Past Conferences

2015 Honors Conference

On March 20, 2015, the conference speakers, faculty and student facilitators, and breakout sessions focused on Human Rights issues, including health, education, culture, politics, and social justice.

Recent Conference Speakers

In 2015, Bill Holston and Luis Lemus provided the Honors Conference Keynote Address, and Rick Halperin provided the Honors Conference Plenary Address. Richland students also spoke about a variety of Human Rights issues.

"The Long and Winding Road:The Path to Becoming a Human Rights Lawyer"

Bill Holston became the Executive Director of Human Rights Initiative of North Texas in January 2012. Since 1987, Bill has provided pro bono legal representation for political and religious asylum applicants. Over the years he had clients from 20 countries in Immigration Court or before the Houston Asylum office. He volunteered his services to Human Rights Initiative of North Texas since the organization was founded in 2000. Bill is a Richland College graduate. His former client, Luis Lemus, escaped gang violence in El Salvador to come to this country.

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"There is no such thing as a lesser person."

Professor Rick Halperin is Director of the Southern Methodist University Embrey Human Rights Program (, and teaches courses at SMU including: America’s Dilemma: The Struggle for Human Rights; America and the Age of Genocide; and America Enraged: From Brown to Watergate, 1954-1974. Halperin has served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA from 1989-1995, and from 2004-2009; he served as Chair of the Board from 1992-1993 and again from 2005-2007. He is also a member of the National Death Penalty Advisory Committee, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (serving as President from 2000-2006 and from 2007-2008).

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