Part V
D. Workshop Models for Human Rights Education

Because human rights education is relatively new in the United States, activists with little experience in the field may be called upon to teach or lead workshops on human rights. The following workshop models, which are derived from successful workshops and cover a variety of human rights topics and time frames, provide some examples for building your own workshops:


Half-Day / 3-Hour Workshop, p. 119 Sample Topic: The Human Rights of Refugees


One-Day / 6-Hour Workshop, p. 120 Sample Topic: An Introduction to Human Rights


Three-Day / 20-Hour Workshop, p. 121 Sample Topic: Introduction to Amnesty International's Campaign against Torture


Three-Day / 20-Hour Workshop, p. 124 Sample Topic: Workshop on Social and Economic Rights


Five-Day Workshop , p. 126 Sample Topic: Summer Institutes for Teachers on International Human Rights


Seven-Day Workshop, p. 130 Sample Topic: Leadership Workshop for Young Activists

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is abbreviated UDHR throughout this section. The activities mentioned in these workshops are described in detail in Part III, "How? Building Blocks for Human Rights Education," p. 45, and in Part IV, "Methodologies for Human Rights Education," p. 57.


Half-day, 3-hour workshop

Topic: The human rights of refugees

Setting: Amnesty International USA Annual General Meeting

Participants: Adult and student activists

Objective: To raise awareness of refugee issues and build skills for community work


A. Opening Activity: "Activity 2: Applying for Asylum," p. 79 (15 min)

This brief activity helps participants begin to empathize with the experience of a refugee.

B. Introductions and Agenda (10 min)

C. Presentation: Defining Terms (10 min)

Brainstorm the definitions of refugee, immigrant, and other relevant words. Cite the documents that define terms and some examples where the definitions do and do not apply.

D. Activity: "Activity 16: Packing Your Suitcase," p. 89 (30 min)

This activity emphasizes the importance of the definition as well as building empathy for those forced to flee.

F. Presentation: Background information (20 min)

Provide an overview on Amnesty's refugee work and policy, refugee conditions, statistics, and so on. Use charts and other visual aids to reinforce listening with seeing. Emphasize local issues and examples.

G. Presentation/Discussion: "The Refugee Experience," p. 163 (30 min)

Show this 20-minute video. Invite participants to discuss, first in pairs and then as a whole group.

H. Presentation: Review of resources (15 min)

Review the latest materials available from Amnesty and other sources. Ask for other suggestions from the group.

I. Activity: "Defining the Audience" (20 min)

Ask participants, working in small groups, to brainstorm people and groups needing education about refugees and some strategies for reaching them. Each group reports using flip charts or other visual aids.

J. Discussion: Building a Community Action Plan (20 min)

Based on the previous activity, brainstorm a list of 1) potential audiences, 2) possible actions, 3) resources and allies available, and 4) resources needed.

K. Conclusion: Personal Commitments (10 min)

Go around the group and ask each person to mention one action she or he could undertake and one resource or ally available to help in this work. Thank participants for attending.


ONE-day, 6-hour workshop

Topic: Introduction to human rights

Setting: National Youth Leadership Conference training camp

Participants: High School students with little previous human rights education

Objectives: 1)To understand and explore human rights learning communities; 2) To build human rights learning environments for youth to develop to their full potential; 3) To learn skills that participants can apply to their home communities.


A. Welcome/Opening (15 min)

Agenda, Expectations, and Norms

B. Activity/Introductions: Interviews under "Activity 11: Icebreakers and Introductions," p. 85.

Introduces everyone to the group and the topic. (20 min)

C. Activity: IPEDEHP Human Rights Board Game, p. 160 (30 min)

Deepens the human rights topic and relates it to personal feelings and experiences. Debrief with discussion.

D. Activity: "Activity 17: Perpetrator, Bystander, Victim, Healer," p. 90 (45 min)

Locate human rights in personal experience and examine the roles everyone has played at different times.


E. Activity: "Activity 15: A New Planet," p. 88 (30 min)

Complete the activity up to Step 3. An "ambassador" from each group meets over lunch to come up with a combined list of rights.

Lunch (1 hour)

F. Energizer: Group Sit under "Activity 9: Energizers," p. 83 (5 min)

G. Activity: "A New Planet," continued (30 min)

Complete the activity, concluding with discussion.

H. Activity: Case Studies (30 min)

Critiquing human rights cases: 1)What specific rights are involved? 2) Who/what is the violator and the victim? 3) What actions are being or could be taken? 4) Who is responsible for taking action?


