Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Multipliers learn about Human Rights: training Course „Human Rights Education in Youth Work“ (International House Sonnenberg), a great success


From April 2nd to 9th altogether 29 young multipliers met in the German Harz Mountains to broaden their knowledge and Human Rights History and Methodology, and to develop skills on how to work about Human Rights with young people. The idea for this course being created on a SIG II meeting in Rome, it was one of the first “Common Projects” of the DARE-network put into action.

The participants came from nine European countries (Italy, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Poland, Cyprus, Germany and others), resembling various fields of work and interest, all related to Youth Work, some being teachers, some social workers, but also a few students and volunteers being active in NGOs working with children and youth.

During the Training Course the main trainers Jochen Dallmer (from the organisation JANUN, Hannover, Germany) and Katja Pötzsch (from the International House Sonnenberg) presented a great variety of aspects and methods concerning Human Rights Education. Participants for example would draw and act out the 30 articles of the UN declaration of Human Rights, or – later during the course – take on different roles in a complex simulation game, showing the difficulties of pursuing Human Rights when it comes to international conflicts.

The programme was truly enriched by a couple of expert speakers, offering two or more workshops on their personal specialities of Human Rights Education. Massimo di Rienzo and Guido Antonelli Costaggini from the Italian organisation “Menougualepiù” arranged a whole colourful day, dealing with Children Rights. In addition Anja Mihr from Berlin who works for the “European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation” in Venice offered two workshops on quite scientific, theoretical questions of HRE, while Larry Fergeson from the “Future Worlds Center” in Cyprus facilitated intense discussions on Human Rights and Global Learning issues.

In addition to the units and workshops at House Sonnenberg, the whole group also spent a day in the University City of Göttingen, meeting representatives of six different NGOs such as “Amnesty International” or the “Society of Threatened Peoples”. Thus the multipliers had a chance to learn first hand about social projects of active organisations linked to the field of Human Rights.

In general everyone involved was very excited about the Training Course and the great chances to gain new perspectives, methods and ideas linked to the topic. For sure the DARE network has an incredible potential for setting up these kind of international learning experiences on a very high quality level, which should be used more often in the future. Many participants expressed their desire to learn more about certain aspects of Human Rights Education, such as “Human Rights and Globalisation”, the “Universal validity of Human Rights” or “Human Rights and Economy”. In any case the staff of the International House Sonnenberg would be happy to make this kind of Spring Academy a regular activity taking place every year.

Katja Pötzsch, International House Sonnenberg (Germany)