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December 2018
A national network dedicated to building a culture of human rights.

UDHR Still Relevant after Seven Decades


This coming Monday, December 10th marks the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

A milestone document in the global history of human rights that is as relevant today as it was when drafted seven decades ago. We now take for granted that such human rights standards can be used to hold our governments to account, but just 70 years ago there were no internationally recognized human rights norms at all. The very fact that the UDHR has stood the test of time is a testament to the enduring universality of its perennial values of equality, justice, and human dignity.

The promise of the UDHR, however, has yet to be fulfilled because, as all advocates know, human rights are not a given but rather require a continuous struggle to get and once that has been achieved to keep. In other words, it is down to us to promote its ethical vision as new forms of nationalism and populism threaten to challenge our world.  

At HRE USA we believe human rights education is key to ensuring a future in which all people's rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled.  Please consider supporting HRE-USA by making a tax-deductible contribution on our behalf to our fiscal sponsor, the Center for Transformative Action, a 501(c)3 organization. Your donation will allow us to continue to advocate for and further develop programming that supports human rights education across the United States.

In honor of the 70th Anniversary and to help everyone celebrate the gift of the UDHR, HRE USA has created this online resource kit. You can also join the international campaign to #Standup4humanrights. For ideas on what other teachers have done to make the UDHR relevant for students, see the section below on "Human Rights in the Classroom."


>> Join #StandUp4HumanRights campaign
>> Donate

2018 Winners of Edward O’Brien Award in HRE

Human Rights Educators USA (HRE USA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Edward O’Brien Award for Human Rights Education

Karen Robinson 

Karen Robinson of Speak Truth To Power, a project of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, is the recipient of the award for individual achievement in the field.


Marissa Guiterrez    arte-logo-e1541269525700.png

Marissa Gutiérrez will accept the organizational award on behalf of ARTE: Art and Resistance through Education.

The Ed O'Brien Award was established in 2015 in memory of Ed O’Brien, pioneer human rights educator, This year’s awards were formally presented on Monday, November 26, at Teacher's College of Columbia University in New York City.

>> Learn more



  UDHR Still Relevant Today


  O'Brien HRE Award Winners


  Survey on Hate in School


  Student Bill of Rights
  Teaching the UDHR in MN


  NCSS Honors 70 yrs of UDHR
  HRE2020 at UN
  Human Rights Video Contest
  Human Rights Essay Contest
  Human Rights Music Contest


 The Power of HRE Website
 Int' Journal of HRE
  Free Online HR Courses

  ICCPR Webinar
  Celebrate DC as HR City
  Fundraising Workshop
  Humane Education Summit
  CTAUN Conference 

Teaching Tolerance Educator Survey on Hate at School

Over the past year, Teaching Tolerance (TT) has been tracking media reports of hate incidents in schools, the kinds of incidents that make students feel unwelcome and unsafe—from swastika graffiti to racist social media posts—in U.S. schools. But these reports are likely just the tip of the iceberg. 

Beyond occasional news reports, TT has little solid information about how hate and bias are affecting classrooms and campuses. That’s where they need your help. 

Completing this survey is a concrete way you can take action to make schools across the country more inclusive and welcoming for all students. TT will analyze and report on the data, and highlight schools that are responding with courage as part of their ongoing work to counter hate in schools.

>> Take Survey

A Student-Created Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

Human Rights Watch Student Task Force

For 70 years the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) has provided a model for many national constitutions, especially for former colonial states that did not exist when the United Nations was established. The same has proved true for other institutions of all kinds. Palisades Charter High School in Pacific Palisades, California, may be the first high school in the United States to have used the UDHR to develop its own Student Bill Of Rights & Responsibilities.
In 2015 both students and teachers from “Pali” attended a Human Rights Education Institute sponsored by the Human Rights Watch Student Task Force, which has a student chapter at the school. As a result, the student group was inspired by the UDHR to draft their own school Bill of Rights, but with an insightful difference. They enumerated student’s rights but linked each with corresponding responsibilities. Based in part on the activity “Taking the Human Rights Temperature of Your School,” their bill of rights reflected an assessment of the inequalities in their community. For example, a major concern was the large number of commuting students, some of whom traveled an hour each way across Los Angeles, who were excluded from many extracurricular activities as a result:


Right 3. All students have the right to equal participation in the life of the school community, including its resources, activities, and information.

