“However much we are affected by the things of the world, however deeply they
may stir and stimulate us, they become human for us only when we can discuss
them with our fellows. Whatever cannot become the object of discourse -
the truly sublime, the truly horrible or the uncanny - may find human voice
through which to sound into the world, but it is not exactly human.
We humanize what is going on in the world and in ourselves only by
speaking of it, and in the course of speaking of it we learn to be human.”

― Hannah Arendt, Men in Dark Times

The Fromm Institute invites you to conversations of ideas, views and experiences on the topic of Rights Around the World. Join Fromm Institute Professor Mara Kolesas in a conversation with guest speakers followed by a question and answer period with attendees. Each conversatory is designed to build on the others, however attendance at prior conversatories is not required. All events are free and open to the public, but attendance is limited. All of the "Conversatory on Rights Around the World" & "Conversatory on Racism" Lectures can be viewed on the Frommcast. CLICK HERE. 

To see past Conversatories Speakers, CLICK HERE.

About the Moderator

Mara Kolesas

Mara Kolesas is a political theorist whose interests extend from the conceptualization of citizenship, democracy, and human plurality to issues of political subjectivity, social justice, education, and the thought of Hannah Arendt. She received her doctorate from the New School of Social Research in New York, and has taught in Argentina, Peru, the US, and Lebanon. Committed to bringing academic insights to practical uses and social endeavors, she has worked as a strategist, institutional analyst, DEI practitioner, and consultant for organizations such as the University of California and the United Nations.


Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Citizenship, Constitutions, Belonging and Race in Kenya and Colombia 
Bettinna Ng'weno in conversation with Mara Kolesas


BettinaI am an associate professor in African American and African Studies at the University of California, Davis, and the chair of the Designated Emphasis. I am a recipient of the Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award for Undergraduate Teaching (2020) as well as the Graduate Studies Distinguished Graduate and Postdoctoral Mentoring Award (2020).

I was a co-director of the Mellon Research Initiative Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds at the University of California Davis. The process of reconceptualizing Indian Ocean worlds through new approaches and methodologies, as well as new perspectives and stories of being is highlighted in our 2020 edited volume Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds (Routledge).

In 2020 I also published the edited volume, Developing Global Leaders: Case Studies from Africa, that examines the experience and struggles of African business, academic, and government leaders in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Tanzania.

At the moment, I am finishing Growing Old in a New City, a book on the changing temporality and spatiality of the city of Nairobi from the perspective of long-term residents. Working from personal, familial, ethnographic and archival history and experience of Nairobi, in both my academic writing and creative film project, Last Dance in Kaloleni (https://lastdanceinkaloleni.co.ke/ ) I bring to life a Nairobi rarely talked about centered on the railways, the dreams and aspirations of long-term residents, music and dance, and the experience of the complicated changing dynamics of the city.

Recent publications:

Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds (https://www.routledge.com/Reimagining-Indian-Ocean-Worlds/Srinivas-Ngweno-Jeychandran/p/book/9780367344535 )

Developing Global Leaders: Insights from African Case Studies (https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9783030146054 ).

CLICK HERE to register for the Conversatory at 3pm - 4:30pm 

Past Conversatories

August 26, 2021

Rethinking the Future of Israel/Palestine: Between Two States and One :
Omar Dajani in Conversation with Mara Kolesas

More info here.

October 15, 2021

Rights, Activism and Representation - Reflections from the Armenian Diaspora :
Sossie Kasbarian in Conversation with Mara Kolesas

More info here.



January 21, 2022

The Corrosion of the World's Largest Democracy: India under Modi with Sanjay Ruparelia
Sanjay Ruparelia in Conversation with Mara Kolesas

More info to here.


April 21, 2022

The One Truthiness - based on the structure of a Passover Seder :
Charlie Levin in Conversation with Mara Kolesas

More info here. 




September 2, 2021

Narrating Israel-Palestine :
Farid Abdel Nour in Conversation with Mara Kolesas

More info here.


November 15, 2021

Limits of Supranational Justice : The European Court of Human Rights & Turkey's Kurdish Conflict :
Dilek Kurban in Conversation with Mara Kolesas

More info here.

February 4, 2022

Negotiating Rights Under the Religio-Chauvinist Rule of the Taliban :
Dr. Omar Sadr in Conversation with Mara Kolesas

More info to here.


April 27, 2022

Rethinking Gender and Sexuality in the Arab World :
Omnia El Shakry in conversation with Mara Kolesas

More info here.

September 3, 2021

The New Israel Fund and How to Protect and Advance Democracy and Equality in Israel :
Daniel Sokatch in Conversation with Mara Kolesas

More info here.

December 8, 2021

Narrative on War and Justice in the 21st Century :
Luis Moreno Acampo in Conversation with Mara Kolesas

More info here.




March 24, 2022

Ukraine & Russia - History, Rights & Geopolitics :
Yuriy Gorodnichenko 
in Conversation with Mara Kolesas

More info to here.

September 8, 2021

Citizen-Enemies: Failed and Emerging Promises of Citizenship in Israel/Palestine :
Smadar Ben-Natan in Conversation with Mara Kolesas

More info here.

January 6, 2022

The Crisis of Democracy :
Larry Diamond in Conversation with Mara Kolesas

More info here.


April 13, 2022

Gender & Democracy in Brazil & Beyond :
Dr. Flávia Biroli in Conversation with Mara Kolesas

More info here.