HRE for human rights educators

This text was first published as a question on HREA.org [hr-education], 20 october 2009. Since then many answers were given, almost daily. You may find all their links on this HREA-web-page, beginning with 20 October 2009. You are invited to give still more answers.

The request on 20 October 2009 had been the following:

Dear colleagues, The UN Human Rights Council decided at its 12th session that the second phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education will focus on human rights education for higher education and on human rights training programmes for teachers and educators, civil servants, law enforcement officials and military personnel at all levels. That is very good.  At this early stage in planning for the coming years, it would be useful to explicitly acknowledge the need for human rights education for human rights educators.  

Much of the discussion of human rights education seems to implicitly assume that there is a group of human rights educators who know the topic quite completely, and have the task of sharing that knowledge with various groups need or want to learn it. The reality is that, while there is a common core that most of us know, there are also huge variations in how we understand that core, and what we regard as important. If each of us were to be asked to design a short course on human rights for a group in some particular context, we would likely come up with very different designs.

Our understandings of human rights might not be as broadly shared as some of us assume. Thus, there is a need for horizontal teaching/learning, with human rights educators of varying backgrounds and perspectives sharing their views.

The point of such exercises would not be to determine who is correct and who is incorrect in their understandings, but to gain an appreciation of the diversity of understandings. This would help all of us to come to a better appreciation of that diversity, and make us betters teachers/learners of human rights in all contexts.

Aloha, George Kent, Department of Political Science, 2424 Maile Way, Saunders 610, University of Hawai’i, Honolulu, Hawai’i 96822, USA, Phone: 1 808 396-9422, Cell: 1 808 389-9422, Fax: 1 808 956-6877, E-mail, George Kent’s website, and the website where you find this article in its original.

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