I. Activity: "Activity 3: Actors, Artists, Storytellers, and Poets," p. 80 (1+ hour)

An opportunity to respond creatively to human rights themes.

J. Activity: Collective Summary under "Activity 7: Closing," p. 82 (15 min)

Participants write about what they have learned on cards, which are then posted as a collective statement about the workshop.

K. Closing: Ball Toss under "Activity 7: Closings," p. 82 (15 min)


THREE-DAY, 20-HOUR workshop

Topic: Amnesty International Campaign for the Abolition of Torture (CAT)

Setting: Amnesty International Training Conference; residential participants

Participants: Approximately 30 Amnesty activists selected to act as resource persons and spokespersons during the year-long campaign

Objectives: 1) To cover all aspects of the campaign; 2) To prepare for the difficult nature of the campaign topic.


Comments: Several aspects of this training reflect the difficult nature of the topic of torture (e.g., all participants will keep a private journal during this training). Make a resource area where participants can examine materials and see videos during free time.

Day 1 (Friday evening):

Registration/dinner: Greet participants, put them at ease, learn names, etc.

A. Welcome and Agenda (15 min)

Greetings, agenda, logistics.

B. Introductions: Interviews under "Activity 11: Icebreakers and Introductions," p. 85. (45 min)

Working in pairs, partners introduce each other.

C. Activity: "Activity 13: The Ladder of Torture," p. 87 (1 hour)

Examines personal values regarding torture.

D. Presentation/Discussion: Campaign Video (30 min)

E. Activity: Journal Writing (15+ min)

Ask participants to reflect on what torture or the campaign against torture means to them personally.

Day 2 (Saturday):


A. Activity: Journal Writing (15 min)

B. Presentations: (90 min)

Share content of the Campaign against Torture through review of the campaign materials and short presentations by selected guests and facilitators. Include:

a. history of AI and its concern with torture

b. history of torture

c. resistance by general public discussion of torture

d. treatment of torture victims

e. aims of the campaign

f. state of international consensus on the practice of torture

g. natural allies in the fight against torture.

Workshop Model 3 continued


C. Activity: "Activity 6: Calling the Names," p. 82 (30 min)

After a long cognitive and listening period, this activity reactivates and refocuses the group on inspiration and action.

D. Activity: "Technique 1: Carousel," p. 75 (90 min)

Use six groups of five with thirty minutes for each of six different campaign and pedagogic activities:

a. writing letters

b. developing talking points about the campaign

c. outreach exercise: using telephone book to find campaign contacts

d. putting together a panel for the campaign

e. finding articles in the news, which raise the issue of torture

f. role-play meeting regarding torture in countries with whom the US does business.


E. Activity: "Carousel" continued (1 hour)

Continue with two more activities so all groups have visited all six stations.

F. Presentation: Human Rights 101 (30 min)

A brief history of human rights fundamentals: UDHR, Amnesty International, and campaigning. Encourage contributions from participants.

G. Activity: Journal Writing (20 min)

Personal reflections on the Campaign against Torture.


H. Activity: Resource Scavenger Hunt (2+ hours)

Visits to area community resources, review of videos, Internet search, etc.


I. Presentation: Reports on Resource Hunt (30 min)

J. Activity: Creative Work (2 hours)

Small groups and individuals design campaign presentations (e.g., activities, workshop, speech outline, focus sheet, discussion questions and workshop for campaign video).

Day 3 (Sunday):


A. Activity: Journal Writing (15 min)

Continuing thoughts on the campaign, personal involvement. What has changed since the first day?

B. Presentations: Participant Campaign Presentations (3 hours)

Use "Technique 3: Fish Bowl," p. 76. Divide participants into six groups and assign two groups to work together. Each participant makes a presentation, leading to a discussion and evaluation, first with group members and later by the observing audience. Lastly the facilitators make comments.


C. Presentations: Participant Presentations continued (1 hour)

D. Summary Discussion: (45 min)

Share journal thoughts, review expectations.

E. Closing (15 min)


THREE-DAY, 20-HOUR workshop

Topic: Economic and social rights

Setting: Non-residential workshop

Participants: Adults or students who may be unfamiliar with human rights or with issues of economic and social rights

Objective: To familiarize the participants with issues of economic and social rights


Day 1:

A. Activity: In the Same Boat under "Activity 11: Icebreakers and Introductions," p. 85 (10 min)

Move from general categories to those reflecting social/economic rights.

B. Welcome/Introductions (30 min)

Review agenda, goals, and expectations.

C. Activity: Human Rights Squares under "Activity 11: Icebreakers and Introductions," p. 85 (20 min)

Use a Social/Economic Rights version of this game.

