UNTCHR: Teaching for Peace and Human Rights International Conference

IMG_0598How often can you converse with people in five countries all at the same time and see them as well?  In the Burnaby School District, it does happen fairly often!! Even then, cultural intercommunication is powerful and important and is needed to remind all of us how critical it is to approach subjects from a variety of perspectives.

On Friday, March 15th, educators from the Philippines, Mexico, Kuwait City, the United States and Canada spent five hours sharing and listening to descriptions of unique and successful methods and projects which promote human rights and peace. Burnaby School District teachers met at 6:30am in the Centre for Dialogue at Byrne Creek Secondary School to participate in UNTCHR. This year’s conference is the Ninth Annual Teaching for Peace and Human Rights conference.

Note the screen shown behind Amelia Pedersen and Judy McLeod. UNICEF Education Manager Stephanie Hodge speaks and later answers questions. An amazing dialogue ensues on cross-curricular topics relating children’s rights with gender, security and environment rights amongst others.

Earlier, Ella Torrey provided opening greetings. Her story included a window into the passing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. She was the assistant of Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady, at the time of this woman’s great influence at having this document passed. Ms. Torrey remembers the great respect given to Roosevelt after she demonstrated her intelligence and tenacity to persuade leaders that every human is born equal and should be afforded dignity. Remember she came forward at a time when women did not have equal opportunity, and so her efforts should be regarded as even more momentous. Of course, Canadian students also learn that it was John Peters Humphrey, a Canadian lawyer, who drafted the UDHR with Eleanor Roosevelt at the United Nations. He was an equally wise man.