HRE USA: A national network dedicated to building a culture of respect for human rights
Dear HRE USA Partner,

In this issue, please find:
  • April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month
  • Monisha Bajaj Honored for HRE Work
  • HRE USA Website a Closer Look!!
  • Here and Now Bulletin: "Black Lives Matter"
  • April Events at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
  • CAPAC Update
    • Call to Action! Take the Next Step for Human Rights Education
  • From the Regions
    • Southeast Region
“The Last Survivor”
April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. Honor victims of genocide by watching the "The Last Survivor" (22 mins).

"The Last Survivor is an award winning documentary that presents the stories of four Survivors and their struggle to make sense of tragedy by working to educate a new generation, inspire tolerance and spark a civic response to mass atrocity crimes. The film follows survivors of four genocides and mass atrocities - The Holocaust, Rwanda, Darfur and Congo" (The Last Survivor Website). An educational resource guide is available.

Check out the HRW Student Task Force website for more Genocide Awareness and Prevention resources.

Monisha Bajaj Honored for HRE Work

HRE USA partner, Dr. Monisha Bajaj, who directs the MA program in Human Rights Education University of San Francisco, has recently been recognized for her outstanding work in HRE. The American Education Research Association has awarded her their Ella Baker/Septima Clark Human Rights Award. Established in memory of two giants of the Black Freedom Movement, the award honors a scholar whose work embodies the connection between curriculum studies and human rights. In addition, Teachers College, Columbia University, Dr. Bajaj's alma mater, has honored her with their Early Career Award for distinguished alumni.

Dr. Bajaj is the editor of the Encyclopedia of Peace Education and author of Schooling for Social Change: The Rise and Impact of Human Rights Education in India (winner of the Jackie Kirk Outstanding Book Award of the Comparative & International Education Society), as well as numerous articles. She has also developed curriculum -- particularly related to peace education, human rights, anti-bullying efforts, and sustainability--for non-profit organizations and inter-governmental organizations, such as UNICEF and UNESCO.

HRE USA Website: A Closer Look!!
HRE USA launched its new website on December 10th! Please check it out at Please note the change in language from "member" to "partner." We've made this change in order to better represent the collaborative nature of our relationship.

You will still receive this newsletter if you registered as a member, however, in order to participate in the "partners only" section of the website you will need to re-register as a partner. To re-register as a partner please click here.

Please feel free to engage in the "Partners' Forum," a place for partners to engage in discussion about current human rights issues and events.

Key Features in the New Site:
1. Materials for Teaching Learning and Action - Find materials and lesson plans for different human rights education topics such as: Bullying, Children's Rights, Civil and Political Rights and much more!
2. Get Started With Human Rights Education, frames ways to develop lesson plans for teaching about human rights.
3. Educational Resources - Find a listing educational resources for human rights education, as well as monthly bulletins on various topics related to human rights.
4. News and Updates - Find news and Updates on events and key human rights issues nationally and from around the world.
5. Partners Forum - Engage in discussion with other partners about human rights issues and issues in human rights education. Please note: You must be a partner to join a discussion, so join today!
6. Ways to Get Involved with HRE USA and with Human Rights Education. Find out about HRE USA projects and how you can get involved.
7. HRE USA Regions - Find your region and regional coordinator
8. Events - Find Human Rights Education events happening around the country.

Important to note: We were able to re-design the website due to a generous grant from the Puffin Foundation.

Human Rights Here and Now - HRE USA mini-publication
This is an abbreviated resource for educators addressing a contemporary issue from a human rights perspective. It offers selected resources for teaching and learning about that issue.

Black Lives Matter, the latest edition of Human Rights Here and Now, is now available on the HRE USA website: Compiled by Andrea Spero McEvoy, Director of Education at The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, it addresses the on-going national outrage against institutional racism, police brutality and extrajudicial killings of Black men, women and children as a human rights issue. Included in this resource are lesson plans, films, articles about teaching Black Lives Matter, and resources and library guides for teachers. An excellent way to bring contemporary event to your classroom from a human rights perspective.

April Events at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center is proud to present the 2015 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture by Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.  
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts
University of Connecticut, Storrs
Free Admission
In conjunction with Kerry Kennedy’s lecture, the Dodd Center will also host a 2-day teacher workshop, featuring the RFK Human Rights Speak Truth To Power curriculum.  
April 10 & 11, 2015
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
University of Connecticut, Storrs
The workshop is free and open to pre- and in-service teachers.  

Collaborative Action, Policy & Advocacy Committee (CAPAC) Update

Take the Next Step for Human Rights Education!

