Greetings from the Rex Foundation!
We are pleased to provide the July 2012 edition of the Curriculum and Resource Guide for The World As It Could Be Human Rights Education Program. This 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 and have greater understanding of the type of individual and community engagement needed to compel constructive action. These initiatives, including two years of pilot work in Bay Area high schools and implementation of the 2010 edition of the Curriculum, utilize the creative arts to deepen learning about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and provide the opportunity for the youth to, in turn, teach their peers and adults about the importance of manifesting the words of the UDHR.
With the successes of the creative initiatives and high school experiences of The World As It Could Be program over the last five years, we have gained the following insights that form the basis for creating this curriculum:
- The UDHR provides an exciting framework for actively engaging in local and global efforts toward the achievement of life, liberty and human dignity for all people;
- Although the United States played a crucial role in the drafting of the UDHR and its adoption on December 10, 1948 by the UN General Assembly, many people, across all ages and demographics, are not aware of the UDHR, even though the document is an official element of Social Studies curriculum in most public schools;
- When youth have the opportunity to not only learn about the UDHR, but also be leaders in teaching its importance to their peers and to adults they demonstrate increased involvement in their studies, enhanced social interaction skills and greater commitment to be positively engaged in their school and community;
- The creative arts provide a powerful mechanism for teaching the UDHR in a way that compels student engagement, deeper learning and personal connection to otherwise abstract content;
- The culminating presentation and celebration of the students’ creative reflections on their studies of the UDHR provide a unique rite-of-passage experience that motivates both higher levels of academic engagement as well as enhanced awareness of and commitment to being engaged members of their immediate and broader communities;
- The schools that have been involved in the Project have experienced a shift toward a more positive, human rights-oriented culture, where there is greater awareness about the importance of demonstrating respectful and mindful behavior in immediate circles, as well as being attentive to broader issues that affect people locally and globally.
We see this Curriculum and Guide as a creative work-in-progress where the participating teachers, organizational leaders and students can play an active role in updating the material with their own ideas inspired by the experiences they have in working with project. Thank you for taking part in The World As It Could Be Program. We look forward to working with you to continue to enhance the curriculum as well as to nurture the conditions that will lead to the world envisioned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.