West Texas, land of wide-open spaces, scenic highways, and independent, hospitable, freedom-loving people, now hosts an international human rights retreat. The West Texas Human Rights Retreat is a haven of intellectual liberty and recreation in the scenic Davis Mountains, just 10 miles from Fort Davis and Marfa, Texas
The West Texas Human Rights Retreat (WTHR) is a secluded and serene haven located on 18 acres of land in the remote but stunningly beautiful, and scenic Davis Mountains, near Fort Davis, in West Texas.
The West Texas Human Rights Retreat is a non-profit corporation that was set up as an international haven of freedom of expression and human rights. Each fall, the retreat will host a select group of human rights fellows from among writers, journalists, teachers, cartoonists, artists, and other intellectual workers whose human rights are violated in their home countries through arrest, detention, imprisonment, torture, and exile due to their work.
The vision of West Texas Human Rights Retreat (WTHR) is to serve as an international residential human rights and freedom of expression retreat for persecuted writers, journalists, artists and other intellectual workers from around the world. Working in collaboration with educational and civic organizations in West Texas, the WTHR will host an annual fall workshop at its center in Fort Davis, Texas, for carefully selected human rights fellows: writers, dramatists, journalists, cartoonists, artists, poets, musicians, teachers, professors, and other intellectual workers who had been arrested, detained, prosecuted, jailed, tortured, harassed, banned, deported, exiled, or fled their countries for fear of their lives, or became refugees, due to their intellectual work or political ideas.
The WTHR will provide selected human rights fellows a small stipend and a serene location to interact with other human rights fellows, and produce intellectual work away from the pressures of authoritarian regimes and the hustle and bustle of society.
It shall work in collaboration with educational institutions and civic organizations in West Texas to create awareness of freedom of expression, human rights, world politics, and global literature. WTHR human rights fellows will give talks and hold workshops and readings in high schools, colleges, and universities in West Texas.
Location of the WTWAR
Though the West Texas Human Rights Retreat (WTHR) is located in the remote and scenic Davis Mountains of Wild West Texas, it is not exactly cut off from civilization. Though it is about 10 miles from the town of Fort Davis, it is, from the perspective of the United States Postal Service, part of Fort Davis. The area is famous for its scenic routes. The scenic drive up to Fort Davis from Balmorhea on Interstate 10 and Texas Route 17, is exhilarating. At Fort Davis, route 17 joins route 118, the scenic and majestic Davis mountains scenic route. This 75-mile loop lies at an elevation of 6,700 feet. This is the highest publicly-accessible road in Texas. Along this scenic route one encounters the following landmarks, the Davis Mountains State Park, and the McDonald Observatory of the University of Texas. Route 17 passes through the center of Fort Davis and heads south towards Marfa. It is joined by the scenic route116 that goes past the Davis Mountains Resort and Mount Livermore, the highest peak in the Davis Mountains. The majestic and storied Big Bend National Park is just over three hours drive away.
The West Texas Human Rights Retreat (WTHR) will be run by a board of trustees made up of eminent persons from West Texas. The Retreat will work with American embassies around the world to identify human rights fellows and facilitate their travel to West Texas.
Many Americans take freedom of speech and expression for granted. They do not appreciated their constitutional rights. WTHR shall work in collaboration with educational institutions in West Texas to enrich student knowledge of human rights, world politics, and global literature. WTHR human rights fellows will give talks and hold workshops and readings in high schools, colleges, and universities in West Texas to further appreciation of human rights and freedom of expression.
The WTHR was founded and incorporated as a non-profit in the State of Texas by Dr Leo Eko, Ph.D. (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale). He is a professor of Media Law and International Communication at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. His area of specialization is international communication, journalism and human rights.
At Texas Tech University, he has led an international symposium on Journalism and Human Rights since 2021.
Before moving to Texas Tech University in 2015, he was a tenured associate professor of Journalism, Media Law, Comparative and International Communication at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa from 2003 to 2015.
Before that, he was a an assistant and associate professor of Media Law and International Communication at The University of Maine, Orono, Maine, from 1997-2003.
Dr. Eko is an award-winning author who has published five books on comparative media law, human rights,and freedom of expression.
Before he entered academia, he was a journalist, editor/translator and documentary producer in Cameroon, West Africa and Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa.
Writing is often the only means of expression that refugees and political exiles have. Since 2020, The West Texas Human Rights Retreat has collaborated with Cameroon Anglophone refugees in Nigerian refugee camps to create the "Voices in the Wilderness: Refugee Writers' Project." This project collects refugee stories for future publication.
Education is the only way out of the desperate hopelessness of refugee camps. The West Texas Human Rights Retreat has, with the partnership of Global Education Mission (GEM) of Lubbock, Texas, helped to provide desks and exercise books for refugee children at the Adagom I Cameroon Refugee Settlement in Nigeria, West Africa
Images of desks provided for children in Cameroon Anglophone refugee camps in Nigeria.
From 2010, the Eko Foundation for the Furtherance of Literature, a program of the Retreat, collaborated with the Cameroon Anglophone Writers' Association to promote Anglophone literature in Cameroon. The project was unfortunately disrupted by the Anglophone crisis
The West Texas Human Rights Retreat partners with the Global Education Mission of Lubbock, Texas, to promote refugee education projects in Nigeria, West Africa.
The West Texas Human Rights Retreat is also a partner with GEM in the GEM/CHRDA project, which founded the Cameroon Institute of Technology (CIT)
The West Texas Human Rights Retreat collaborates with the Center for Human Rights and Development in Africa (CHRDA) to promote human rights and human rights education in Cameroon, West Africa.
Your support and contributions will enable us to invite victims of human rights violations to our annual human rights retreat in West Texas.