For one week in June, eight students participated in a crash course in human rights. The 19th Annual Human Rights Academy, taught by Joshua Cooper of the Hawaii Institute for Human Rights, gave students a glimpse into the world of the United Nations, Sustainable Development Goals, and the inspiring work of people around the world to create a more sustainable global society. Students left with a better understanding of human rights and their capacity to address them.
Highlights from the week included:
· Touring Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant
· Meeting with the staff of U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono
· Meeting with Senator Kalani English’s staff
· Free tickets to community events at the Honolulu Museum of Art focusing on Black Lives Matter and the impact of plastic on the albatross of Midway Island
· Presentation by Plastic Free Hawaii
· Live video discussion with Scott Brown, co-director of Voices Not Heard, a documentary that chronicles the journey of Malaysian activists at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.
· Screening of Leitis in Waiting, a documentary shedding light on the fight for human rights by the LGBTQI community in Tonga.
· Analyzing Nikki Haley’s speech to the United Nations withdrawing the United States from the Human Rights Academy
“This week-long program is beneficial especially because it teaches students how to become more aware of the society and world that they live in and the options that they have to improve the issues that they and other people of the world face.”
“Besides learning more about the human rights issues that we face today, I learned more about myself and the issues that are really important to me.”
“The United Nations plays a major role in making sure that the citizens of the world are able to receive the most basic of human rights. With the United States withdrawing from the Human Rights Council, I was able to learn about the effects that this has and will have on the United States, the Human Rights Council, and other United Nations members.”