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The Uyghur Crisis Explained

05/19/2021 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM MT


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Join the WorldDenver Young Professionals and a panel of experts and activists for a conversation on the troubling crisis gripping the current day Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China (historically known as "East Turkistan"). The Uyghur people are predominantly Muslims and have lived in this region for centuries. Human rights organizations, international news outlets, and academic researchers have reported that some 1.8 million Uyghurs and related ethnic groups are being held in internment camps - referred to by the Chinese government as "re-education camps." The most recent and most complete reports have even claimed that the crisis meets the legal criteria for "genocide." Our panelists will explore the current status of the situation and what is happening in the global effort to advocate for the Uyghur people, as well as what can be done at an individual level.


About Our Panel

Arafat Alim 

Arafat Alim, an Uyghur American anesthetist currently working in Colorado Springs, CO. Born in Qoqek, East Turkistan and raised in Urumqi, Tokyo, and Virginia, USA. Passionate about community building for the Uyghur Americans in DC metropolitan area and involved in building Uyghur soccer team since 2005. Also involved in New Generation for Free East Turkistan and working on different activism work.


Darren Byler

Darren Byler is a post-doctoral research fellow in the China Made Project at the Center for Asian Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder and an incoming Assistant Professor of International Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the author of a forthcoming ethnography titled Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City (Duke University Press 2021) and a narrative-driven book titled In the Camps: China's High-Tech Penal Colony (Columbia Global Reports 2021). His current research interests are focused on infrastructure development and global China in the context of Xinjiang and Malaysia. He received his Ph.D in anthropology from the University of Washington.


Saar Tynen

I am a research fellow at the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences. I hold a PhD in Human Geography from University of Colorado Boulder. I lived in China for a total of five years from 2009-2017. My research focuses on state-building, nationalism, and ethnic conflict in Asia.

My ultimate goal is to better understand how we can create more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable communities. To do so, I look at China in a global context and the effects of authoritarian state-building.


Nathan Duddles

Nathan Duddles lived in the Uyghur regions of NW China and Kazakhstan over a period of 19 years.  He studied both Mandarin Chinese and the Uyghur language.  He also taught graduate students in his field of agronomy and served as an English teacher at the college level.  Presently, Nathan runs a small nonprofit, the Silk Road Peace Project, and partners with a number of other organizations in advocacy efforts to end the current human rights crisis.  



Note: As a nonpartisan convener of global affairs programming, WorldDenver provides an unbiased forum for experts, world leaders, diplomats, and representatives from the public and private sectors to share their expertise and views on a broad spectrum of issues that matter to the world. We aim for our events to inspire curiosity and further reading, discussion, and civic engagement among our members and the Denver community on the global issues that we present.

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