International Day of Peace


When: Thursday, September 20th
Where: Earth

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” This focus is drawn from TOGETHER, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants. TOGETHER unites the members of the United Nations, their citizens and their public and private institutions in a global partnership in support of diversity, non-discrimination and acceptance of refugees and migrants.

“In times of insecurity, communities that look different become convenient scapegoats,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. “We must resist cynical efforts to divide communities and portray neighbors as ‘the other’. Discrimination diminishes us all. It prevents people — and societies — from achieving their full potential.” He added, “Together, let us build bridges;  let us stand up against bigotry and for human rights.”

Please take some time in your classes or school to explore the theme of respect, safety and dignity for all. Included in the link below are sample lessons, websites and links to materials to help  build a culture of respect and dignity where everyone feels safe.

>> Access resources

Teaching Human Rights Workshop


When: Saturday, October 14, 2017 9:00 AM – Sun , October 15, 2017 2:00 PM
Where: International Affairs Building, 420 W. 118 St., New York, NY 10027 Room 1201

The Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University is holding a two-day interactive workshop designed to help: build your knowledge of human rights, develop skills to teach human rights to your students, and build/strengthen your capacity to promote respect and empathy within your school or community.

Prior knowledge of human rights is not required. For questions, please email with the subject “Teaching Human Rights Workshop.”

Early Bird Deadline: September 11th

>> Learn more and Register

Responding to Charlottesville

Charlottesville has shaken the nation. As human rights educators, it is incumbent on us to address events like Charlottesville and especially their root causes within our classes. As Education Week Teacher Christina Torres wrote, it is essential for teachers to have honest conversations with students about racism and white supremacy.

“We must teach our students that the ‘history’ of these events is far from ‘past’ and ‘passed.’ The history our students face now is a very living thing that we must learn about in order to affect change for our future. As many of us prepare to return to our classrooms, we don’t just need to buy flowers and make bulletin boards. We need to prepare and read resources that help us make space in our classrooms to discuss these events. We need to ensure that we treat our students’ stories and the stories happening right now as a very real, living thing that our kids have the ability to change. They deserve that knowledge. They deserve that power.”

To help educators respond to the explicit hatred and violence experienced in Charlottesville and establish a safe and tolerant classroom for the coming year, HRE USA has developed the below collection of resources from our partner organizations.

For further resources, be sure to follow the twitter chat using the hashtag #CharlottesvilleCurriculum.


Confederate Monuments and Their Removal
Grade Level: 9-12
This lesson provides students an opportunity to learn more about Confederate monuments and the recent push to remove them. It encourages them to reflect on their own points of view about the issue while exploring others’ positions.

Helping Students Make Sense of News Stories About Bias and Injustice
Grade Level: All
Practical suggestions, strategies, and resources.

Swastikas and Other Hate Symbols
Grade Level: 9-12
This lesson provides asks students to reflect on the importance of symbols in our society, understand more about specific hate symbols, and identify strategies for responding to and eliminating hate symbols.


“The Alt-Right Curriculum: Teachers are facilitating conversations with students about white nationalism”
Grade Level: 9-12
An article and video describing a classroom lesson focusing on an articulate Alt-Rights leader and his views.


Values and Public Policy
Grade Level: 9-12
This lesson in the “Teaching with the News” series explores the role of values in civic life and political beliefs. Students are asked to explore values as a way to understand the views of others, find common ground where it exists, and work together to find ways to form policy.


Breaking Down Hate Speech
Grade Level: 9-12
This lesson offers strategies for creating a school community culture in which hate speech is unacceptable, both online and offline.


In 2016 the Council of Europe launched the No Hate Speech Movement campaign to mobilize young people for human rights online and to combat hate speech, one of the most worrying forms of racism and discrimination prevailing that is amplified by the Internet and social media.

WE CAN: Taking Action against Hate Speech through Counter and Alternative Narratives (2017)
This manual challenges and exposes the nature of hate speech: prejudicial views on social groups combined with fake news which feed phobias and fears, seem attractive as narratives. It examines how narratives give a meaning to information because they connect with what people believe, or want to believe in. Also available in French.

Bookmarks – A manual for combating hate speech online through human rights education (Revised edition, 2016)
Bookmarks addresses hate speech online from a human rights perspective, both inside and outside the formal education system. The manual is designed for working with learners aged 13 to 18 but the activities can be adapted to other age ranges. Also available in French.


