Karen Robinson has been instrumental in the promotion of human rights education in the United States for decades. She is currently Human Rights Education and Training Manager of Speak Truth To Power, a multi-faceted global initiative that uses the experiences of courageous defenders from around the world to educate about human rights and urge them to take action. Through a recent partnership with Discover Education, Speak Truth To Power has expanded its reach to some three million teachers and thirty million students in the USA. Karen has developed and curated all the human rights material available on the Discovery digital platform
Previously Ms. Robinson served as director of human rights education for Amnesty International, USA. In both organizational capacities, she has been responsible for the development, training, and dissemination of human rights education materials that have reached millions of youth in over twenty countries. She is also recognized as a great connector of people who knows how to use the power of any organization she works to foster effective human rights education.
One nominator said of her: “Her motivation is driven by a deep and abiding commitment to fostering peace and justice around the world and a recognition of the pivotal role human rights education has in achieving these objectives … her humility, sense of decency, and an overriding belief that all can play a role in creating change are principles from which she never strays.”
Another nominator observed: “ Karen is someone who makes it a point to hold up to the light those she sees as an example of human rights and human rights education. She is such a person herself!”
ARTE: Art and Resistance through Education
ARTE – Art and Resistance through Education uses art, design, and technology to empower young people to develop creative solutions and bring awareness to local and global human rights challenges. ARTE provides quality human rights education in after-school, in-school, and jail programs, centering youth voices, encouraging advocacy, and providing opportunities for collaboration allow students to step into leadership positions to train and organize other young people in their own communities.
ARTE was founded in 2014 by Marissa Gutiérrez, who will accept the O’Brien Award on its behalf. One nominator said of her, “I’m continually in awe of her energy, dedication, passion, and commitment to human rights and social justice. … She’s the whole package – someone really living out human rights education in practice on a daily basis.”
Another nominator spoke of the importance of ARTE’s commitment to community development: “I know that ARTE is reaching youth that other organizations often overlook. …Moreover, ARTE is interested in medium-term community development – not just a short-term school project. ARTE’s pedagogy is oriented towards the cultivation of youth leadership in their neighborhoods.”
Universal Declaration of Human Rights 70th Anniversary
The 2018 winners of the O’Brien Awards exemplify the exhortation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose 70th anniversary we celebrate this year, that “every individual and every organ of society …shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms.” Human Rights Educators USA is proud to honor Karen Robinson and ARTE for their outstanding efforts to do just that!