Responsibility: Students and faculty, and staff have the responsibility to plan activities inclusively so that all students may participate.    

The document went through many drafts, with the Human Rights Watch Student Task Force members collaborating with faculty and staff, for as the Preamble declares, “It is the job of the entire school community, including all teachers, students, faculty, staff, and other schools members, to protect and enforce these rights.”  By 2016 they had a solid document that is now introduced to both new faculty members and in-coming Freshman as part of their orientation to the school. Posters of the Student Bill Of Rights & Responsibilities hang all over the school Their document is short, only 18 articles, but its categories reflect student’s concerns for equal opportunity and fairness: Equality, Discipline, Education, Freedom of Expression.
Palisades Charter High School’s Student Bill Of Rights & Responsibilities would not have been possible without human rights education for both students and faculty. The community assessments and drafting of the document were all based on student leadership and knowledge fostered by their engagement in the Human Rights Watch Student Task Force. When students approached faculty, the teachers themselves had the human rights knowledge to understand and support what the students were trying to do.
Just as “Pali” students were first inspired by the UDHR, it is to be hoped that their document will inspire other schools to create their own bills of rights and responsibilities!

>> Read the full text of the Palisades Charter High School Bill of Rights
>> Learn more and see the event slideshow


Teaching the UDHR in Austin, MN

Andrea Cohen of the Iowa United Nations Association visited the Riverland Community College in Austin, MN and the local ABC6 TV was there to cover the event.

NCSS Honors 70 Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Right

In honor of the 70th Anniversary of the UDHR, the National Council for Social Studies has issued a statement recognizing the UDHR as a significant historical milestone in the development of a global civic culture based on respect, fairness, and dignity for all.

In the statement, NCSS renewed their commitment to promoting the principles and practices embodied in the UDHR in all their operations and activities, in order “to better foster the ability of our students to become advocates for social justice as citizens within their local and global communities.”

The statement urges members to engage with the NCSS Human Rights Education Community in building human rights awareness into una-usa eventthe educational experience of every student. NCSS also commends the Human Rights Education Community for their ongoing advocacy for the integration of human rights education into social studies education at every level, and for sharing teaching and learning resources to help educators. Participation in the Human Rights Education Community is open to all NCSS members.

Also, check out the latest edition of the Social Studies Professional from NCSS
that focuses on HRE, including an excellent feature interview with HRE USA's own Rosemary Blanchard.

>> Read the full statement
>> Read the Social Studies Professional

HRE 2020 at 39th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Geneva, Switzerland – The United Nations Human Rights Council convened its 39th regular session in Geneva from 10 to 28 September 2018, with human rights education on the agenda.

Representing HRE 2020 at the Human Rights Council’s 39th Session was Sneh Aurora, Advisor to HRE 2020 and member of HRE USA’s International Advisory Board.
At the Session, on 27 September 2018, the Human Rights Council confirmed that the fourth phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education (2020-2024) will focus on youth, with special emphasis on education and training inequality, human rights and non-discrimination, and inclusion and respect for diversity with the aim of building inclusive and peaceful societies. It was also decided to align the fourth phase with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and specifically with target 4.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals. 
Parallel to the Human Rights Council session, Platform of member states, NGOs and intergovernmental agencies organized a number of side events debating and highlighting developments relating to human rights education and training. 

HRE USA is a member of HRE 2020, a global civil society coalition aimed to support and strengthen the monitoring and implementation of international human rights education commitments. Working with civil society, government and international organizations, HRE 2020 promotes human rights education through international (UN) advocacy, capacity building, and resource development.

