Some of the world’s most prominent human-rights leaders honored the late Yuri Orlov, professor emeritus of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, in a webinar Nov. 18 at 10 a.m.
Former students and physics colleagues of Orlov also participated in the webinar, which was an opportunity to learn about his life and legacy, as well as what it means to be an activist and dissident, organizers said.
Orlov, who died Sept. 27 at age 96, founded the Moscow Helsinki Group, which inspired human-rights monitoring groups throughout the world, including Human Rights Watch. Among the webinar participants were two of that organization’s founding members – Aryeh Neier and Jeri Laber – along with Moscow-based activist Tanya Lokshina and Christine Vlasic ’12, who was a student in Orlov’s popular seminar, Human Rights and Government.
Born in Moscow, Orlov pursued a distinguished career in physics until his activities in support of human rights led to his arrest by the KGB, prison, hard labor, and exile to Siberia. Deported to the United States in 1986, he continued his human rights activity and, at Cornell, resumed his physics research and later taught physics and human rights. He retired as Professor Emeritus of Physics at the age of 91.
The webinar was part of Global Cornell’s International Education Week.