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PDHRE establishes Regional and International Learning Institutions for Human Rights Education

Over the last two years the international office of PDHRE, People’s Movement for Human Rights Education has, in the process of institutionalizing its activities worldwide, established five regional PDHRE offices in African, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and South Asia. These Regional offices, facilitated by the international office of PDHRE, have developed seven human rights cities. These, in historic order are: Rosario, Argentina; Thies (Senegal); Nagpur (India); Kati (Mali); Graz (Austria); Dinajpur (Bangladesh); and the Abra Municipality in the Philippines. Barcelona, Spain and Memphis, USA are now planning to join this innovative effort.

As a part of this process four Regional Learning Institutions for Human Rights Education (RLIHRE) in Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America and South Asia, were established and are now being developed - each one of the RLIHREs is adjacent to one of the human rights cities, where trainees will undertake field work in human rights education at the community level.

The objective of the RLIHREs is to train and support new generations/cadres of human rights educators who will in turn go back to their communities and constituencies to establish ongoing programs for learning about the human rights framework as relevant to people’s daily lives; and systematically attempt to reach all levels of society in their countries.

At the RLIHREs on-going workshops and field work will introduce community workers to a wide number of subjects such as international financing, political economy, psychology, sociology, cultural diversities, human rights and human rights education for social transformation with a special focus on gender issues, engaging them in developing a new vocation: Human Rights Community Educators. Participants will learn, share, and develop practical methodologies and strategies for extending and promoting human rights education in their own countries. Returning to their countries, the trainees will work with their organization to integrate programs of human rights education in their activities, and plan comprehensive ongoing national plans for methodical outreach to diverse sectors of society. It is expected that through a ripple effect, new political leadership guided by the human rights framework will emerge.

Having pioneered for over a decade, human rights education for social transformation with a strong focus on the core issue of equality between women and men, PDHRE has been repeatedly asked to institutionalize the ‘PDHRE method’ to enable wider audiences to benefit from its holistic approach and adapt it to their own conditions and circumstances. Indeed this has been a dream and long-standing objective of the founding members of PDHRE. Now this dream appears to be on the verge of becoming a reality.

Following the establishment of the four RLIHREs, the Board of Directors of PDHRE, at its last meeting in June 2001, analyzed the gaps and needs in the international arena regarding in-depth training about the human rights framework and its relevance to human, social and economic development and human security.

As a result of these discussions the Board has decided to establish an International Learning Institution for Human Rights Education in New York City.

Some of the objectives of the ILIHRE will be to:

- Hold on going training of trainers seminars and learning workshops with members of the international community such as UN Agencies, UN Personnel, Government’s Missions to the UN, and International NGOs working on economic and social justice, to assist them in developing pedagogies specific to their needs; and to facilitate the integration of the learning about human rights as well as an integrated gender perspective in their training activities, so as to include the holistic human rights framework in the development of policies, resources, decision making, bi and multi lateral activities.

- Facilitate the integration of human rights education in the multitude of various training seminar and workshops now offered by agencies such as UNITAR.

- Research and further develop methodologies, pedagogies, impact evaluation processes, written and audio visual materials, to be translated into many languages, to enhance the holistic learning about human rights throughout societies.

- Hold international collegiums on human rights education for social transformation that aims to develop critical thinking and systemic analysis, using the human rights framework as a guideline for meaningful change. (Breaking through the vicious cycle of humiliation.)

- Create a reflective space for human rights educators and community leaders from around the world to share experiences and further develop the praxis of human rights education for social transformation at the community level to support human rights education within diverse groups and cultures.

- Network, consult and facilitate, as needed, the activities of the RLIHREs.

Discussion are being held with several educational institutions and UN
agencies for the purpose of: developing and enhancing an international pool of Human Rights Educators; include human rights education in their various activities; and join in developing the praxis of human rights education for social and economic transformation.

For more information, please contact PDHRE:
The People's Movement for Human Rights Education (PDHRE)
211 East 43rd Street, Suite 1104
New York, NY 10017, USA
tel: 212.749-3156; fax: 212.666-6325; e-mail: pdhre@igc.org