>> Learn more

Speak Truth to Power Video Contest



In partnership with the American Federation of Teachers and the Tribeca Film Institute, the 8th annual Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Speak Truth To Power Video Contest invites middle and high school students to create short videos that highlight the work of a human rights defender. In creating these short videos, students can become champions of change in their communities.

The Grand Prize winning video will premiere at the NYC Tribeca Film Festival in April 2019.

Deadline: February 17, 2019

>> Learn more

AFSA National High School Essay Contest

AFSA’s annual contest has challenged high school students from around the nation to explore and research some of the most difficult questions related to the Foreign Service and American diplomacy. This year, the contest asks pointedly "why diplomacy and peacebuilding matter." The United States has many tools to advance and defend its foreign policy and national security interests around the world—from diplomatic approaches pursued by members of the Foreign Service, to the range of options available to the U.S. military. In countries affected by or vulnerable to violent conflict, peacebuilding tools are important additions to the national security toolkit.

Deadline: March 15, 2019

>> Learn more

Speak Up, Sing Out! Human Rights Music Contest


In collaboration with the GRAMMY Museum, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights invites students to write and produce original songs that speak out against human rights abuses. The format is open to any genre of music.

The Grand Prize winning songwriter will participate in a GRAMMY-related event.

Deadline: May 12, 2019

>> Learn more

The Power of Human Rights Education Website

The Power of Human Rights Education
is open web resource on human rights education recently launched on 18 September 2018 at a side event to the HRC session, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the UDHR and to contribute to the goals of the World Programme for Human Rights Education. The website promotes human rights education through a visual exhibition and a series of films (Path to Dignity), as well as inspirations to take action. The site was developed by HRE 2020, Soka Gakkai International, NGO Working Group on HRE and Learning, and the Platform of member states for Human Rights Education and Training, with thanks to the OHCHR. 

>> Learn more  

International Journal of Human Rights Education

The International Journal of Human Rights Education (IJHRE) is a peer-reviewed, online, open-access journal that was launched in 2017 with its inaugural issue.  

Volume 2 of the journal is now available.  

Hosted by the University of San Francisco’s Gleeson Library and Geschke Resource Center, the IJHRE provides the global movement for human rights education with a dynamic and democratic platform for debates, ideas, and lessons from engaged scholarship and practice. The IJHRE is an independent journal dedicated to the examination of the theory, research, and practice central to the field of human rights education. The aim of this journal is to serve as a central location for critical thought in the field and to energize new efforts in research and praxis.

>> Read journal

Free Human Rights Courses

From the Syrian refugee crisis to the West Africa Ebola outbreak, humanitarian emergencies have reached unprecedented dimensions and proportions. As the need for humanitarian aid grows, how can efforts to alleviate human suffering evolve with it?

In this free course launched by Harvard, participants will learn the principles guiding humanitarian response to modern emergencies, and the challenges faced in the field today.  

>> Learn more and register

Learn about the laws that govern war and armed conflict and how international humanitarian law protects civilians and vulnerable groups against war crimes.

The University Leiden is offering this free online course in International Humanitarian Law in Theory and Practise. The self-paced course, which is taught by well-known instructors such as Prof. Dr. Robert Heinsch, Dr. Emma Irving and Dr. Giulia Pinzauti from the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, takes approximately five hours per week to complete.

>> Learn more and register

Free Webinar on the ICCPR

Event Details:

Date: Thursday, December 6
Time: 1 pm (EST)
Location: Online Webinar
Cost: FREE

Join the US Human Rights Network for a discussion on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR} and how Civil society and Indigenous Peoples can engage and contribute to the List of Issues Prior to Reporting, which will form the basis for the U.S. Government ‘s periodic report to the Human Right Committee.  The presentation will last 40 minutes followed by a 20 minute Q & A.

