Teaching Human Rights in Classrooms and Communities


When: Saturday, October 19, 2019
Time:  9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Where: Interchurch Center, 475 Riverside Dr., New York, NY 10027, Room 320C
Cost: $345 – Early Bird Rate (by September 20) $395 – regular rate.

In this workshop for educators and practitioners, participants will develop or strengthen their capacity to engage in human rights education – to foster knowledge, skills, attitudes and action for the protection and promotion of human rights among students using rights-based teaching methods. 

Participants will: learn key human rights concepts, international law and a variety of strategies for human rights advocacy that they can incorporate into their own teaching; be introduced to and practice rights-based teaching approaches, which include participatory, interactive and experiential learning methods that respect human rights; modify human rights learning activities for their own teaching environment;  learn how human rights education can meet state standard requirements; discuss and consider ideas about how to respond to discriminatory remarks, practices, and policies at the individual and organizational/institutional levels.

Facilitators: Sandra Sirota, EdD, is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Connecticut. Sandra co-founded the Advocacy Lab, a nonprofit organization providing human rights education to secondary school students in New York City and served on the founding steering committee of Human Rights Educators USA, from 2012 to 2014. She teaches courses and workshops on human rights, social justice, education, and social movements. She received her doctoral degree from Columbia University Teachers College in May 2017 through the Department of International and Transcultural Studies, with a concentration in peace and human rights education.

Kristina Eberbach is the Deputy Director of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights. She served as Director of Education from 2010-2019 and oversaw the human rights degree programs, the Human Rights Trainings Series, and the University Human Rights Education in Myanmar project. She has also designed and facilitated human rights capacity-building trainings for members of civil society and government officials in Colombia and Iraq and has undertaken research, reporting, and advocacy work in Kenya, South Africa, and Northern Uganda. She is a member of the Steering Committee for Human Rights Educators USA and the University and College Consortium for Human Rights Education (UCCHRE).For questions, email humanrightsed@columbia.edu
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Is Toxic Masculinity Killing Us? What Can Teachers Do?

The amount of mass shootings across the U.S. so far in 2019 has outpaced the number of days this year, according to a gun violence research group. This puts 2019 on pace to be the first year since 2016 with an average of more than one mass shooting a day.

We all want to be safe and secure, and to live without fear, and that’s a human right that we all have. But in the U.S., gun violence is an epidemic that directly threatens these rights. 

Other than the use of a gun, the common denominator linking all such attacks is glaringly obvious and yet worryingly absent from much of our discussion about gun violence. This common denominator applies to all but three of the more than 150 mass shootings in which four or more people in the US were killed in public between 1966 and earlier this year. The perpetrators are not all white nationalists, but they are almost all men.

When you look at the pattern among many of the men who have committed some of the most heinous acts of violence in our nation’s recent history, they frequently share a common trait of hating, and perpetrating violence against, women. A 2017 HuffPost investigation found that in 59% of mass shootings between 2015 and early November 2017, the suspected shooter had a history of domestic violence and/or killed an intimate partner or family member in the shooting.  According to a systematic analysis of 22 mass shootings by Mother Jones, there is “a strong overlap between toxic masculinity and public mass shootings.” Virtually all of them also suffer some form of aggrieved entitlement—“an existential state of fear about having my ‘rightful place’ as a male questioned…challenged…deconstructed.” In addition to high-profile mass shootings that make national headlines, many everyday incidents of gun violence in the United Statesinvolve domestic abuse.

So while stricter gun laws seem like a no brainer, we can’t just focus on symptoms. We also need to attack this problem at its source, which is toxic masculinity. As prominent feminist Jessica Valenti puts it: “The longer we ignore the toxic masculinity that underlies so many of these crimes, the more violence we’re enabling.” 

“In an article for Teaching Tolerance entitled, Toxic Masculinity Is Bad for Everyone: Why Teachers Must Disrupt Gender Norms Every Day, Colleen Clemens writes, Toxic masculinity, the idea that there is only one way to ‘be a man’—strong, tough, unfeeling and aggressive—is a double-edged sword. First, it harms the boys and men who fail to live up to gendered expectations of who they should be. Then, sometimes, these men perpetrate violence in response, leaving innocent victims in their wake. Because gender expectations amount to a moving target that no one can hit, no matter how hard they try, toxic masculinity is always a losing game. A vacuum is created when we tell a boy over and over that  he is “not a man,” that he needs to “man up” or “grow a pair.” What if that vacuum is filled by a need to prove his power? What if the proof is violence?
As educators, it is time we decouple sex from gender and talk about how this twisted brand of cultural masculinity—not biological maleness—plays a role in creating violence in our classrooms, hallways, workplaces, and sanctuaries. Once we shift the discussion away from sex and biology and toward gender and culture, then we can begin to work toward solutions.” 

To get started, check out the following resources on how you can promote healthy masculinity early and teach boys and young men to recognize, reject, and challenge toxic masculinity. 

