[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Today@Sam |  SHSU Headlines |  Calendar |  Experts  |  Notices |  News Archives

SHSU Update for Week of September 5, 1999

Souryal Returns from Indonesia

Sam Souryal, professor of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University, is back in the classroom this semester after a six-month United Nations assignment in which he was instrumental in extending human rights and the processes of democracy to Indonesia.

Souryal's assignment as representative to the High Commissioner for Human Rights began in February 1999 when he was appointed to implement four main mandates specified in an agreement between the Office of the High Commissioner and the government of Indonesia.

The mandates were:

  • Strengthening the national capacity in human rights reporting;

  • Designing and carrying out national education programs in the area of human rights;

  • Raising human rights awareness through a dissemination of United Nations human rights information; and

  • Strengthening the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights.

Souryal traveled to Geneva on Feb. 22 to attend orientation sessions regarding his assignment and on March 8 arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia, and established the Office of Human Rights located at the United Nations building.

As representative to the High Commissioner, Souryal worked primarily with a national group known as Focal Point, consisting of officials from the Foreign Ministry, the Justice Ministry and the Interior Ministry, as well as other agencies. Formal meetings were held every two weeks to discuss how best to introduce democracy to the Indonesian society and government.

This effort resulted in the development of presidential national elections through secret ballot for the first time in the history of Indonesia. The elections were held on June 7 and observed by notable world leaders, including former President Jimmy Carter.

Another area of service coordinated by Souryal, in consultation with members of Focal Point, was retraining the high echelons of government, including leaders of police and armed services. The training focused on the theory and practice of human rights as designated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1976), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976), among other human rights mechanisms.

A third area of service provided by Souryal was strengthening the "komnas hams " (human rights commissions). These included national and regional commissions as well as specialized commissions focusing on fundamental issues such as the rights of women and children, the right to development, and the right for education. Many of these commissions required training, financing, advising, and moral support.

In further raising human rights awareness in the Indonesian society, Souryal utilized the assistance of local interpreters and spoke to university students and working groups, held social and cultural conferences in churches and mosques, and was involved with the use of printed and televised media.

Souryal believes that his efforts were successful to a large measure, but he also recognizes the challenges with which he was faced. Among these was the fact that Indonesia is a young nation (gaining independence only in 1949) consisting of over 1,700 islands, more than 26 major languages and a large number of local dialects, and is accustomed to the strong governing role by the army.

"It is not surprising that since the police has been part of the armed forces, this may have contributed to the occurrence of excessive violence in remote parts of the country," said Souryal.

However, due to advice he offered along with many other experts the police was separated from the armed forces in the last three months.

"I hope that they will be retrained in a more democratic fashion and reorganized along a community-based policing model," Souryal said.

Souryal predicts that a new government will be formed in November under the presidency of Megatawi Soekarno, daughter of the first president of Indonesia, and that the government will be instrumental in reshaping a young prosperous democracy in Indonesia.

Education Honor Society to Receive Award

The Sam Houston State University chapter of Kappa Delta Pi has been notified that it is receiving the organization's Achieving Chapter Excellence award.

The award will be presented at convocation on Nov. 11 in Baltimore, Md. The local chapter is one of 12 chapters to be recognized, out of a possible 525.

Laverne Warner, professor of education, serves as counselor for the SHSU chapter, and Marsha Harmon, associate professor of education, serves as associate counselor and treasurer.

Earlier in the year the chapter submitted a portfolio of information under specific categories of expectation for review by the awards committee. Those categories included scholarship, promotion of worthy education practices, leadership development, professional fellowship, and chapter collaboration with other organizations including community groups.

Some of the activities in which the Sam Houston State Kappa Delta Pi chapter participates are hosting a regional leadership conference, working with programs within the public schools, sponsoring the Reading is Fundamental program, and hosting the Celebration of Teaching event.

Kappa Delta Pi is an international honor organization for individuals in education. A student must have an overall 3.0 grade point average in education courses as well as in specialized courses in order to be considered for membership. The local chapter has approximately 40 active members.

Library Acquires Revised Database

The Web-based academic version of LEXIS-NEXIS which allows users to locate full-text and abstracts of comprehensive news, business, and legal information is available through the Newton Gresham Library homepage. This service is called LEXIS-NEXIS ACADEMIC UNIVERSE and provides unlimited user access campus-wide. Students, faculty, and staff can search from the library, all computer labs, offices, and soon from student residence halls.

With this service, users can search foreign news sources, regional U.S. news services, radio and television transcripts, federal and state case law, medical, legislative and industry news, and annual reports from the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as other topics.

Newspapers are updated several times daily, and wire services hourly.

"Search forms offer easy, fill-in-the-blank access, and keyword/Boolean searching and a powerful search engine make the new version of Academic Universe a user-friendly information service," said Ann Holder, interim library director.

For more information, contact the reference department at the Newton Gresham Library at 409.294.1599.

Counseling Offered

The Supervised Practicum of the Counseling Program at Sam Houston State University provides year-around counseling services to area university community and area residents, most with no fees.

Graduate students completing requirements for the master's degree and/or certification/licensure as counselors provide the services with supervision by the SHSU Counseling Program faculty.

The following services are available:

  • Individual Counseling for children, adolescents and adults;

  • Marriage and Family Counseling;

  • Vocational/Career Testing and Counseling - for high school students, college students and adults;

  • Achievement Testing - ($10.00 fee).

To obtain further information or to sign up for any of the services contact Educational Leadership and Counseling, either Mary Nichter at 409.294.3858 or Dashiel Geyen at 409.294.3859.

Warsaw Orchestra to Perform Strandberg Work

Professor Emeritus of Music Newton D. Strandberg of Huntsville, who taught and wrote music at Sam Houston State University for 30 years, has been notified that he will be one of four composers featured in a September concert of the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra.

Works by Strandberg were also performed in March and April in Lincoln Center in New York City, and others are scheduled throughout 1999/2000 in Prague, Czechoslovakia, as part of the Millennium Celebration of the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra concert season and being recorded for worldwide distribution.

Strandberg taught and wrote at Sam Houston State University from 1967 until his retirement in 1997.

- END -

SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
September 5, 1999
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu

This page maintained by SHSU's Office of Public Relations
Director: Frank Krystyniak
Communications Coordinator: Julia May
Located in the SHSU University Advancement Building
Telephone: (409) 294-1836; Fax: (409) 294-1834
feedback graphic