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Press release

8 and 9 October: The Rouen Human Rights Festival releases its programme

Published on 20 September 2021 by NEOMA

The first edition of the Rouen Human Rights Festival will be held on 8 and 9 October. The event is jointly organised by the French Institute of International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS), NEOMA Business School, the Métropole Rouen Normandie and the Rouen Métropole CCI and it is intended for the general public of the greater Rouen metropolitan area as well as students from secondary schools and universities. The festival will be based on four thematic round tables featuring experts and other participants dedicated to the challenges concerning human rights. Alongside the round table discussions, visitors can contribute to a NGO forum that brings together players from national and international associations specialising in human rights. This event is part of the partnership linking the IRIS and NEOMA Business School and will be held on the school’s campus located in Mont-Saint-Aignan.

The festival is organised around four round tables that are open to the public free of charge and will provide a speaking and sharing platform for experts (researchers, professors, figures from the community, journalists, NGO representatives, recognised players in international solidarity efforts, etc.) who will debate various subjects with the public, such as moral diplomacy, the connection between culture and human rights, and health as a global public good (see the programme below).

A NGO forum will also be organised alongside this event, with participation from individuals involved in different associations such as Amnesty International, the Human Rights League, Doctors of the World, ACAT (Actions by Christians for the Abolition of Torture), Cimade, FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights) and more.

This event is organised in partnership with La Croix, with support from MATMUT and Crédit Agricole Normandie-Seine.


Free entry, mandatory registration (based on availability)

A vaccination health pass will be mandatory.





2:15 – 2:45 pm: OPENING REMARKS

Michel-Édouard Leclerc – CEO of E.Leclerc and president of NEOMA

Pascal Boniface – director of the IRIS

Nicolas Mayer- Rossignol – mayor of Rouen and president of the Métropole Rouen-Normandie


Can diplomacy be moral and should it be? Can we have human rights advocacy and defence as a diplomatic line of action or is it often just a ritual and/or accommodating reference? Is realpolitik necessarily immoral or amoral? Is it possible to implement a realistic human rights policy?

Pascal Boniface – director of the IRIS

Rony Brauman – doctor, former president of Doctors Without Borders

Jean De Gliniasty – director of research at the IRIS, former ambassador

Nathalie Godard – action director for Amnesty International France

Chaired by Sylvie Matelly– deputy director of the IRIS


4:30 – 6:00 pm: HUMAN RIGHTS IN AFRICA

Are there specific African particularities when it comes to human rights? Culturalist interpretations are often brought up to explain the violations that occur in African countries. The imagery that “Northern” countries associate with this continent must be applied with great caution in the interpretations of the social realities existing there. In a context where the normal human rights frameworks are widely produced and assessed in global areas of governance, what is the room to manoeuvre for African countries?

André-Franck Ahoyo – general delegate of the Urgence Identité Afrique fund, international consultant, lecturer at the Université Sorbonne Paris Nord

Hassatou Ba-Minté – journalist, director of the Africa office for the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

Laurent Larcher – African journalist for La Croix

Gérard Grizbec – journalist, associate researcher at the IRIS

Chaired by Magali Chelpi-Den Hamer – researcher at the IRIS, director of the Humanitarian and Development programme



9:15 – 10:45 am: HEALTH: A GLOBAL PUBLIC GOOD?

While Covid-19 vaccinations are still not equitably distributed throughout the entire world, this pandemic and even perhaps the emergence of different variants have reminded us that world health requires a global response. If it is a common project, should we approach it through the prism of human rights? How can we make the different conceptions and players come together on the ways and means of ensuring global health? What are the rules and what is the regulatory method to put in place?

Jean-François Delfraissy – president of the Covid-19 Scientific Council, president of the National Consultative Ethics Committee 

Caroline Izambert – PhD of history, former advocacy director at AIDES

Gaëlle Krikorian – international consultant, specialist on questions of intellectual property

Stéphane Roques – strategic director at Medtronic, former director of AFM-Téléthon and former director of Doctors Without Borders

Chaired by Delphine Manceau – dean of NEOMA Business School


11 am – 12:30 pm: CULTURE AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Cultural rights are at a crossroads with human rights. By supporting the respect for the cultural references and cultural practices of each person, each lifestyle, each way of thinking, each sport, spiritual or artistic practice, exercising cultural rights helps to recognise the dignity of people in their expression of their identities, in all their diversity. It furthermore strengthens our ability to act. But presenting cultural differences is not enough. They need to mix together and engage each other and be bold enough to ask difficult questions so we can continue thinking up better ways of how to live together.

Johanne Bouchard – anthropologist, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Sébastien Dubois – sociologist and professor at NEOMA BS, director of the MSc Cultural and Creative Industries

Loic Lachenal – Director of Rouen Normandy Opera

Emilie Lhoste, director of the Heritage department – French Towns and Lands of Art and History label, Culture Department, Métropole de Rouen Normandie

Chaired by Laurence Renou – vice-president of culture, Métropole de Rouen Normandie