>> LIVERESPECT: Coaching Healthy and Respectful Manhood (Educator Guide) 
>> NYT Lesson: Boys to Men – Teaching and Learning about Masculinity in an Age of Change
>> ADL Lesson: The Trap of Masculinity: How Sexism Impacts Boys and Men
>> Teaching Tolerance Resources on Toxic Masculinity
>> Jackson Katz TED Talk – Violence Against Women – it’s a Men’s Issue
>> Article: Challenging toxic masculinity in schools and society
>> Article: 6 Harmful Effects Of Toxic Masculinity

UN Immersion Program


When: August 26-30, 2019
Where: Geneva, Switzerland
Cost: $2300

This unique training opportunity will give you direct access to the United Nations’ institutions and staff, offering opportunities for networking and providing you with insights into UN career paths.

The program includes activities with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other institutions.

The aim of the program, which is hosted at the UN headquarters in Geneva, is to prepare and empower participants to work more effectively and efficiently in any international environment.

The UN Immersion Program includes expert lecturers, training workshops, guided tours and the attendance of multilateral conferences. Dedicated career development sessions will give you the opportunity to have your CV, motivation letter and LinkedIn profile reviewed.

The training sessions will include content on the United Nations system, humanitarian affairs, sustainable development, conference diplomacy, core diplomatic skills, trade and commerce, and other topics of interest.

Application Deadline: August 22, 2019

>> Learn more and register

Gandhi-King Conference


When: October 11-13, 2019
Where: Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305.
Cost: $100 for early-bird registration (by August 31) and $150 for general registration (after September 1). This cost will be waived for students (ID required for verification)

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University will commemorate the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth by presenting a major, international Gandhi-King conference from Friday, October 11 to Sunday, October 13, 2019. This conference will feature three days of lectures and panel discussions at Stanford University by prominent scholars and activists who will reassess the legacies of Gandhi and King in a contemporary global context. Ela Gandhi, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, will be an honored guest.

This historic gathering will be the first event of the Gandhi-King Global Initiative (GKGI), an effort to build an international network of institutions, organizations, and activists committed to the nonviolent struggle for human rights. This network will seek to enhance the rich history of intellectual and political collaboration between activists inspired by Gandhi and King.

Early Bird Registration Deadline: August 31

>> Learn more
>> Purchase tickets

Challenge Islamophobia Project

Most teaching resources and teacher workshops about Islam and Muslims focus on increasing knowledge of religious texts, beliefs, and rituals rather than addressing the root causes of Islamophobia. This project addresses that gap by placing Islamophobia firmly within a U.S. context and shared cultural history.

The lessons are designed to avoid the need for a facilitator with specialized knowledge in Islamic studies. The lessons do not teach the details of Islamic faith and practice because Islam is not the root of Islamophobia. Our lessons invite learners to think differently by investigating Islamophobia as a form of racism born from empire.

Challenge Islamophobia is a project of Teaching for Change.

>> Learn more and download teaching resources

Online Course: Strategic Advocacy: Planning & Tracking Advocacy Campaigns

Whether you’re just starting to plan a campaign and want to make it as effective as possible, or are struggling to get the results you want, this training will help sharpen your focus, identify opportunities, and add flexibility and surprise to your campaign. The online course allows you (and your team) to work at your own pace, on your own time, with feedback from our professional trainers and interaction in an online forum with your peers. This new online course is being offered for FREE from New Tactics in Human Rights.

Application Deadline: August 30, 2019.

>>  Learn more and apply

Engaging with the Media on Human Rights: Finding, Crafting and Advancing your Story


When: Friday, September 20
Time:  9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Where: Interchurch Center, 475 Riverside Dr., New York, NY 10027, Room 320C
Cost: $345 – Early Bird Rate (by August 23rd) $395 – regular rate.
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Media can play an essential role in raising awareness and advancing human rights agendas. This workshop is designed to develop the capacity of human rights and social justice actors to effectively engage with the media in order to advance their work. Drawing on real-world examples and interactive learning activities, through this workshop, participants learn how to: develop media engagement strategies based on a better understanding of journalists’ goals and perspectives; craft, advance, manage, and distribute messages through various strategies, including through social media; identify relevant publications; brand oneself and/or an organization as a go-to source on human rights issues; frame human rights issues that will engage the public; write op-eds and press releases; secure and conduct interviews.

Facilitator: Lonnie Isabel is an established journalism instructor and a veteran of the newspaper business who he has worked on both coasts as a political reporter, investigative reporter and editor for Newsday, the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and Oakland Tribune. As deputy managing editor of Newsday, Isabel was responsible for supervising the national, foreign, state, Washington, health and science staffs. He was editor and supervisor of Dele Olojede’s Pulitzer Prize winning series on the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide and has overseen coverage of the Iraq War, the aftermath of September 11th, and two presidential campaigns. Isabel has trained journalists in Jordan and India and was appointed a Poynter Ethics Fellow in 2006. 

For questions, email humanrightsed@columbia.edu
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