News & Updates

Happy Human Rights Day

Today, Monday, December 10th marks the 70th ANNIVERSARY of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A milestone document in the global history of human rights that is as relevant today as it was when drafted seven decades ago.  

Although the UDHR is not in itself legally binding, it has become the procreator of modern international human rights law, providing safeguards – and sometimes lifelines – for thousands of people from all walks of life when national laws fail them. It has parented 16UN human rights treaties that are legally binding, including the twin UN Covenants spanning economic, social and cultural and civil and political rights respectively, plus a host of regional treaties in Africa, the Americas, and Europe.

We now take for granted that such human rights standards can be used to hold our governments to account, but just 70 years ago there were no internationally recognized human rights norms at all. The very fact that the UDHR has stood the test of time is a testament to the enduring universality of its perennial values of equality, justice, and human dignity.

The promise of the UDHR, however, has yet to be fulfilled because, as all advocates know, human rights are not a given but rather require a continuous struggle to get and once that has been achieved to keep. In other words, it is down to us to promote its ethical vision as new forms of nationalism and populism threaten to challenge our world.  

At HRE USA we believe human rights education is key to ensuring a future in which all people’s rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled. Please consider supporting HRE-USA by making a tax-deductible contribution on our behalf to our fiscal sponsor, the Center for Transformative Action, a 501(c)3organization. Your donation will allow us to continue to advocate for and further develop programming that supports human rights education across the United States.

In honor of the 70th Anniversary and to help everyone celebrate the gift of the UDHR, HRE USA has created this online resource kit. You can also join the international campaign to #Standup4humanrights. 



Free Webinar with Sandra Sirota

Date: Monday, April 1
Time: 1 -2 pm EST 
Where: Online Webinar
Cost: FREE 
Presenter: Sandra Sirota

Webinar Description:
UCCHRE will host an online discussion with Sandra Sirota on the drafting of the Plan of Action for the 4th Phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education, which is focused on youth (roughly ages 15 – 24). Please join us to offer your perspectives and provide input for the plan. Recommendations from this discussion will be shared with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

>> Read UN Resolution Plan of Action on the drafting of the Plan of Action

To Join Webinar: RSVP  to email

Sponsored by the University & College Consortium for Human Rights Education

Teach Gender Equality in the Classroom

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD).  A day to celebrate the achievements of women in history and advocate for a gender-balanced world. This year’s theme is  #BalanceforBetter. March is Women’s History Month – commemorating and encouraging the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.  The theme for 2019 is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence.”

International Women’s Day and Women’s History month provide us the important opportunity to educate and inspire students about the role of women in society.  To not only recognize and honor the battles that have been won by women, for women but also to continue to challenge the gender stereotypes and biases that continue to drive inequality today. 

“Here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”

~ Unknown

Classroom education about gender equality is the most grassroots difference anyone can make to advance women’s rights. Research shows that gender bias at primary school can have long-lasting implications for pupils, and children as young as three years old already become aware of gender differences and absorb stereotypes about the activities, toys or traits and skills that are associated with each gender.

Check out the following resources to help champion women’s rights in your classroom:

Rethinking Ethnic Studies

Rethinking Ethnic Studies is an essential guide for the revitalization of ethnic studies in K-12 classroom.

It brings together many of the leading teachers, activists, and scholars in this movement to offer examples of Ethnic Studies frameworks, classroom practices, and organizing at the school, district, and statewide levels.

Built around core themes of indigeneity, colonization, anti-racism, and activism, Rethinking Ethnic Studies offers vital resources for educators committed to the ongoing struggle for racial justice in our schools.

>> Learn more and purchase

Human Rights Education Institute: Human Rights as a Transformative Vision

When: Mon-Fri, August 5-16, 9:30am-4:30pm
Where: University of San Francisco, CA
Cost: FREE – registration required

Human Rights as a Transformative Vision is a two-week institute on Human Rights Education for classroom educators (6-12), museum practitioners, non-profit, non-governmental organization and public service providers. This workshop is ideal for anyone working in public spaces with access to engage community members around issues of human rights. This Institute attempts to highlight structural inequity and the intersections of class, race and gender in order to build equitable public spaces that support dignity, human rights and peace for all.

During the two-week institute, participants will be introduced to concepts of international human rights (with a strong focus on economic & social rights with links to current social movements working on these issues) and the history of human rights mechanisms as well as organizations/curricular resources and effective pedagogical approaches for human rights education. Partnerships with organizations such as the World As It Could BeVoice of WitnessThe Representation Project, and others will be utilized to bring an expansive vision of how organizations are incorporating human rights into their programming and work.

A stipend of $250 will be provided for completion of the two-week institute. Another $250 stipend will be offered upon the completion of your proposed action project. Continuing Education Credits of up to 4 credits available.
Scholarships for airfare and housing are available on a needs basis.

>> Learn more and register

New Book: Joyful Human Rights

Joyful Human Rights by William Paul Simmons and Semere Keseste (Jan. 2019) is “a pioneering work that thoughtfully explores human rights in the context of the most joyful of human experiences, Joyful Human Rights disrupts current human rights thinking and practice and leads us to challenge the foundations of human rights afresh.  The term “human rights” is now almost always discussed in relation to its opposite, “human rights abuses.” Syllabi, textbooks, and academic articles focus largely on abuses, victimization, and trauma with nary a mention of joy or other positive emotions. Focusing on joy shifts the way we view victims, perpetrators, activists, and martyrs. Importantly, focusing on joy mitigates our propensity to express paternalistic or salvatory attitudes toward human rights victims.”

>> Learn more and purchase

Apply for a Flowers Fund Grant

Do you have an idea to advance human rights education in the United States?  Need support?  Applications are now being accepted for 2019 Flowers Fund Grants.

Grants of up to $1000 will be made for projects to individuals and organizations that are members of HRE USA. All applications should have direct relevance to human rights education in the United States and be completed during the 2019/2020 Academic year.

The Flowers Fund will consider applications in areas such as research in human rights education, travel to attend HRE conferences, encouragement of emerging leadership, and innovative projects that expand the scope and understanding of HRE and/or extend the audience for HRE. ​

Application Deadline: July 1st

>> Learn more and apply
>> Meet our 2018 Grantees


The World’s Largest Lesson – Teaching the SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goals ( SDG’s) are a set of 17 targets set up by the UN, in which 193 countries pledge to make real, impactful change in the world by 2030. The World’s Largest Lesson has taken on the role of bringing these goals and targets to children and young people everywhere and unites them in action.

They produce free and creative resources for educators to teach lessons, run projects and stimulate action in support of the Goals. At the heart of their resources are animated films written by Sir Ken Robinson, animated by Aardman and introduced by figures students know and respect, like Emma Watson, Serena Williams, Malala Yousafzai, Kolo Touré, Neymar Jr, Hrithik Roshan and Nancy Ajram. The films establish a context for the Goals and inspire students to use their creative powers to support and take action for them.

>> Learn more