We are introducing this initiative, The World As It Could Be Four Questions At A Time, as a way to generate connections among allies, as well as continue to connect Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) ideas. With this initiative, representatives of TWAICB would interview leaders of non-profit organizations and/or community entities to collaborate with them to identify their four questions to inspire more thinking about the issues they address, while also connecting these ideas to the UDHR.

The following sections describes references about structuring four possible questions.


One model that has informed the structure of the lesson plans is from the Technology of Participation (TOP) methods developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs, to help community and business organizations effectively address their challenges.  The TOP Focused Conversation Method is a critical thinking process that helps participants reflect on events or experiences so as to give meaning to them and determine how to act in response.  The elements of this Conversation Method, known as ORID, and their relationship to TWAICB lesson plans are as follows:

  • Objective: Identifies the facts about an experience or event. In Lesson Plan 1 the historical facts about the UDHR are presented;
  • Reflective: How one feels about the event or experience. In Lesson Plan 2, we have students reflect more deeply on the meaning of UDHR concepts like universality. In Lesson Plans 3 we have students write a personal story about their connection to human rights being respected and disrespected, enabling the students to relate emotionally to UDHR principles;
  • Interpretive: Participants consider the meaning and value of the event and its greater significance. In Lesson Plan 4, students are guided to research current events that relate to UDHR articles, and in Lesson Plan 5, students learn about the Universe of Obligation to grasp both rights and responsibilities;
  • Decisional: Consideration of what decision or action is necessary, coming out of what has been learned.  In Lesson Plan 6, students are guided to develop a culminating presentation where they present their ideas on the meaning of the UDHR and how to further its principles.

Source: Spencer, Laura J., (1989) Winning Through Participation, The Institute of Cultural Affairs.


So the number 4…

It appears numerous times in the Passover Seder.

Not surprising there are many reasons…

Most important – There are four verbs used in the Book of Exodus to describe God liberating the Israelites.

I will take you out
I will rescue you
I will redeem you
I will take you out

So the use of four in the four questions reflects the faith/trust in liberation and freedom.

A second reason that I like is that four represents totality, completeness. For example, four represents completeness in time – a complete year has four seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter.

Four represents completeness in space – here are four directions: east, west, north and south. We talk about the “four corners of the earth”, meaning “everywhere”.

Physicists tell us that we live in a four dimensional world: three dimensions of space and one of time.

Medievals believed there were four basic components of the world-  earth, water, air and fire.

So four represents a deep faith trajectory of our humanity towards freedom and wholeness.

4 Questions at a Time Conversations

The World As It Could Be sat down with representatives from Voice of Witness to discuss human rights education, the UDHR, and their work.

4 Questions for Voice of Witness

  1. What is the work carried out by Voice of Witness and who is involved in this work?
  2. What are the ways this work touches the lives of the different people or groups of people who interact with Voice of Witness?
  3. How does this work intersect with the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and human rights education?
  4. What do you want community members and leaders to know about why the work of Voice of Witness is important and how they can help further this work?

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