The World As It Could Be Human Rights Education Program is an outgrowth of a series of successful initiatives carried out since 2006 to educate and inspire youth and adults to further human rights for all people. These initiatives have used the creative arts to deepen learning about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR); they have also given participating youth the voice to teach their peers and adults about the importance of the UDHR concepts.
With the success of two years of pilot work at San Francisco’s Balboa High School (Jerry Garcia’s alma mater), and Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo, CA, the project is now working to widely distribute a high school curriculum that integrates the creative arts to deepen the learning of the UDHR, as well as to commission original productions in which youth convey the importance of the UDHR Articles, starting with Article 26, the Right to an Education.
While raising awareness about the UDHR the project seeks to provide multiple levels of benefits:
- Supporting grassroots non-profits and creative arts professionals
- Showcasing the importance and value of creative arts to personal development and a vibrant culture
- Engaging youth to inspire learning, critical thinking and positive social interaction
- Encouraging youth who are often marginalized due to learning or physical differences to enjoy participation in school-wide events
- Engaging the broader community to support and celebrate accomplishments of youth
- Providing collaboration opportunities among non-profits, public schools and universities
The two main initiatives of the project currently are:
- Distribution and continuing development of a project-based high school curriculum, and congruent teacher training institutes. The curriculum, which meets high school requirements for teaching the UDHR, integrates the creative arts and a culminating presentation to inspire the students toward deep learning, personal growth and civic engagement
- Commissioned original productions that provide youth participating in community-based creative arts programs with opportunities to develop and perform work based on UDHR concepts. These productions, recorded for DVD and video distribution, then become a teaching tool for the immediate live audiences as well as the broader public.
Built on our successful pilot work in two Bay Area high schools in 2008 and 2009, our unique curriculum integrates the creative arts and a culminating presentation to excite students about learning, being engaged in actions and behaviors that further positive interactions with their peers, teachers and extended communities, and taking action to promote equity, justice and human dignity for all people.
We invite teachers, leaders of non-profit organizations and community leaders to utilize the curriculum. Separate pages of the curriculum lesson plans and resource guides are posted to invite your commentary to share additional ideas and resources.
Media and articles about the Program; Reflections by participating students and teachers on their experiences with the program.
Excerpts as well as full videos of the original dramatic presentations and culminating ceremonies created by participating youth and adults involved in the Program since 2006. In addition to watching the meaningful and compelling contributions of the participants, please used these videos in your own classrooms and community forums to help raise awareness about the relevance of the UDHR, inspire creativity among your students, and advance “human rights” thinking.