ARTICLE 26 Amnesty International USA Human Rights Education Program February 2004 - - - - - - - - - - - - Dear Educator Activists, It is hard to believe that we are already two months into 2004 - the last year of the UN Decade for Human Rights Education. It is in the spirit of the Decade, that we dedicate this issue of Article 26 to all of you, all of us, who are making a difference one student, one person, one place at a time. There is so much to celebrate, so many amazing contributions and yet, as we all know, so much more to be done. I find it hard to say that now more than ever we need human rights education because throughout history, we know of too many truly heinous and unbelievable acts of cruelty, hatred and violence...too many cases of people being denied their basic fundamental right...too many "others" who people feel they can treat without respect or dignity... That said, the times are particularly troubling because this is our time and we will either act now or let history reflect the results of our inaction. So, in celebration of those who have taken up the call, who have committed themselves to a world that respects and values the dignity and worth of all people, who have helped lay the cornerstones for this important work, this issue is for you. While it is not possible to recognizing all the great people involved with this effort or all of the work that is happening, we have decided to highlight just a couple people and some exciting news to usher in 2004. - - - - As the letter started referencing the UN Decade, it is only right that we first recognize Shula Koenig. Inspiring and challenging us at every step of the way, Shula has truly served as a driving force within the human rights movement and to that end, was recognized by the UN as a recipient of the 2003 UN prize in the field of Human Rights. In recognizing Shula, the UN noted: To that end, Ms. Koenig had -- advocated global action at the community level for societal change through human rights education for social and economic transformation with a gender perspective, as relevant to people's daily lives. -- worked tirelessly and successfully to have the UN declare a Decade for Human rights educations ; and -- to support the Decade organized consultations and workshops on human rights education as a strategy for human, social and economic development with educators, human rights advocates and community leaders in more than 60 countries; -these for the purpose of developing critical thinking about political, civil, economic, social and cultural concerns within a human rights framework that leads to action for social justice. -- initiated the "Human Rights Cities" project, which is supported by the United Nations Development Programme as a three-year global programme to develop 30 human rights cities and train 500 young community leaders as human rights educators to strengthen the holistic vision of human rights as a way of life, involve civil society in promoting human rights and strengthen democracy as a delivery system for human rights. - - - - From within the ranks of Amnesty International, we would like to highlight the work of Cosette Thompson, one of the founding voices and contributors to the growth of human rights education. Cosette was fundamental in creating the national human rights education network. Through her hard work and vision, the Western Region Human Rights Educators Network became active throughout the West coast in conference and event development, as well as securing their place as a resource for western educators. Amongst many other groundbreaking achievements, she produced one of the first curricula on torture and human rights for use in public schools. Cosette will be retiring; we will miss her as a staff colleague but hope that her commitment to and understanding of human rights education will continue to influence and inform our work within the US and elsewhere. - - - - On the exciting news front, AIUSA is thrilled to announce that the Amnesty International school for Human Rights has moved into the final stage of becoming a small, theme-based school in New York City. This effort has been incredibly rewarding at so many levels, perhaps the at the top of that list is the experience of working with a group of very dedicated, inspiring and intelligent people. In the words of one of our student team members: "I wanted to thank you all for giving me this experience and also for making it so enjoyable. What I said at the presentation was true. All of you have encouraged me to speak and act, which is fitting since that is what we want students to do at our school. This experience has made me feel more valued as a thinker because of the way my ideas were received, and more valuable as a person because of the impact I know that this project will have. Sitting at the table in Tutta Pasta it really struck me how all along this process I have not been treated like a younger person. Not only have all you intelligent and talented adults listened to me, you have constantly praised me. I have been treated like an a equal. I have felt listened to respected, appreciated, cared for. Never before have my words and actions had potential to have such real and powerful consequences. My self confidence is boosted, and I am ready to face college." Emma Alabaster, NYC public school student I share this with you because I believe that every person should feel this way, especially young people leaving our schools. That is the school that we want to create for the many young people who have so much to offer. Young people who can and need to be the future agents of change in this country. In the final analysis, our work is about contributing to and building a culture that respects, values and defends the rights and the dignity of all people during the good times and the bad. Thanks to all of you for this... In solidarity, Karen - - - - Lesson Plans: Human Rights in Haiti http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/ctt.asp?u=305607&l=8119 - - - - Great cause. Great books. During March, Penguin Publishing (USA) will be donating 10% of their net online sales to Amnesty International. Their entire catalog of more than 30,000 titles is now available directly from their website. That means everything - from Cervantes to Spot the Dog, Al Franken to Aung San Suu Kyi. http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/ctt.asp?u=305607&l=8135 ======== North American Human Rights Education listserv ======== Send mail intended for the list to <email@example.com>. Archives of the list can be found at: http://www.hrea.org/lists/hr-education-na/markup/maillist.php If you have problems (un)subscribing, contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>. **You are welcome to reprint, copy, archive, quote or re-post this item, but please retain the original and listserv source.
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