Professor Sarah Knuckey speaks with faculty participants during a break. Photo credit: Basam Khawaja.
The Institute for the Study of Human Rights, in collaboration with the universities of Myanmar and with the support of Open Society Foundations, has been working to develop the capacity of junior faculty to promote and engage in human rights education in Myanmar. Launched in November 2015, the project aims to enable university educators to more effectively teach and incorporate human rights into law and other departmental curricula and research using rights-based approaches.
Enhanced capacity to teach and promote human rights is essential during this period of transition and this project is part of a larger effort to introduce human rights into the formal education system of Myanmar.
To date, the project’s key elements have included three in-person workshops, two phases of online training, and the hosting of visiting scholars. Twenty-five faculty representing 17 different law departments in Myanmar are participating. We are currently developing additional curriculum materials that faculty can use while teaching the course and plan to return to Myanmar for three additional in-person trainings by the end of 2017.
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As a result of this training, faculty are not only better equipped with the knowledge and skills to teach human rights, they now have stronger connections to their peers within the university system and to human rights practitioners in their communities.
ISHR welcomed the recent announcement that human rights will be offered as a required course throughout the country. Faculty members who participated in ISHR’s training have begun to teach this course as an elective and will play a pivotal role in advancing human rights education and promoting human rights in Myanmar in the years to come. ISHR will continue to support this promising faculty group as they begin teaching the course in the coming academic year.