'Maria Therese Godskesen' memorial human rights defenders lecture on Film and Human Rights

Maria Therese Godskesen

The 'Maria Therese Godskesen' memorial human rights defenders lecture on Film and Human Rights will be held during the closing ceremony of the festival on May 3rd 2009 at the October memorial hall in Bangkok. At this lecture, experts from different disciplines will give their in-depth analysis on:

WHAT CAN FILM DO FOR HUMAN RIGHTS?

Maria Therese Godskesen
(1969 - 2008)

Maria was born in Seoul and adopted by a Danish -Norwegian couple when she was three years old. Soon she was globetrotting with her family as her father was a doctor working for the Red Cross. Most of her early childhood was spent in Bangladesh, India and Botswana. Her fatherís work inspired her to work in the field of human rights. During her graduate studies she volunteered for several organizations including Amnesty International, Red Cross and the Danish Center for Human Rights where she put her strong organizational and personal skills to good use.

Her volunteer work convinced Maria that she wanted to specialize in Human Rights in her academic career. In 2003 she enrolled in the International Human Rights program at Mahidol University and graduated two years later, writing her thesis on the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo. Her thesis was published in 2007. She continued her academic studies in human rights by starting her PhD at the University of Essex in 2006.

Maria strongly believed movies were important to advance human rights in society. In 2002 she volunteered for the Dasan Human Rights Center in South Korea, where she helped to organize a Human Rights film festival. During her studies at Mahidol, Maria took the initiative to arrange a series of film screening sessions, related to human rights issues. The movies could then be shared and discussed. True to her spirit, these sessions were not supposed to be simply serious, but also fun.

Despite being sick, Maria selflessly helped with the Move Media Rights Festival. Mariaís untimely death from cancer serves as a reminder that life is not fair and can be cut brutally short; a fact that most who work to advance human rights are only too aware of. Much more importantly, Mariaís life was a demonstration that a good life is not measured by its length, but by the love and caring it is filled with.