SOURCE: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

August 18, 2008 10:00 ET

Alpha Kappa Alpha to Articulate 100-Year Record of Advancing Human Rights at United Nations Confab

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - August 18, 2008) - Alpha Kappa Alpha's international president Barbara A. McKinzie will articulate the Sorority's 100-year record of advancing human rights when she journeys to Paris from September 3-5 to join other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) affiliated with the United Nations' Department of Public Information. They will meet during their 61st Annual Conference on the theme: "Reaffirming Human Rights for All: The Universal Declaration at 60." She is attending this historic confab at the invitation of the co-hosts: the DPI/NGO Executive Committee, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Office of the High Commission for Human Rights and the Government of France.

More than 2,000 NGO representatives from some 90 countries are expected to participate.

The gathering is being convened at UNESCO's Headquarters on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the adoption and signing in Paris of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration is the first universal statement on the basic principles of the human rights to which peoples of all nations are entitled.

Eleanor Roosevelt, an Honorary Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, chaired the United Nations Human Rights Commission that wrote the Universal Declaration in 1948. Her leadership was a major factor in ensuring its passage.

Representing the 225,000 members in 975 chapters worldwide, and in support of Eleanor Roosevelt's human rights legacy, McKinzie will dramatize why AKA's human rights efforts so inspired Eleanor Roosevelt that the First Lady invited members of the Sorority to the White House to salute them for their human rights strides. It was during this visit that a bond was forged between Alpha Kappa Alpha and the former first lady was invited and accepted Honorary Membership into Alpha Kappa Alpha.

AKA was one of the early champions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. AKA co-founder and co-incorporator Norma E. Boyd led the Sorority in creating the AKA National Non-Partisan Council on Public Affairs (NPC), which became the first full-time congressional lobby for minority group civil rights. Through the NPC, in October 1946, Alpha Kappa Alpha became the first sorority to obtain observer status at the UN Economic and Social Council and was represented by Norma Boyd.

Boyd was tapped to join other thought leaders who provided early input to U.S. government for further consideration and study of the Covenant and Declaration of Human Rights before it was ready for adoption. In 1948, the year the Declaration was passed, AKA was present at the 2nd General Conference of UNESCO.

Alpha Kappa Alpha has amassed an impressive record of activism. McKinzie will share the Sorority's human rights triumphs by chronicling the host of programs that have been launched during its century of life. These crusades represent the foundation of AKA and the core reason why the Sorority has emerged as an international force.

Accompanied by first vice president Carolyn House Stewart, former international treasurer Berna Greer, and AKA representative to the DPI/NGO and member of the 61st Conference Planning Committee Ambassador Alice Dear, McKinzie and team will attend roundtables whose broad themes focus on restoring human rights, dignity and justice for all, stressing the importance of human security and human rights, realizing human dignity for all, ensuring freedom from fear, providing access to educational opportunities and promoting justice, protection, empowerment and peace. McKinzie and the AKA team will also exchange ideas and best practices with other global leaders and explore ways that Alpha Kappa Alpha can intensify its already-strong commitment to human rights.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is America's first Greek-letter organization founded in 1908 by, and for, African-American college women. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, it is one of the world's leading service organizations. The sorority serves all mankind through a nucleus of more than 225,000 women in over 975 chapters in the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, Germany, Korea, Japan and in the continent of Africa. For more information, log on to

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