The Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) at the University of Michigan is pleased to welcome Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon to campus on March 13 to deliver a lecture titled, “Rights in Peril in the Philippines: How Rights Are Wronged and How We Fight Back.” Gascon is the chair of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights. In this lecture, he will draw on decades of work as a political activist and social reformer, and share reflections on current social and political challenges to human rights and democracy in the Philippines.

Chito Gascon was appointed in 2015 by President Benigno S. Aquino III as Chair of the Human Rights Commission of the Philippines, and his term will last until 2022. He has been active in public and government service for more than 30 years, at one time holding positions at the Department of Education and Office of the President. His continuing reform advocacies are in the areas of human rights, access to justice and the rule of law, transparency and accountability initiatives, political and electoral reforms, peace and conflict transformation, people’s participation and civic education, and state building in the context of democratic transitions.

Chito Gascon will speak on March 13 at 5:30 PM in Room 1010 Weiser Hall, 500 Church Street. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and the Donia Human Rights Center, and is free and open to the public.

The Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) combines academics with practical applications, promoting scholarship to better understand the conditions and policies that foster the transition from autocratic rule to democratic governance, past and present. It also educates new generations of practitioners who can apply their learning and experience to help extend democratic freedoms. Named in honor of Ronald and Eileen Weiser and inspired by their time in Slovakia during Ambassador Weiser’s service as U.S. ambassador from 2001-04, WCED is housed in the University of Michigan International Institute. For more information, visit


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