Dear friends and co-workers, In my recent years as a human rights educator, I have found an increasing need to address the fundamental principles that not only form our thoughts and views, but indeed those that incite our passions and form the very core of our being, especially amongst youth and children. Human rights education, as an ideal path to reconstruction of self and society in a conflict-ridden world cannot but acknowledge the essential likeness and oneness (not sameness) of all citizens of this globe. Such a transformation in our mindset will eventually move the human race towards uniting and consolidating the dichotomies that have been paralyzing our vision of a world in need of dignity, diversity and development. In this light, I wish to share with you the following: "... the foundation of universal understanding and, therefore, for human rights education is the oneness of humanity, a spiritual principle amply confirmed by all the sciences. Anthropology, physiology and psychology recognize only one human species, albeit infinitely varied. If we see ourselves as members of one human family, interconnected and interdependent, we will be unable to violate the rights of another member of that family without feeling the pain ourselves. Violations of human rights are sometimes a misguided expression of loyalty. Human rights education, by applying the principle of the oneness of humanity, can help people to see that loyalty to a large entity does not necessarily conflict with loyalty to a small entity. We live and work in many social units and institutional environments, often nested one within the other, that are complementary and often mutually supportive. Love of one's country does not preclude love of family or community, rather, it enlarges the circle of relationships. The enlargement of social organization from clan to nation state has opened new opportunities for the expression of human capacity, as it has expanded the circle of those deemed deserving of recognition and respect. For stability in any social organization, the rights of all, including minorities, need to be respected... The evolution of ever-larger circles of organic relationships and interactions now embraces the entire planet. As we educate our children to accept diversity as part of the human condition and to extend respect and full human rights to the entire human family, civilization will benefit from an unimaginable wealth of contributions. In that respect, human rights education could be considered basic education for life in the modern world. According to the International Commission on Education for the 21st Century, "learning to live with others," which necessitates respecting their rights, is "one of the major issues in education today." The Commission also points out that children and youth are coping with special tensions that come from living in a contracting and interdependent world. Among them are the tension "between the global and the local: people need gradually to become world citizens without losing their roots"; the tension "between the universal and the individual: culture is steadily being globalized, but as yet only partially"; and the tension "between the spiritual and the material." Human rights education grounded in the principle of the oneness of humanity, can provide children and youth the tools and the philosophical framework to enable them to resolve these tensions for themselves." >From a statement presented by the B.I.C. to the 53rd session of the UNCHR in March 1997, in Geneva. ======== Global Human Rights Education listserv ======== Send mail intended for the list to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Archives of the list can be found at: http://www.hrea.org/lists/hr-education/ If you have problems (un)subscribing, contact <email@example.com>. **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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