Rethinking democracy and human rights education on the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The paper outlines the usefulness and challenges of teaching the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to the young generation of the twenty-first century. Reflecting on the author’s experience of engaging university students the paper shares with readers some personal lessons on the subject. A brief history of the UDHR in the past seven decades will be outlined with a crucial question of why the promise of human rights has not been fulfilled as expected despite the proliferation of international legal standards since the foundation of the UDHR. In so doing I would like to shift the focus of human rights discourse away from the conventional legal-institutional one toward the conditions and contexts in which human rights could be conceptualized and realized. As a way of suggesting an alternative path to the realization of human rights through the lens of education I will discuss the structural literacy, global and ecological citizenship, and peace-rights nexus and solidarity. The conclusion will wrap up the whole argument with some pointers on the role of the UDHR-based human rights education in the seriously fragmented world of today.
KeywordsUniversal Declaration of Human Rights Structural literacy Global and ecological citizenship education Peace-rights nexus
An earlier, much shorter version of this paper was presented as a keynote address at the 19th International Conference on Education Research held in the Seoul National University on 17–19 October 2018. I am grateful for Prof. Kenneth King’s helpful comments on the first draft.
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