2016 Edward O’Brien Human Rights Education Awards Winners

2016 Edward O’Brien Human Rights Education Awards Winners

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Human Rights Educators USA (HRE USA) announced the winners of the 2016 Edward O’Brien Award for Human Rights Education. Felisa Tibbitts of Columbia Teachers College is the recipient of the award for individual achievement in the field. Jean-Louis Peta Ikambana will accept the organizational award on behalf of the DC Human Rights Learning Project, an initiative of the American Friends Service Committee.

Established in 2015 in memory of Ed O’Brien, pioneer human rights educator, the O’Brien Award honors an individual and an organization that have made an outstanding contribution to human rights education in the United States. This year’s awards will be formally made Saturday, December 3 during the annual conference of the National Council for the Social Studies in Washington, DC.

Dr. Felisa Tibbitts

felisa-tibbittsBoth scholar and activist, Dr. Felisa Tibbitts is currently a Lecturer in the Comparative and International Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She cofounded the NGO Human Rights Education Associates (HREA – www.hrea.org), which she directed from 1999-2011, and co-founded Human Rights Educators USA. She has published practical resources on curriculum, program development, and evaluation on behalf of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNICEF, UNESCO, OSCE/ODIHR, the Council of Europe, and non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International and the Open Society Foundations. Her scholarship has appeared in numerous books and journals including the Journal of Peace Education, Intercultural Education, Prospects, and the International Review of Education. Previously she was an adjunct faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the UN-mandated University for Peace. She remains affiliated with the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice in South Africa. One nominator said of Dr. Tibbitts, “Felisa is an inspiring model for all of us. … As much as I am impressed with her intelligence and speaking ability, I am even more appreciative of her personally. …I find Felisa to be a light in the darkness, the consummate professional with no self-serving nature. She is the ideal human rights educator and activist.”

Washington D.C. Human Rights Learning Project

Recognizing that young people have been the backbone of social cutting edge work throughout history, the DC Human Rights Learning Project engages at least 150 District of Columbia students per school year to learn about human rights and to get the support they need to become educated and engaged citizens. The project currently works in DC public schools and a few community centers on a weekly basis. Students attend a ten-week course taught by local college and university students followed by a summer learning program called “The Human Rights Summit.” American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) integrates two equally important components: workshops dedicated to discussing human rights that relate to each participant and social projects dedicated to fostering responsible citizens. Students learn principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, identify violations of those principles in their community, propose solutions, and apply what they have learned through a community effort to remedy the violations they have identified. In this way, participants will learn to become agents of social change and able to build communities and transform lives – both on a personal and societal level. Jean-Louis Peta Ikambana, Director of the AFSC-DC Peace and Economic Justice Program will accept the award on behalf of the project.

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