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March 2016
"The culture of human rights must be a popular culture if it is to have the strength to withstand the blows that will inevitably come. Human-rights culture must be a popular culture if it is to be able to innovate and to be truly owned at the national and sub-national levels. "Education" is the word we use to describe this process, and it deserves more attention. We must work harder at communicating the human rights story through all available means, not least electronic media. Security will be enhanced as we fill in the lacunae of ignorance, empower the dispossessed and enable them to recognize and claim their rights." 
~ Sergio Vieira de Mello
To promote human dignity, justice, and peace by cultivating an expansive, vibrant base of support for Human Rights Education (HRE) in the United States.
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>> Steering Committee
Everyone can play a part in promoting HRE in the U.S.
Human rights education resources at your fingertips.
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>> School-wide involvement


Taking Stock and Next Steps National Summit: HRE Part I

HRE USA, the U.S. HR Network, and the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law warmly invite public participation in the first in a series of events to revisit the Stakeholder Report on the Status of Human Rights Education. This consultative report was prepared for the second cycle of the U.S. Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and can be found along with an executive summary and explanation about the UPR at
Friday, March 25th 
2 pm-5 pm

UDC  David A. Clarke School of Law
4340 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC 

Light refreshments will be served

Panelists and participants will dialogue about existing practices, accomplishments and strategies for promoting human rights in curriculum, in teacher training, and in our schools and universities. Presenters include: American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International, HRE USA, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and the U.S. Human Rights Network.

>> Download Flyer

HRE USA Regional Representative Volunteer Opportunities

HRE USA has a national network of representatives who serve as contact persons for human rights educators in their region, state or city.  There are currently two openings availa­­ble:

In this important center for universities and organizations, HRE USA needs a second representative to share responsibilities with our current representative, Alicia Guajardo. Besides an interest in furthering human rights education, some of these qualities would be an asset: experience in advocacy and/or educational policy, familiarity with potential ally organizations in the DC area, familiarity with DC schools and colleges, communication skills.
 Chicago is an important urban center where HRE USA has not yet had - and very much needs - a representative or co-representatives. Ideally our representative(s) would be familiar with potential ally organizations, schools, and colleges in the Chicago area, as well as having communication skills and a commitment to furthering human rights education.
Regional Representative Job Description:  The regional representative’s job is not onerous (No meetings! no reports! no homework!):
  • Welcome each new HRE USA partners in your region with a personal message and an electronic “Introduction kit” to introduce the organization.
  • Serve as a "live-and-in-person" contact for area members to turn to with ideas, questions, and concerns.
  • Provide HRE USA with an overview of our partners’ interests, needs, and concerns so that the network can better serve them.
  • Seek opportunities for adding new individual and organizational partners.
For more information and/or to nominate yourself for these positions, please contact Nancy Flowers, Coordinator for HRE USA Regional Representatives:


Students are Collatoral Damage in Immigration Raids

by Sabrina Holcomb
National Education Association (NEA)

For many of America’s most vulnerable students, the newest round of immigration raids by the Department of Homeland Security is not just news but the stuff of nightmares. The nationwide raids are sending shockwaves through a population of students who already suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. As deportation fears rise, some schools are reporting a drop in attendance.

Concerned educators and immigration advocates are doing what they can to help students and their families through the trauma caused by the latest raids. Hundreds of educators and school administrators sent a formal letter to DHS denouncing home raids, some of which have been conducted without warrants or consent.

Member activists are working with NEA partner United We Dream to circulate their “know your rights” flier and other resources telling families what to do if ICE agents come to their homes. And Dreamers are posting videos to warn families when ICE trucks are seen in their neighborhoods. Meanwhile, educators who are on the front lines are trying to do their jobs while reassuring frightened students. 

