Former journalist and human rights activist Wendy Luers will join students from the Humanities Department of Shepaug Valley School in Washington at the 17th Annual Shepaug World Affairs Forum March 21.

The event will run from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens in Washington Depot.

The Shepaug World Affairs Forum is an annual public event that showcases and celebrates student interest in international affairs.

Each year an accomplished expert in international relations serves as the keynote speaker.

The speaker engages with student panelists and community members in spirited discussion and at times debate regarding the most pressing issues that shape the world today.

Luers, the founder and president of The Foundation for a Civil Society (FCS) in New York, a cultural, democratization and non-profit organization, will present the keynote address and speak to the realities of advocacy for human rights with a focus on diplomacy in today's world.

“Human rights has played an enormous role in my life,” said Luers, whose career included her role as director of special projects for Amnesty International and director of special projects at Human Rights Watch in New York.

“Mrs. Luers brings a perspective informed by her experience of working with human rights organizations and subsequently understanding the role of diplomacy as the spouse of the William Luers, Ambassador to Caracas and then to Prague,” said Chris Dennis of the Shepaug Valley School Humanties Department.

“The depth of knowledge and context Mrs. Luers brings to this event is exceptional,” Dennis said. “We are grateful for her commitment to working with our students.”

Students participating on the panel include Shepaug Valley school seniors Oscar Cespedes, Elizabeth Neunzig, Rebecca Racz, Lily Schur and Aaryuj Trehan, juniors Kyle Mieczkowski and Sam Quigley, and sophomores Wyatt King and Ryan Bialack.

All are members of Shepaug’s Model UN Team and participated in Model UN at Harvard this past February.

Students will prepare and present position papers on global topics including the relationship between human rights and religion, healthcare, and climate change.

In working with students on this event, Luers refers to a quote by Vaclav Havel: “Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed."

Event sponsors include the Shepaug Student Project Foundation, the Shepaug Valley School PTO and The Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens.

The public is invited to attend.

Guests are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes early to secure a seat.

meet and greet with the panelists will follow the presentation. Refreshments will be served.