D. Presentation: The Human Rights Framework (30 min)

Introduce human rights documents and framework, selecting social/economic rights articles from a variety of documents. Stress placing ourselves in a global movement.


E. Activity: Naming the Problem (15 min)

Participants brainstorm social/economic justice issues, forming a list (e.g., health care, housing, food, living wages). Consider local, regional, and national aspects of the issues.

F. Activity: Researching Social/Economic Rights (2+ hours)

Divide participants into small groups. Each groups elects a problem/possibility from the list and researches it, using materials in the room and/or library resources if available.

Participants time their own lunches.

G. Presentation: Research Reports (90 min)

Each group presents a report on its research, using handouts and overhead projections.


H. Discussion: Participant Panel (45 min)

Ask "What is the State of Social/Economic Rights in the USA?" Use Question Time under "Method 21: Presentations," p. 71, to enable many participants to speak on the subject.

I. Assignment (5 min)

Announce an overnight assignment: Make an inventory of your refrigerator/food shelves and/or your closet or the clothing you are wearing today to use for activity tomorrow.

J. Closing (10 min)

Workshop Model 4 continued

Day 2:

A. Presentation/Discussion: Analysis of Home Inventories (1 hour)

What are the human rights implications of our closets and refrigerators?

B. Activity: "Activity 8: A Dialogue with Your Lettuce," p. 83 (2+ hours)

A research project that will take several hours to finish.


C. Presentation/Discussion: Video "Zoned for Slavery," p. 162 (1 hour)

Addresses harsh conditions and child labor in the clothing industry.

D. Activity/Discussion: Community Research (2+ hours)

Participants meet community activists working on social/economic issues, either at workshop or at their offices.

E. Assignment: (5 min)

Preparation of a lesson, activity, or other learning tool to bring social/economic rights to the classroom.

F. Discussion: Reflections on the day (30 min)

Day 3:

A. Presentation: A Celebration (2 hours)

Each group (or individual) makes a presentation allowing for multiple learning styles.

B. Discussion: Reflections on the Workshop (1 hour)

Participants commit to a personal change they would like to make (e.g., involvement in community activism, more responsible buying). Participants help each other to find resources to make this change, problem solve, create support network.

C. Closing (30 min)


FIVE-DAY workshop

Topic: Introduction to international human rights

Setting: University of Minnesota campus, resident participants

Participants: Teachers from Minnesota and surrounding areas

Objectives: 1) To foster connections between learning about international human rights issues and practicing human responsibilities in the world; 2) To understand and explore Human Rights Learning Communities; 3) To learn human rights classroom ideals and materials; 4) To understand and critique the UDHR, Convention on the Rights of the Child, and teachers' own experiences and learn how to integrate these into classrooms.


Preparations: Create the climate by making the room welcoming and friendly, play music. Post around the room the 30 UDHR articles, human rights posters, lists with headings for books, songs, films, etc. for participants to fill in as the workshop progresses, other postings.

Requirements: To receive continuing education credit, participants will write action projects that engage the local classroom in defending human rights in the global population.

Repeated Activities:

• Opening: Each day one participant volunteers to lead an activity (e.g., share a poem or song, give daily examples of human rights issues in the news, describe a relevant book or film). Participants are thus able to bring their outside experiences as teachers to the workshop and exchange curriculum ideas.

• Reflection Time: At least 15 minutes each day is set aside for personal reflection in any form. These reflection (left anonymous if the author desires) are collected and compiled at the end of the workshop into a Community Journal.

• Observer: One participant each day volunteers to keep notes on the day's events (e.g., how participants interact, how group maintains human rights principles) and reports back during the next morning's opening.

• Exploration Circles: Participants bring up questions, problems, and topics from their research for group discussion and advice.

• Sharing/Healing Circles: A time for sharing personal feelings elicited by human rights topics.

Day 1 (Afternoon/Evening):

A. Welcome (15 min)

Address by sponsor

B. Introductions: Portraits under "Activity 11: Icebreakers and Introductions," p. 86 (45 min)

Include 1) What personal qualities do you have to contribute to this group? 2) What object did you bring to share and why is it important? When introductions are made, hang the portraits and ask each person to place the object on a table below.

C. Presentation: "How? A Human Rights Learning Community," p. 42 (15 min)

What does it mean? How is it done? Overview of workshop, agenda and objectives.

D. Activity: "Activity 19: Telling Our Stories," p. 95 (1 hour)

Workshop Model 5 continued


E. Discussion: Burning Questions (30 min)

What are our driving human rights questions? How do we begin to search for actions to address them?