 Learn More and Take Action


Are All Muslims Terrorists?

by David Sheridan
National Education Association (NEA)

It started with the inflammatory ads on the sides of buses. Millionaire Pamela Geller had purchased anti-Muslim ads for 100 city buses in San Francisco. A court ruled that for the transit authority to reject the ads would be a violation of Geller’s First Amendment right of free speech. 
The ads showed pictures of ISIS atrocities and proclaimed, “It’s not Islamophobia. It’s Islamorealism.” The message was as subtle as a sledgehammer: all Muslims are Jihadist terrorists.

Of course students saw the ads. And they brought their questions into social studies teacher Fakhra Shah’s classroom at Mission High School. She saw this as a teachable moment.

Shah knows first hand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of anti-Muslim slurs and stereotyping. A Muslim who grew up in the Bay Area, she’s experienced them her whole life. The discussion she led among her students about Islam emphasized the cultural and ethnic diversity of the people around the world who practice Islam. It went well.

Says one of Shah’s Muslim students: “My teacher facilitated a discussion about it in our class. It took away the fear. I was so moved by the respect and understanding our (school’s) Latino, Black, White, and Asian Americans showed toward Muslims.”

The bullying and harassment of Muslim students in schools across the nation has increased sharply over the last year, according to a survey conducted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Shah says the tools she has acquired to teach about racism, sexism and homophobia have proven useful in dealing with hatred of Muslims. In addition, she has developed a Lesson and Power Point specifically on Islamophobia, and has shared them with her colleagues.

 Read full article
>>  Download Shah's Lesson Plan
>>  Download Shah's Presentation


Bringing Human Rights Education to US Classrooms: Exemplary Models from Elementary Grades to University

Book review by Nancy Flowers

Bringing Human Rights Education to US Classrooms by HRE USA partners Susan Katz and Andrea Spero manages to be both inspirational and practical. The authors have collected ten outstanding examples of real-life HRE, and it is the voices of these dedicated teachers and their students that bring HRE to life in this book. 

What unites these disparate experiences of HRE is the commitment of each teacher to not only teach about human rights, but also in and for human rights. They create environments where everyone’s rights are respected and learners are empowered to take responsibility for rights, respecting and upholding the rights of others. All but two teachers use the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a principal tool, and all focus on making rights relevant to the lived experience of their students. 

>> Read full review
>> Buy the book

Toward a Just Society: The Personal Journeys of Human Rights Educators

Book review by Nancy Flowers

In Towards A Just Society, twenty-five educators from around the world (including several partners of HRE USA) respond to the question: How and why did you commit yourself to human rights education? Their highly personal narratives recount the diverse ideological perspectives and life experiences that have shaped their work in this growing field.  >> Read full review

The book will be launched at the Teaching the World Forum Event (see below for details) 

Available in in both Spanish and English. 

>> Buy the ebook

Human Rights and Schooling: An Ethical Framework for Teaching for Social Justice

Human Rights and Schooling  by Audrey Osler explores the potential of human rights frameworks to support grassroots struggles for justice and examines the impact that human rights and child rights education can make in the lives of students, including the most marginalized. Bringing scholarship and practice together, the text uses concrete examples to illustrate the links between principles and ideals and actual efforts to realize social justice in and through education. Osler anchors her examination of human rights in the U.N Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training. 

>> Learn more and purchase

Youth Impact for Peace: Monitoring Evaluation, and Learning in Six European Organisations

Youth organizations all over the world are faced with on-going challenges concerning their monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) practices. To address this issue, the United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY) decided to engage in a long term project aimed at improving the MEL practices of youth peace organizations. This research is the result of the first phase of the project.

>> Learn more
>> Download report

NEA Wants Your Stories!
To engage, encourage, and empower other members, the National Education Association (NEA) publicizes accounts of NEA members who are "growing"  K-12 student activists by delivering human rights education in the classroom and encouraging students' active involvement in human rights/social justice  causes. NEA is also interested in chronicling your own recent involvement in a domestic human rights/social justice campaign or cause, particularly if it is related to public education or the students we serve.