Background: The U.S. has agreed to receive from the UN Human Rights Committee a List of Issues Prior to Reporting, which will form the basis for the U.S. Government’s periodic report to the Committee. The Human Rights Committee was established to monitor the implementation of the ICCPR. U.S. Civil Society organizations and Indigenous Peoples can submit issues in the form of questions or recommendations that can be considered for inclusion within the List of Issues Prior to Reporting. The deadline for submissions is January 14, 2019.

To register, RSVP to and you will receive a Webex link via email a few days before the webinar.

Celebrate DC’s 10th Anniversary as a Human Rights City


Date: December 14, 2018 
Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Location: ONE DC Black Workers & Wellness Center (BWWC), 2500 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20020

The American Friends Service Committee’s DC Peace and Economic Justice Program and ONE DC are excited to celebrate DC’s 10th Anniversary as a Human Rights City with you on December 14th!  You’re invited to help launch the new DC Human Rights City Alliance in its first call to action for the next 10 years of human rights work. 


6:00 pm   Open house with food and drinks
7:00 pm   Speeches by AFSC General Secretary Joyce Ajlouny, ONE DC’s Maurice Cook, and DC Councilmember Mary Cheh
7:30 pm  Human Rights Poetry Performance by Dwayne B. Lawson, aka the Crochet Kingpin and Morgan Butler, better known as Momo the Mermaid. Both poets are local Busboys & Poets performers!

This event is free and open to the public. No RSVP required. 

>> Learn more

Fundraising For Human Rights Workshop


Tuesday, January 15th 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Tuesday, January 22th 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Tuesday, January 29th 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Location: Interchurch Center - 475 Riverside Drive, 3rd Floor, New York, NY
Cost: $395 Early bird rate of $345 for those who register by December 14th!

This three-day workshop teaches the practical skills of fundraising, including a comprehensive overview of charitable giving; various types of fundraising appeals; the elements of a grant proposal; and prospect research resources. Participants will learn to select appropriate fundraising approaches for their work, how to craft a compelling case for financial support, how to write an effective grant proposal and how to research and identify prospective donors. Participants will also receive feedback on a fundraising case statement, a proposal and budget outline, and draft donor list.

>> Learn more and register


Humane Education Summit


When: February 5-7, 2019
Where: Virtual 
Cost: FREE

This FEE-FREE virtual speaker series organized by the Humane Education Coalition will bring together education professionals in human rights, animal protection, and environmental ethics to learn, share, and network

The summit will feature unique speaker sessions and facilitated discussions from more than 45 humane education experts.  Participants will learn new strategies and tools for introducing, incorporating, and enhancing educational programs, and they'll discover opportunities for building cross-cultural connections and solving challenges.​

The Humane Education Coalition is currently seeking event sponsors. To be part of this special event to support educators around the world, click here

>> Learn more and register

20th CTAUN Conference at the United Nations

EVENT DETAILS: Sunrise view from space on Planet Earth. South America zone. World in black Universe in stars. High detailed 3D Render animation. Realistic world globe. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

When: Friday, April 5, 2019
Where: United Nations, New York, NY
Cost: $15-35 

The 20th Annual Committee on Teaching about the United Nations (CTAUN) Conference will be held on April 5, 2019, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. 

The theme for this year's conference is:
"Our Planet, Our Crisis - What Now?"

Climate change is the defining issue of our time – and we are at a defining moment. If we do not change course by 2020, we could miss our chance to avoid the disastrous consequences of runaway climate change. The time for ambitious #ClimateAction is now.

~ UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Conference Registration opens October 21, 2018. This conference will highlight major issues affecting our environment, and showcase efforts underway by UN agencies, governments, NGOs and individuals in finding solutions.  Special emphasis will be on the role of educators in raising awareness and as always we will provide resources for use in the classroom.  

>> Learn more and register

Human Rights Educators USA is a national network that strives to promote human dignity, justice, and peace by cultivating an expansive, vibrant base of support for Human Rights Education in the United States.   >> Learn more 
HRE USA is a project of the Center for Transformative Action
Copyright © 2018 Human Rights Educators USA, All rights reserved.

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