Building a Culture of Human Rights: A Panel Discussion on Human Rights Education

Monday, June 11, 2012

I’m a librarian working for the CMHR and I’m very interested in the role that libraries and other cultural and heritage institutions play in the development of public knowledge and culture. At the Museum, we have a unique opportunity to promote discussion on human rights, so one of the things I did when I started at the Museum in May of 2011 was to reflect on ways that I, as a librarian, could contribute to this dialogue.

On March 21, 2012, the CMHR sponsored a panel discussion on human rights education, in partnership with Winnipeg Public Library(WPL) and the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties (MARL). The discussion was held at WPLs Millennium branch and was presented as part of MARLs 2nd annual Human Rights Film Festival, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I had the honour to act as moderator for the discussion, and I also served as the event’s coordinator on behalf of the Museum.


Stephen Carney

Moderating the discussion


The idea of a panel discussion

The idea for the event came out of a series of conversations I had in 2011 with the Administrative Coordinator of Community Outreach and Marketing at WPL, librarian Kathleen Williams, and MARL’s Executive Director, Cindy Murdoch, around partnering on an event for the March 21st International day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is also the date the MARL HR film festival is organized around. The previous year, WPL hosted a hugely successful Human Library to mark the day, and while the timing for hosting such an event in March 2012 was too tight, we came up with the idea of asking human rights experts from CMHR and MARL to participate in a panel discussion.

Human rights education

The topic of human rights education came about when we noted that the timing of MARLs film fest fell in line with the one year anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training by the United Nations Human Rights Council. We enlisted two colleagues from the Museum, Researcher Clint Curle and Manager of Educational Programming Linda Mlodzinski, alongside the past president of MARL and principal of Collège Pierre-Elliot Trudeau, Estelle Lamoureux, to talk about their experiences with human rights education.


Panel Discussion 2

Researcher Clint Curle speaking about human rights education, alongside Linda Mlodzinski (left) and Estelle Lamoureux (right)


Each speaker presented on a different aspect of human rights education from early years to university level studies, and brought their own unique perspectives and experiences to the table. The event was very well attended and included students, educators and member of the public.

The question and answer session was engaging and challenging. People really stressed the importance of education in classrooms but also opportunities for lifelong learning and support for people within their places of work. It was a rewarding project to be involved in and I look forward to future opportunities to contribute to and to promote ongoing dialogue.

WPL posted a video of the panel discussion online


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