The Challenge of Citizenship


Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel
4200 Jim Walter Boulevard
Tampa, Florida

Event Details

Even as the increased flow of capital and goods across borders in today's integrated, globalized society has been widely praised, the increased movement of human beings across borders has proven controversial. Large numbers of noncitizens in countries across the globe present a challenge to sovereignty, national identities, and understandings of citizenship itself. What happens when fundamental notions of universal rights clash with the prerogatives of sovereign states to control who can live in their countries, for how long, and on what terms? Susan Gzesh, AB'72, will examine the situation of asylum seekers, stateless persons, and migratory workers in the contemporary world. She will discuss various models for striking a balance among the duties of citizenship, national identity, the role of foreign nationals, and respect for universal rights.

Susan Gzesh, AB'72, is senior lecturer and executive director of the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights at the University of Chicago. The Center takes an interdisciplinary approach to human rights research and curriculum and hosts student internships and public events. Gzesh is of counsel to the Chicago law firm Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym and a fellow of the Migration Policy Institute. She has written on the relationship among human rights, migration, and development and has participated as a civil society representative in several UN-sponsored meetings on the relationship between migration and economic development.


$20/person for general admission
$10/person for recent graduates (College alumni of the past 10 years and graduate alumni of the past five years)
Two complimentary registrations for members of the Alumni Leadership, Chicago, Harper, and Phoenix Societies

Includes program and refreshments


Register Online

Deadline: 2/27/2015


2:00 PM-2:45 PM: Registration and reception

2:45 PM-4:00 PM: Presentation and discussion

Speaker Profiles

Susan Gzesh, AB’72 (Speaker)

Susan Gzesh is the Executive Director of the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights and a Senior Lecturer in the College, appointed in 2001 after service as a part-time Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School (1992 – 2001). She teaches courses on contemporary issues in human rights, the comparative human rights of aliens and citizens, human rights in Mexico and Latin America, and the use of international human rights norms in the United States. She supervises students on B.A. and M.A. theses and advises on PhD dissertation projects. Her research interests include the inter-relationship between human rights and migration policy, the domestic application of international human rights norms, and Mexico-U.S. relations. In addition to teaching, she directs a broad range of activities in the PFCHR including an internship program, public events, and faculty initiatives on topics including Human Rights at Home and Health & Human Rights. She serves on the Institutional Review Board (Social Sciences Division) and the faculty committees of the Center for Latin American Studies and the International Studies program in the College.

Starting in 1978, Gzesh practiced law in a variety of settings: in private practice, federally-funded legal services, and with the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights. She is currently of counsel to the Chicago firm Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym. From 1996-2001, Gzesh was Director of the Mexico-U.S. Advocates Network and co-founded the Regional Network of Civil Organizations for Migration, two innovative civil society coalitions spanning North America, Mexico, and Central America. From 1997- 1999, Gzesh was the legal adviser to the Mexican Foreign Ministry on U.S. immigration law and policy. She was a Fulbright Lecturer in Mexico (1990) and served on the Clinton-Gore Transition Team for the Department of Justice (1992-93). She was appointed to the Illinois New Americans Immigrant Policy Council (2005-2008) and the United Food & Commercial Workers Union Task Force on ICE Misconduct (2008). She served on the Chicago Council on Global Affairs' Task Force on Immigration Policy in the Midwest (2012-2013). She has consulted with the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation on migration policy and human rights and has served as an expert for the Illinois Supreme Court Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

She is currently a non-resident Fellow of the Migration Policy Institute, Washington, D.C. She serves on the Board of Directors of Kartemquin Films (Chicago) and is an active member of the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights and the Chicago Committee for Human Rights Watch. She has been a member of civil society delegations to the United Nations High Level Dialogue on Migration & Development (2013) and the Global Forum on Migration and Development (2009, 2010) and was a keynote speaker at the 2010 meeting of the Peoples' Global Alliance on Migration. She collaborates with the National Association of Latin American & Caribbean Communities and is a frequent speaker at seminars, conferences, and events in the U.S. and Mexico on topics related to human rights and migration.

Susan Gzesh received an A.B. from the University of Chicago in 1972 and a J.D. in 1977 from the University of Michigan. She is fluent in Spanish and the mother of Max Rothstein.


Kelly Doody