A global perspective: investigating human rights education in higher education institutes

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Lynch, Chrystal
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The United Nations (UN), and its respective agencies, have developed global initiatives with the overall aim of bringing attention to the importance of educating about, through and for human rights in various professional sectors. However, UN member states have varied in their commitments to develop, implement, and report on national policies and initiatives that endorse the promotion of human rights education (HRE), explicitly in the areas of primary, secondary and higher education institutes (HEIs). At present, there is limited literature concerning HRE and its diffusion throughout HEIs. This qualitative enquiry was undertaken to gain a deeper understanding of the dissemination of HRE within HEIs. Furthermore, the research sought to provide a representation of experiences and perspectives shared by human rights scholars and practitioners regarding the placement of HRE in academia. The data from this study was gathered through individual, semi-structured interviews with ten participants from seven different countries. The findings provide affirmation of the ongoing commitment that is required by not only member states, but a diversity of actors at the local, national and global levels. It is hoped that the recommendations will provide incentive for further research, including informed action plans that will advance HRE at the tertiary levels. There is still a significant amount of work that needs to be done to make HRE commonplace within universities. Consideration ought to be given to HRE and its capacity to complement academic fields that extend beyond its assumed presence in traditional disciplines.
human rights education, higher education, United Nations, member states, scholars