International human rights expert comes to Perth

October 3, 2011

A human rights lawyer and theologian who campaigned against the apartheid system in South Africa alongside Steve Biko will be delivering a series of public lectures in Perth as part of a month-long Murdoch University program.

As the 2011 Murdoch University International Theologian, Professor N Barney Pityana will begin the free lecture series on Tuesday, October 11, with a talk entitled Religion, Law and Ethics: on Human Sexuality.

Prof Pityana was nurtured in the anti-apartheid and liberation politics of South Africa in the ‘60s and ‘70s and was one of the founders of the Black Consciousness Movement with Biko.

He went into exile in the United Kingdom in the late ‘70s where he continued his activities in the African National Congress (ANC) while training for the Anglican ministry in Oxford.

He returned to South Africa in 1993 following the end of apartheid and completed a PhD in Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town soon after.

He has contributed to the United Nations human rights and development programs as an expert and consultant over many years and was appointed Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission (1995-2001) and a member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1997-2003).

Prof Pityana retired as Vice Chancellor of the University of South Africa last year and is currently Rector of the College of the Transfiguration Grahamstown, the centre for the education and training of clergy for the Anglican church of southern Africa.

He has published extensively in theology and human rights law as well as in higher education management and leadership.

Associate Professor Rowan Strong from Murdoch University’s School of Social Sciences and Humanities said he was delighted to welcome Prof Pityana to Perth.

“The Murdoch University International Theologian is an annual program which brings leading religious thinkers to Perth within the theology program of the university. Prof Pityana’s record speaks for itself. He has achieved so much in his life despite being hampered for much of it by apartheid in South Africa.

“I am sure those that come to see him speak will be inspired and enthused.”

Prof Pityana will be delivering the L.J.Kiernan Memorial series as the 2011 Murdoch University International Theologian:

Tuesday, October 11: Religion, Law and Ethics: On Human Sexuality, 6.30-8.00pm, Kim Beazley Lecture Theatre, Murdoch University South Street Campus.

Tuesday, October 18: Religion, Culture and the Body: Rituals, Spaces and the Environment, 6.30-8.00pm, Wesley Church, Cnr William and Hay Street, Perth.

Tuesday, October 25: Religion and the Future of Humanity: Some Conclusions, 6.30-8.00pm, Kim Beazley Lecture Theatre, Murdoch University South Street Campus.

To attend one or more of the lectures, email Murdoch University's events team or call 08 9360 6176.

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