Teaching Human Rights in a Global Context


Dr. Helen Stacy, Director, Program on Human Rights, setting the context for the conference.
Photo credit: 
Jonas Edman

On June 4, 2011, SPICE co-sponsored a conference, “Teaching Human Rights in a Global Context,” with the Program on Human Rights (Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, FSI), the Division of International Comparative and Area Studies (ICA), and the Stanford Humanities Center. Fifty community college and high school faculty attended a full day of lectures, panel discussions, and small-group work. Dr. Helen Stacy, Director of the Program on Human Rights, set the context for the conference, and her remarks were followed by a lecture on “The Globalization of Human Rights Education” by Professor Francisco Ramirez, Stanford School of Education. 

Educators discussed, shared, and learned about each other’s experiences of teaching human rights in a wide range of world areas, academic disciplines, and classroom settings. The rudiments of syllabus construction, methods of incorporating a human rights component into traditional courses, sample lesson plans, best ways to make use of interdisciplinary pedagogic resources and materials, and strategies for reaching diverse student populations were topics of discussion. One panel, “Incorporating Human Rights into Your Syllabus,” was facilitated by SPICE’s Jonas Edman. Jonas, Michael Lopez of the Program on Human Rights, and Dr. Robert Wessling, Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, ICA, served as the primary organizers of the conference, and Dr. Laura Hubbard, Center for African Studies, ICA, served as the emcee. Megan Gorman, Center for Latin American Studies, ICA, and John Groschwitz, Center for East Asian Studies, ICA, also contributed to the organization and promotion of the conference.

As a follow-up to the conference, ICA and the Program on Human Rights will sponsor a limited number of year-long Human Rights Curricular Fellows in the coming 2011–12 academic year. Fellows must teach at an accredited California community college. Also, Jonas will be developing curricular lessons in consultation with some of the educators who attended the conference.

The conference was funded primarily by the Department of Education (Title VI) and ICA.