F. Presentation/Discussion: Respecting World Cultures (90+ min)

Lecture by a Univ. of Minnesota political science professor: "How can one conduct human rights research about Žothers' in our global community?"

G. Closing

Day 2: Applying Our Questions to a Human Rights Framework

A. Opening and Reflection Time (30 min)

B. Presentation: "Where Do Human Rights Begin?" (1 hour)

Lecture by political science professor on "Human Rights 101," the human rights framework.


C. Activity: "Activity 10: Human Rights Timeline," p. 84 (30 min)

Connects personal experience to national and international human rights events.

D. Presentation/Discussion: Popular Education Methodologies (30 min)

Lecture on "How can we become active learners by teaching through a Žhuman rights lens'?"

Lunch (with optional video)

E. Exploration Circles: Can we share our burning questions?

F. Activity: Human Rights Scavenger Hunt (2+ hours)

Small groups meet with local organizations doing work in human rights, connecting local community justice work with the UDHR.


G. Discussion: Building our Human Rights Community (1 hour)

Report the community visits. How did participants feel? What did they learn? How can we apply this experience in our classroom or personal learning community?

H. Presentation/Discussion: The Wave Video, p. 165 (90 min)

Are we all perpetrators, survivors, and healers?

Day 3: FieldworkůExploring Our Human Rights Questions

A. Opening and Reflection Time (30 min)

B. Activity: Visit Resource Center of the Americas (2+ hours)

How can we use this resource for learning and teaching about human rights?

Workshop Model 5 continued

Lunch (with optional video) (1 hour)

C. Discussion: Panel Discussion (1 hour)

How can we connect to our students' real lives and have our students learn and act for human rights? Panel members include representatives of the Center for Victims of Torture, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights BIAS Program, Partners Program in Human Rights Education, and Human Rights Resource Center.


D. Activity: Carousel of Resource Stations (3 hours)

How can we discover additional perspectives, lesson ideas, and actions to focus on our questions?

Station 1: Human Rights Curriculum Library

Station 2: Human Rights Video Viewing

Station 3: Human Rights On-line Research, Computer Lab

Station 4: Human Rights Documentation Center, Law Library

Station 5: Exploration Circles

Station 6: Individual Study Areas


E. Activity: Research on Projects

Participants are free to work on individual projects.

Day 4: A Holistic Approach to Human Rights


A. Opening and Reflection Time (30 min)

B. Activity: Human Rights through the Body and Spirit (3 hours)

Integrating theater, music, and video into a human rights learning community. Discussion of human rights themes in music participants have brought; demonstration of theater of the oppressed exercises. Participants create their own skits on human rights topics, involving 1) human rights question; 2) songs; 3) levels of community (global, national, local); 4) action ideas, and voices of all participants.

Lunch (with optional video)

C. Activity: Human Rights Murals and Sculptures (30 min)

How can we use murals and sculptures to engage students in learning and action? Slide show of mural on the UDHR at a local school.

D. Presentation/Discussion: Evoking the Spirit in Education (30 min)

Lecture and discussion of handout article "Evoking the Spirit" by Parker J. Palmer.

E. Exploration Circles: Can we engage the human spirit in the classroom? (30 min)

F. Activity: Project Work Time (1 hour)

G. Activity: Healing Circles and Closing (1 hour)

Dinner on the town

Day 5: Celebrating our Human Rights Learning Community

A. Opening and Reflection Time (30 min)

B. Presentations: Participant Research Projects (90 min)


C. Presentations: Research Projects continued (90 min)


D. Discussion: Evaluating our Learning Community (1 hour)

How do we feel? What have we learned? What will we apply in our classroom or personal learning community?

E. Parting Ceremony: Slide Show under "Activity 7: Closings," p. 82 (30 min)


SEVEN-DAY workshop

Topic: Leadership Workshop for Young Activists

Setting: see note below

Participants: Leaders and activists from different countries, ages 18-25

Objectives: 1) To establish network of youth activists; 2) To help participants work more effectively as leaders and activists; 3) To provide a space for encouraging renewal and connecting, helping activists avoid isolation or burnout.


Note: This workshop combines elements from a proposed two-week Global Youth Connect Learning Community for an international group of leaders and activists, and the week-long National Youth Leadership Conference (NYLC) camp for high school age leaders. The workshop could easily be adapted to a longer, two-week model. The NYLC workshop was held at a wilderness camp; although the group benefited from the opportunity to interact with the environment, the logistics of camping could easily be a distraction for a differently focused workshop and make urban participants unnecessarily uncomfortable. Both models also require access to less remote locations, in order to allow partici pants to visit community organizations. An ideal environment may perhaps include enough wilderness to allow participants to enjoy the natural environment and avoid distraction without allowing the setting itself to become an obstacle to learning.

