatres and currently lives on YouTube Red (now YouTube Premium) for SVOD. “This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous” won the Streamy Award for Best Feature and the Critics’ Choice Documentary Award for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary in 2017. It was nominated for The MTV Movie & TV Award for Best Documentary and the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. Last year Gigi was named one of Time Magazine’s “25 Most Influential People on the Internet”, one of “Forbes 30 Under 30” and won YouTuber of the Year at the Shorty Awards. She was awarded the LogoTV Trailblazing Social Creator Award in 2014 for her advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ youth, and The Streamy Award for Best Beauty Channel the following year. In 2016, Gigi was denied entry into Dubai for being a transgender woman and was released after spending over five hours in detainment at the Dubai International Airport. Gigi responded to the incident by calling for equality and legal protections for LGBTQ people. Gigi works closely with several LGBTQ organizations including GLAAD, LA LGBT Center and Children’s Hospital of LA Transyouth Program. Her Halloween 2017 event for the Transyouth Program raised $50K.

Rafael Agustín

Activist for social justice through the arts


Rafael Agustín is a writer on the award-winning The CW show, Jane The Virgin. He is a 2016 Sundance Fellow for his TV family comedy, Illegal, based on his life as a formerly undocumented American. Agustín co-created and co-starred in the national touring, award-winning autobiographical comedy, N*gger Wetb*ck Ch*nk, which received acclaim from the LA Times, New York Times, Denver Post and won awards for its advancement of social justice in the arts. Rafael Agustín currently serves as Executive Director of the Latino Film Institute (LFI), where he oversees the Youth Cinema Project, their statewide project based learning educational film program, and LALIFF (Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival). Earlier this year, the LA Weekly named Agustín one of the fifty most essential people in Los Angeles. He received his BA and MA from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television, and is an alumnus of the CBS Diversity Comedy Showcase.

Closing Remarks

Michael Quick

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, USC


Dr. Michael Quick is provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Southern California, and the holder of the Shelly and Ofer Nemirovsky Provost’s Chair. He is also a Professor of Biological Sciences in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. As the university’s second-ranking administrator, he oversees Dornsife College, the Keck School of Medicine and 17 other professional schools, in addition to USC’s museums and the divisions of student affairs, libraries, research, and enrollment services. He received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Emory University.

Event Moderator

Sofia Gruskin, J.D., MIASofia Gruskin

Professor and director, USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health


Sofia Gruskin directs the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health and founded its Program on Global Health & Human Rights at the University of Southern California. She holds an appointment as professor of Population and Public Health Sciences and serves as chief of the Policy and Global Health division at the Keck School of Medicine of USC Department of Preventive Medicine. In addition, she is a professor of law at the USC Gould School of Law, affiliate faculty member with the department of American Studies and Ethnicity and Spatial Sciences Institute—both at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences—and serves on the USC Academic Senate Executive Board. She leads the USC Law & Global Health Collaboration alongside professors Alexander Capron and Charlie Kaplan from USC Gould School of Law and USC Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, respectively.

Take Action

All of us can promote and defend human rights. See how you can get started.

Learn more »

Hosted by: The Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Foundation and Institute on Inequalities in Global Health at the University of Southern California.