After Charlottesville: Contested History and the Fight Against Bigotry
Grade Level: 7-12
Students consider the power of historical symbols as they investigate the 2015 controversy over the Confederate flag in South Carolina and then draw connections to the violence in Charlottesville.

My Part of the Story: Exploring Identity in the United States
Grade Level: 7-12
This new unit, “challenges students to define their own identity and their relationship to society as a whole. Seven lessons explore what America means to young people and how this country is the product of many individual voices; the concept of identity and the names, labels, and stereotypes that create it; and finally how students own agency create their identities.  Essential Question: What is the identity of the United States, and how do I fit into it?

Preparing Students for Difficult Conversations
Grade Level: 7-12
Originally prepared from a unit on “Facing Ferguson,” this lesson is equally applicable to Charlottesville. It lays the lay the foundation for a safe and reflective classroom where students feel they can speak honestly about these sensitive issues.

Webinar Resources for Teaching After Charlottesville
Grade Level: All
Online webinar that features resources, strategies, tips, and content to help teachers: organize the classroom space for safety, prepare your students for difficult conversations, provide context about the history of Nazi Germany and its ideology, and provide historical context on the legacy of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction in the U.S.


The First Amendment: What’s Fair in a Free Country?
Grade Level: 9-12
This lesson demonstrates that freedom of speech is an ongoing process and that balancing rights and responsibilities is difficult, even for the Supreme Court.


These lessons from this well-known center for social justice education are especially relevant post-Charlottesville.

Students Fighting Racism
Grade Level: 3-5
Essential Question: Why is it important for me to stand up for others and myself?

Hate has no place in these halls; together we can change it.
Grade Level: 9-12
Essential Question: What is the difference between feeling proud and feeling superior?

Social Justice – Diversity
Grade Level: 9-12
Essential Question: How do we connect in meaningful ways with people who are different from us?

Social Justice
Grade Level: 9-12
Essential Question: What does it mean to say that there is strength in diversity?

Ten Ways to Fight Hate
Grade Level: All
A guide by the Southern Poverty law Center that sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.

Understanding Myself and the World I Live in Now
Grade Level: 9-12
Essential Question: How do our intersecting identities shape our perspectives and the way we experience the world?

Webinar on Human Rights in National Security: An Educator’s Toolkit

Join Amnesty International for a webinar that will explore how to use their newest resource, Human Rights in National Security: An Educator’s Toolkit.

When: Aug 9, 2017 8:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Security with Human Rights Webinar 

Human Rights in National Security: An Educator’s Toolkit provides lesson plans and activities to equip educators to discuss post-9/11 national security and human rights issues in the classroom. Further, it includes actions for students to take on issues of national security and human rights.

The toolkit is free for educators and intended for students ages 16-20. The materials are highly relevant across a number of academic disciplines: public policy, civics, government, religious studies, film, journalism, social studies, war and peace studies, and more. The toolkit contains four modules: 1) Introduction to Human Rights and National Security, 2) Global War and Drone Strikes, 3) Detention and Torture, 4) Discrimination and Surveillance.>> Learn more and download toolkit
>> Register for webinar

Safe Zone School Districts

A pragmatic approach to immigration is critical for our students –the center of our communities. All students should have the opportunity to learn without the fear and distress that results from harsh immigration enforcement. Educators are witnessing the impact of this trauma on our students, their families and our communities firsthand.

NEA has developed sample resolution and district policy that can be used as a template or guidance for local school districts to create their own Safe Zones resolutions. The language is closely tied to the Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe which is the foundational precedent establishing that access to K-12 education is a civil right. The model resolution contains reassurances for students, procedures for law enforcement, and information and support for families and staff. Several school districts across the country have passed their own safe zone resolutions. Click on the map above to see where school districts have passed or are considering Safe Zones policies.

SIMA Classroom – Education Resources 

SIMA Classroom is a subscription-based online film library that comprises the best short-format documentaries from the annual Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA). Currently in use by 1,400 teachers and 36,000 students, SIMA Classroom features over 100 award-winning short-documentaries, along  with lesson plans, providing teachers with dynamic tools that give students first-person insight into the pulse, the people, and the movements behind today’s global issues.

In support of human rights education, SIMA is offering a 30% discount to all HRE USA members.

>> Learn more
>> Get the discount