Day 1:


A. Activity: Establishing Process Groups

Assign participants to small groups in which they can share experiences daily during the program.

B. Activity: Basic introductions, trust-building exercises, lifeboats, identifying resource people.

C. Activity: Site tour

Include art room, classroom meeting space, quiet space, materials, museum, outdoors, kitchen, and orientation to land and climate.


D. Discussion: Naming the Issues

Cooperatively defining vision for the week, presenting and critiquing the schedule. Includes a history of the sponsoring organization. "What Do We Need," p. 46.

E. Presentation: Human Rights 101

Human Rights background, tailored to the needs of the group: introduction of UDHR, human rights history, etc.

F. Activity: Mentor meeting

Each participant assigned a mentor to ensure participants have someone with whom they can voice concerns, find resources, ask questions.

Seven-Day, Workshop Model continued

Free time/Dinner

G. Presentation: Substantive speaker

H. Closing: Group Still Life under "Activity 7: Closings," p. 85.

Day 2:


A. Gathering/opening

B. Process group: discussion of expectations for the week.

C. Activity: Two Concurrent Workshops

1. Theater of the Oppressed Workshop

Using theater as a medium to encourage conversations about critical concepts in human rights and social justice. See "Activity 12: Image Theater," p. 86 and "Activity 14: Mirroring," p. 88.

2. Global Issues Workshop:

Lecture on current human rights cases from around the world. Discuss human rights issues from the participants' own countries. Possible action activities include letter writing, using examples to compare media coverage of the issues. See "Activity 19: Telling Our Stories," p. 95.


D. Activity: Outdoor Field Trips

Outdoor education accessible for everyone (e.g., hiking, canoeing, swimming, etc.), which may or may not be related to human rights learning.

E. Discussion: Initiatives for the Week

Participants meet with mentors and other participants to decide on a focus for the week relevant to their own work.


F. Activity: Cultural Celebration

Day 3:


A. Gathering/opening

B. Process group: Topics based on group needs.

C. Discussion: Introduction to Community Activities

Overview of how groups are addressing social issues, both in participants' home communities and in this place. See "Sharing Problems, Sharing Solutions," p. 50.

D. Activity: Skills workshops

Organized in concurrent one-hour sessions permitting participants to pick skills they need, allowing for participants to share their own knowledge about effective methods (e.g., Internet and Library Research, Group Organizing, Facilitating, Project Design, Media, Presentation Skills, Fund-raising, "Activity 20: The Tool Box," p. 95).


E. Discussion: Panel with Community Activists

Leading into an introduction of the community projects.

F. Activity: Preparation for Community Experience

Small groups create questions for community members that pertain to their own issues of finding funding, US contacts, etc., and make appointments for the following afternoon to have these questions answered.

Free time/Dinner

G. Presentation: Guest Speaker

Day 4: Community/City Day


A. Gathering/opening

B. Process group: Topics based on group needs.

C. Activity: Community Scavenger Hunt

Participants meet with local organizations that do community level human rights work (e.g., free health clinics, legal aid, museums).


D. Presentation: Reports on Scavenger Hunt

E. Discussion: Scavenger Hunt Debrief

Answering the questions arising from meetings with funders, US-based contacts, advocacy organizations, research institutions, etc.

Dinner/Evening on the town

Day 5:


A. Gathering/opening

B. Process group: Topics based on group needs.

C. Activity: Half-day Intensive with Community Organizations

Activities designed to encourage dialogue, personal contact, and exposure to new experience (e.g., intensive seminar, volunteering in a soup kitchen, literacy tutoring, or a field trip with battered women and children).

D. Free afternoon on the town, with option to return.


E. Discussion: The Day's Experience

Day 6:

A. Gathering/opening

B. Process group: What do participants still need?

C. Activity: Participant-led Workshops/Directed Initiative


D. Mentor meeting

E. Discussion: Session on re-entry

Assessing sources of support, community asset mapping, action plans, sharing ideas and contacts.


F. Activity: Big Celebration

Party including activists and community contacts.

Day 7:

A. Gathering/opening

B. Process group: final meeting.

C. Discussion: Building a Support Network

Building an activist support network, final needs assessment, making commitments for the future.


D. Activity: Final Evaluations and Commitment

These responses might be oral, written or artistic brief presentations of project initiatives to be brought back to participants' own communities.

E. Departures