>> Share your Story Now! Contact Patricia Wright
Call for Nominations:
2016 Triumph of the Spirit Award 

The Triumph of the Spirit Award is a premier honor recognizing accomplishment, innovation, and commitment in the work for human rights. The award is granted by the Embrey Human Rights Program (EHRP) at Southern Methodist University, every other year during a November ceremony.

The award celebrates individuals who seek to understand, promote, and defend human rights as responsible citizens of the world. The awards build awareness of pressing issues and encourage action with meaningful results. Consequently, recipients are intended to serve as beacons of hope to local, national, and global struggles for truth, justice, and dignity.

Two recipients are selected from the nomination pool during each cycle: a Global recipient working anywhere in the world, and a Dallas recipient working in the local North Texas region. In addition to the striking Triumph of the Spirit statue, each recipient receives a cash prize in the amount of $25,000 (for the Global recipient) or $5000 (for the Dallas recipient).

Application Deadline: April 1, 2016

>> Learn More and Download the Nomination Form

Teaching the World Forum
Friday, April 15, 2016

8:30AM - 3:00PM
Rutgers University
Douglass Student Center
100 George Street,
New Brunswick, NJ 

It is more urgent than ever that teachers prepare students to become global citizens who act responsibly in today’s global society.  Come to hear multiple perspectives on global education and human rights from teachers, teacher educators, administrators, students and community members.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Anita Yudkin, University of Puerto Rico and UNESCO Chair for Peace Education. 

Registration: $60
>> Learn more and register

Online Workshop: Exploring Crimes of War through Nanjing Atrocities


April 11-15, 2016

Facing History and Ourselves  is hosting a five-day online workshop to introduce content that will broaden your teaching of World War II beyond its usual European focus to include the Asia-Pacific theatre. Through the lens of an overlooked moment in history--the 1937 Nanjing Massacre when the Japanese Imperial Army brutally raped, tortured, and murdered thousands of Chinese men, women, and children--we will discuss universal questions relating to war crimes and human behavior in times of crisis, and explore post-war legal efforts to hold individuals and nations accountable. 
>> Learn more and register
10th International Conference on Conflict Resolution Education 

Building Stronger Communities Through Peace, Justice, and Security

June 8 - 13, 2016
Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio, USA

The 2016 conference builds upon prior conferences in 2004 - 2015 in Ohio and Virginia, which brought together government representatives from among the 50 states and around the globe and their non-governmental organization partners who have legislation or policies in conflict resolution education and related fields. The annual audience includes college/university educators and students, K-12 educators, prevention specialists, and state, local, national and international policy makers.
>> Learn more and register
Fighting Injustice through Human Rights Education (FIHRE)

June 16-19, 2016
Highlander Research and
Education Center
1959 Highlander Way
New Market, TN 37820

The USHRN's FIHRE program aims to share and equip movement leaders with strategies, standards, and tools to build a people-centered human rights movement. The program will cover:
  • core human rights principles with emphasis on developing and applying analyses inclusive of economic, social, cultural rights and the intersections of race, class, gender, gender identity, and sexuality;
  • human rights strategies for advancing domestic accountability and
  • strategic campaign development for a human rights agenda
Application Deadline: April 1, 2016

Speak Truth to Power Summer Programs

  • July 23-30, Los Angeles, CA
  • August 1-5, New York, NY
The Speak Truth To Power Theater Program merges human rights education with social justice theater to address the realities of oppression and create tools for liberation.  
>> Download Flyer

  • June 22, Washington, D.C.
  • July 18-19, July 25, and July 30, Los Angeles, CA
  • July 27-29, Austin, TX
  • August 2-4, New York, NY
The Speak Truth to Power Summer institute introduces participants to Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and the Speak Truth to Power programs.  The institute will deepen your understanding of Human Rights Education and pedagogy through active engagement in learning about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Human Rights Framework.
 >> Download Flyer
For more information about either of these programs, contact Karen Robinson