Common CAHSS is an annual event in which UW-Green Bay and its College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS, pronounced “cause”) strive to generate awareness and conversation on a thematic common cause—organized around interconnected local and global challenges that require collective solutions spanning disciplinary and geographic boundaries. The daylong Common CAHSS 2019: Human Rights Conference is free and open to the public.
2019 Keynote Speaker – RAIS BHUIYAN
9/11 Hate Crime Victim, Founder of World Without Hate, Human Rights Advocate & Peace Activist
Rais Bhuiyan, an American Muslim from Bangladesh, is an extraordinary individual with a powerful story. After serving as an air force pilot in Bangladesh, Rais moved to the United States in 1999 to study computer technology. Ten days after 9/11, Rais was the victim of a horrific hate crime. Shot in the face at point blank range by white supremacist, Mark Stroman, self-described “the Arab slayer,” Rais barely survived. Sadly, two other victims were killed. Stroman was sentenced to death; ten years later, Rais led an international campaign, fighting to save Stroman’s life.
Rais’ near death experience and subsequent religious pilgrimage sparked a profound journey of soul searching and began his path as a human rights activist for peace, forgiveness, empathy and understanding. Rais’ effort to save Stroman from execution in 2011 was unsuccessful, but his transformative ability to turn hate into compassion and forgive the unforgivable has been transformative. Through his non-profit, World Without Hate, Rais has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people as he shares his inspirational story and message at schools, universities, organizations and conferences all over the world.
Rais’ efforts have been widely recognized, receiving the Excellence for Human Service Award, United for Change; Search for Common Ground Award, Search for Common Ground; 2011 American of the Year, Esquire Magazine; 2014 Human Relations Award, Muslim Public Affairs Council Foundation, among others. Rais is a full-time IT executive at Sabre Corporation in Dallas, but works relentlessly to end the cycle of hate and violence. To create a better world, Rais believes in peace, love and forgiveness. We must all work together toward tolerance and understanding and knock down the walls of difference and hatred that too often separate us. He shares his powerful story and message with all audiences, tying in the themes of mercy, empathy, acceptance, faith, peace activism, immigration, victims’ rights, Islamophobia, gun violence and much more.
Rais Bhuiyan’s extraordinary story has been chronicled in The True American: Murder & Mercy in Texas by Anand Giridharadas, which is being developed for the big screen by Annapurna Pictures. The book was a 2014 New York Times Book Review Notable Book and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. He is also prominently featured in the 2016 documentary, An Eye for An Eye. During 2016, Rais worked with the Obama Administration’s Domestic Policy Council and State Department, receiving a personal letter from President Obama thanking him for his courage and efforts. Rais is featured in the new documentary series, The Secret Life of Muslims currently being featured on Vox, PRI, and the USA network. His segment was chosen by CBS Sunday Morning for national broadcast on November 27, 2016.
This keynote address is funded by a grant from the Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovations.