Human rights vs business rights at symposium

By Ciaran Gallagher

On the day the Chilean miners were winched to safety, the Business School held its inaugural symposium focused on an issue that the miners’ plight had highlighted – the intersection of human rights and business rights. The keynote speaker was Patricia Gatling, Chair of the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

Gatling started off by sharing her personal experiences of what it was like growing up as a black woman during the civil rights movement in America. The “particularly harsh” segregation in her home state of Mississippi has given her a perspective that “certainly a lot of my contemporaries don’t have, and certainly most New Yorkers do not have.” From her experience both growing up and in New York, enforcing human rights is a gain all round. “Segregation is expensive” she notes. “You have less than 100% percent of the population in the country working towards the goal of sustaining the country in the future economically”.

Gatling finished her talk by giving a few words of wisdom to students. “Take the hard road” is her advice to today’s graduates. “It’s not easy riding with packs of tigers, but I think ultimately it’s a lot more interesting, and a lot more rewarding.”