House Emoji with text: Human Rights Education At Home #StayHome

While we’re physically distant, we can still learn together and think about the world we’re in and what it might look like to imagine a better one.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has impacted us in unprecedented ways. Our interconnections and interdependence upon one another have been made clear and visible. The rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)—and the responsibilities that go along with those rights—connect with the discussions, debates, re-evaluations, and re-framing of what is important (or essential), and who we will be on the other side of this crisis.

The World As It Could Be commits to providing resources to help us think through this moment and imagine the next. We’ve complied some of our favorite exercises and activities, articles and videos on creative thinking, and resource lists to help make sense of the mass amounts of information we’re taking in every day.

Activities and Reading Lists

Curriculum and Resource Guide For Teachers & Organization Leaders

Excerpt: Part III. Warm-Up, Movement and Theater Exercises to Encourage Group Bonding, Stimulate Creative Energy and Inspire Creative Expression of UDHR Themes

Our program focuses on the intersection of arts and human rights education for social change. Part III of our curriculum includes activities to de-stress, get moving, and find creative inspiration from these theater arts exercises!

Stories and Activities from Ms. Webb’s 1st Grade Class

Reading list with activities + learning outcomes

The stories and activities have been inspired by the work of our colleague Natalia Anciso, who has been using the principles and creative arts activities of our Curriculum & Resource Guide, to bring human rights ideas and social emotional learning to her kindergarten and 2nd grade students.

Universe of Obligation


Historical sociologist Helen Fein defined this concept as “the circle of individuals and groups toward whom obligations are owed, to whom rules apply, and whose injuries call for amends.” As we consider what our obligations to ourselves and our communities during this global pandemic, this activity helps to map out the dynamics between self, community, society and the world we live in.

Universe of Obligation infographic

Creative Thinking for Imagining Past this Moment…

What makes us get sick? Look upstream

Rishi Manchanda | TEDSalon NY2014

In this TEDTalk, Rishi Manchanda, MD, breaks down a different way to look at problem solving: “Look upstream.”

Coronavirus Is a Historic Trigger Event. Now Is the Time for a Social Movement to Rise

From Yes! Magazine, this article looks at the moment we’re in and how we may reimagine what is politically possible.

We’ve Got a Better World in Mind: How to get from here to there in the next 10 years

From Yes! Magazine’s “The World We Want Special Issue: In Depth”

“We have the technical and policy tools to implement sweeping changes to existing human systems. The problem has been that, until recently, we haven’t had the political will.

“But that too is changing.”

Media and Information Literacy

With the vast amount of information available, it can be difficult to determine reliable sources. We’ve compiled a couple resources to learn about media and information literacy, i.e. how to spot fake news, fact check, and understand the presentation and spin of information.

“One of the lasting experiences from the last months and weeks is that, with our so called rising civilization, we do in no way see a decline in the art of lying. The modern media of communication, the modern entanglement of interests all over the world, have opened the door to a paradise for those who fight with words representing mala fide assumptions, false presentations, invidious comments, outright slander—and so on. If I were Hieronymus Bosch, I could paint a beautiful triptych in the colors of Hell and in celebration of this new great Harlot. But why be bitter.”

— Dag Hammarskjöld, second secretary-general of the United Nations (1953-61); in a private letter 

Resources to be well-informed

Fact checking: Before you act, do this

Science and Health Literacy

The present COVID-19 pandemic has brought about the need for more information on science and health research/concepts when it comes to individual, community, and the general health of the public. We’ve compiled this section with resources that look at the science and medical fiends, including understanding the multilayered predicament we are in at present.

This section connects directly to Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

  • Article 25: Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being…including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  • Article 26: Everyone has the right to education… Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The woman who discovered the first coronavirus

“June Almeida went on to become a pioneer of virus imaging, whose work has come roaring back into focus during the present pandemic.”

SARS-CoV-2 is a new (novel) coronavirus. Read more about the doctor that discovered the virus and her work!

About the Present Pandemic

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a good summary of the present situation, recommendations for how to stay safe, and background information on what we know now. This page updates as the medical community learns more about this new virus.

CDC: Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination (Updated Jan. 25, 2021)

Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have gotten 2 doses of the vaccine?

Yes. Not enough information is currently available to say if or when CDC will stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide in real-world conditions before making that decision. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision. We also don’t yet know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people, even if you don’t get sick yourself. CDC will continue to update this page as we learn more.

While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic.

To protect yourself and others, follow these recommendations:

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others
  • Avoid crowds
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces
  • Wash your hands often

Infographics on Science

Compound Interest creates infographics to help explain scientific concepts, including ones on public and community health. They’re a great resource for understanding how science works, in a visual way.

About Compound Science:

“Compound Interest is a site that aims to take a closer look at the chemical compounds we come across on a day-to-day basis, explaining them with easy-to-understand graphics. The site won the Association of British Science Writers’ Dr Katharine Giles Science blog award in 2018.”

Coronavirus: How they tried to curb Spanish flu pandemic in 1918

Also, fun fact: “The name ‘Spanish flu’ has accompanied the 1918 pandemic ever since, largely because other countries were unwilling or uninterested in reporting on the outbreak within their own borders.” Read more fact checks from USA Today.

More from Why Was It Called the ‘Spanish Flu?’ The 1918 influenza pandemic did not, as many people believed, originate in Spain.

PBS Newshour: Why another flu pandemic is likely just a matter of when

Aired January 2019

It’s important to understand how pandemics occur and what work happens before the outbreak occurs. This segment from PBS NewsHour looks at what we knew back in January 2019.

Coronavirus: How they tried to curb Spanish flu pandemic in 1918