[***This message was orginally posted to the <firstname.lastname@example.org> list, Mod.***] [This article has been excerpted.] TAKING NOTE OF HUMAN RIGHTS By Samah Farah 13.2.01 (Christian Science Monitor): They're just words on a page. But when they're the harrowing account of a woman who fled genital mutilation, or the thoughts of someone working with victims of police brutality, they could nudge students out of complacency. That's the hope of Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, who has just launched a curriculum that will be distributed to some 10,000 high schools and colleges. "I don't believe people are moved to action when they see horror," Ms. Kennedy Cuomo says. "They're moved to action when they see courage in the face of horror." A longtime human-rights activist, Kennedy Cuomo worked with Amnesty International to create the curriculum. It's the most recent addition to her broader initiative, "Speak Truth to Power" - an umbrella term for a web site, a theater production, and a...book based on interviews with more than 50 human rights defenders. A handful of the provocative interviews make up the bulk of the curriculum. There's a nun who fights the death penalty, and a man who battles bonded labor in India. There's...Juliana Dogbadzi, who was 7 when she became a slave to a priest as part of a custom in Ghana known as Trokosi. She told Kennedy Cuomo: "Unlike most of the other girls and women, I got over the fear instilled by the Trokosi system. This was my weapon. Now that I have escaped, I help to diminish the women's fears by telling my story. I tell them what I am presently doing, that I am still alive." It's a long way from a shrine in Ghana to a US classroom. But inner-city kids in often-dangerous zones can connect...the fear of a girl forced to marry a stranger and the terror of a rape victim. "They suddenly see themselves as part of a larger continuum," says Nan Richardson, the curriculum's editor. For students limited to an intellectual understanding of such grave injustices, the packet...includes a play by Ariel Dorfman, which provides an opportunity to step into the roles of human rights fighters. ...according to Karen Robinson, the director of Amnesty International's Human Rights Education Program who helped develop the curriculum, the biggest hurdle isn't student apathy - young people are more active now than ever. The real challenge is persuading parents and educators...human rights topics can be aligned with state standards. Many teachers are unlikely to view a human rights play...as an indulgence. But history teachers, she suggested, can galvanize a lesson on Chinese dynasties with a discussion on human rights violations in today's Communist China. Injecting topics like the death penalty into a classroom will spur even the most relentless daydreamers to chime in. Six years into the United Nation's Decade of Human Rights Education, countries like Germany and France have taken steps to develop national programs to teach human rights. In the United States, such decisions fall in the hands of local governments, and normally under the rubric of civic education. ======== Global 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/ To subscribe to the list, send a message to <firstname.lastname@example.org>, with the following text in the message: subscribe hr-education To unsubscribe from the list, send a message to <email@example.com>, with the following text in the message: unsubscribe hr-education If you have problems (un)subscribing, contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>. *Por información en espanol, por favor contactar <email@example.com>. Pour assistance en francais, merci de contacter <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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