The National Council for the Social Studies has taken the first step –
declaring in an official position statement that:
Social studies educators in the United States have a special opportunity and a responsibility to contribute to this growing movement to build understanding and respect for the essential rights of all by integrating the fundamental concepts of universal human rights and international humanitarian law into a nurturing and yet rigorous education that prepares students to be compassionate, aware, and effective citizens and to work together to build a more livable world.
Now, what can you do – what can we do – as HRE USA partners to move this movement for universal  human rights education forward?
Some Ideas:
  • Ask human rights-related organizations with which you are connected to issue public statements commending NCSS on its position statement and asking all US states and territories to take immediate action to incorporate HRE and IHL into state educational standards.
  • Take the NCSS Position Statement to your local school board and ask them to provide for human rights education in the district’s schools.
  • Connect with your state affiliate of the National Council for the Social Studies; host a session on HRE at their state meetings; ask them to support incorporating Human Rights Education and International Humanitarian Law Education into your state social studies standards.
  • Share the excitement – promote the effectiveness of HRE’s participatory methodology and core principles at local, state, regional national educational gatherings.
  • Find out when your state Department of Education and/or State Board of Education will begin the next revision of your state’s social studies standards. Become a spokesperson for Human Rights Education in that process.
  • Have coffee with a legislator you like and ask her/him to sponsor a resolution or a bill supporting teaching about human rights and about the Geneva Conventions in your state’s public schools.
  • Talk to your school district’s curriculum development specialists; offer to work with them to bring engaging, content-rich human rights and IHL lessons into existing social studies classes.
  • Talk to your child’s or grandchild’s teacher (elementary) or social studies teacher (middle and high); ask them to include HRE/IHL in their social studies classes and introduce them to the wonderful HRE resources available through the HRE USA website.
  • Reach out to student organizations (student government, Amnesty school chapters, etc.) to gain support for HRE in school settings.
  • Visit your nearest college or school of education and ask the dean or director how their teacher preparation program is preparing social studies teachers to teach about human rights and humanitarian law.
  • Write an article or an op-ed about the importance of human rights education that references the NCSS Position Statement.
  • Keep following the news through the HRE USA newsletter and explore more ways to bring human rights education into the classroom at every grade level.
Have additional ideas? Please let CAPAC know so that we can share them with the rest of HRE USA! Also, if you take any of the above steps, or other steps, please let us know what you did and what results you received, so that we can provide assistance and follow-up as desired. Contact: Adam Stone.

(Adam Stone HRE USA Co-Vice Chair)
HRE USA's Collaborative Action, Policy & Advocacy Committee (CAPAC) meets by teleconference, for approximately one hour, on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 2:00 pm Eastern standard time. Members receive updates about the various projects CAPAC has undertaken, discuss issues relevant to those projects, and explore possible new projects. At present, CAPAC is providing support and technical assistance to the following ongoing action, policy, and advocacy projects:

(1) Creation in New Jersey of a Human Rights Education Curriculum Integration Guide

CAPAC anticipates getting the first set of lesson plans in draft form by early January 2015, and at that time Bill Fernekes will begin the review process. We are looking for additional authors, and Bill will be making a presentation to the NJ Social Studies Supervisors Association in late January to ask for their help in locating interested authors.
If you are interested in writing lessons, please email Bill at:

(2) Participation in the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Human Rights Education Community of Interest.

(3) Student-led initiatives from the members of the Human Rights Watch Student Task Force (HRW STF). There are 13 STF chapters in Los Angeles high schools coordinating children’s rights camps. Students are sending letters to the President urging Senate ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

(4) Development of a youth-engagement activity to raise awareness of HRE USA among students and to bring more students into HRE USA.

(5) Collaboration with Amnesty International USA for "Becoming A Human Rights Friendly School" (for more information, please contact: Kirby Edmonds).

(6) Development of a comprehensive plan to proactively approach US states and territories (as those entities begin to revise their educational standards) to encourage those entities to integrate HRE into any new or revised standards.

For further information, or to join CAPAC, please contact CAPAC coordinator Adam E. Stone at

From the Regions
Restorative Justive, Abolishing the Death Penalty in Florida
Laura Findley, Southeast Regional Representative for HRE USA, announces a day of education, planning and action on Restorative Justice, Abolishing the Death Penalty in Florida (which has the highest percentage of wrongly convicted death row prisoners in the USA, i.e. 30%). Sponsored by the South Florida Consortium for Restorative Justice, it will be held April 10 at Barry University in Miami. For more information see!conference/c6kj.



To promote human dignity, justice, and peace by cultivating an expansive, vibrant base of support for Human Rights Education (HRE) in the United States.

For more information, visit

HREUSA Committees Members Can Join:

Collaborative Action, Policy and Advocacy Committee (CAPAC)
For more information or to join, please contact: Adam Stone.

Membership Growth and Engagement Committee
For more information or to join, please contact: Kirby Edmonds.

Fund Development Committee
For more information or to join, please contact: Bill Fernekes.

Contact Your Regional Representative:

Start Your Own Region
To start your own region, please contact Regional Coordinator: Nancy Flowers.

2014-2015 HRE USA Steering Committee:

Gloria Alter

Social Studies for Social Responsibility
DeKalb, IL
Rosemary Blanchard Vice-Co-Chair

Alburquerque, NM
Pam Bruns

Student Task Force
Human Rights Watch
Los Angeles, CA
Kirby Edmonds (Co-Chair)

Dorothy Cotton Institute
Ithaca, NY
Bill Fernekes

Rutgers University
Flemington, NJ
Rick Halperin

Dallas, TX
Sarah Herder

Advocates for Human Rights
Minneapolis, MN
Page Hersey

University of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
Azadeh Osanloo

Department of Educational
Leadership & Administration NMSU
Las Cruces, NM

Glenn Mitoma

Director Dodd Research Center
UConn-Storrs, CT.
Edwin O’Brien

Former Executive Director
Street Law, Inc.
Washington, DC
Karen Robinson-Cloete

RFK Center
New York City
Kristi Rudelius-Palmer

University of Minnesota Human Rights Center
Minneapolis, MN
Sandy Sohcot-Co-Chair

The World As It Could Be
San Francisco, CA
David Shiman

University of Vermont
Burlington, VT
Adam Stone-Vice-Co-Chair

Carbondale, Illinois
Felisa Tibbitts

Human Rights Education Associates
Cambridge, MA
Patricia Wright

National Education Association
Washington, DC

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