The Third International Conference on Human Rights Education (HRE) will focus on both theoretical and practical issues faced by human practitioners in various parts of the world. This conference will have a special focus on the cultural, social and political change, as illustrated by the transition from communism to democracy in the Central Europe over the last twenty years and current developments in Northern Africa, in the Middle East and Burma. It will provide an opportunity for discussion on the present economic difficulties in the West as well as contemporary topical issues including crisis of multiculturalism, racism and other forms of discrimination or challenges to the universality of human rights. The conference will also examine key issues faced by the developing countries and the linkage between HRE and development.

Plenary sessions will provide an opportunity to discuss a wide range of HRE issues. Workshops will afford the opportunity for practical experience of education and teaching about human rights. There will also be an opportunity to visit the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz Birkenau. On the final day of the conference the 2012 laureate of the Annual Paweł Włodkowic Award for Human Rights Work will be announced.

Conference overview

1. Central Europe as an example of successful transition from communism to democracy – and to Human Rights Education? Complexity of Eastern and South-eastern European countries

  • Sharing experience of transition to democracy and to HRE in Central and South-eastern European countries (1980s/1990s)
  • Factors (historical, political, social, cultural, regional) which affect development of democracy and of HRE in Central and South-eastern Europe
  • Considering changes to Human Rights Protection and Education during and after the transition; can we call them rapid changes or development of HRE?
  • Reflecting on contemporary status of HRE in these countries; is Central Europe a good example of successful development of HRE? 

2. New technologies and Human Rights Education. A new obstacle or a chance for HRE? Debate on freedom, security and human rights

  • New technologies: are they a threat to Human Rights?
  • How to provide personal security on the Internet? Social networking and Human Rights
  • Reflecting on the Internet: is there anarchy or lack of freedom?
  • New opportunities of Human Rights Education through media and new technologies

3. Welfare and Social Rights in Times of Austerity Crisis.

  • Outlining current conditions of HRE in the West: the role of economical crisis
  • Considering the cultural crisis in the West: is economical crisis rooted in the cultural crisis?
  • Why developing countries are not experiencing financial crisis? What can developed countries learn from developing ones?
  • The role of culture of solidarity in overcoming financial and culture crisis.
  • Sharing experience of successful development of various institutions and NGOs promoting culture of solidarity

4. Bioethics, biotechnology and Human Rights Education

  • The role of contemporary development of genetic engineering (general outlook)
  • Is bioscience shaping the understanding of human being and its rights?
  • Reflecting on the limits of the usage of biotechnology from perspective of Human Rights and human dignity
  • Predicting the future: how the development of bioscience in next decades may change the idea of society and human rights
  • The role and practices of cooperation between institutions of science and institutions of HRE

5. Peace and development. The role of institutions and countries in Human Rights Protection and Education

  • The situation of Human Rights Protection in various developing countries
  • The role of the United Nations in promoting transition in developing countries
  • Difficulties of institutionalization of HRE in developing countries
  • The role of developed countries in promoting HRE in developing countries
  • Examples of successful promotion of HRE in Africa, Asia and South America
  • The role of NGOs and religious institutions in promoting transition and HRE in developing countries

6. How Auschwitz could have ever happened? Universalism vs. particularism of Human Rights. Did Human Rights Education emerge after Auschwitz?

  • Auschwitz as a calling and impulse to develop HRE
  • HRE before Auschwitz. How did it work? Why it did not prevent genocide?
  • Is HRE universal or only particular idea? Should it be accepted all over the world? Is there a place for regional understanding of Human Rights?
  • Significance of Auschwitz for contemporary Jews, Poles, Germans and the World

7. Multiculturalism. The End of Multiculturalism policy? How to teach Human Rights today?

  • Cultural crisis of contemporary Western world: causes and consequences (general outlook)
  • Threats to Human Right Educators from anti-Human Rights groups; is there a possibility to avoid it in multicultural societies? How should we approach (educate) groups not keeping Human Right standards?
  • Problems of HRE in contemporary multicultural societies
  • Is there an alternative to multicultural policy? Would other model help to develop HRE?
  • Examples of successful HRE in multicultural countries; Australia model
  • The role of religion in multicultural societies.

8. Arab Spring. What is its cause? HRE models in Africa

  • Social, political and cultural results of the Arab Spring in Northern Africa. Practical effects.
  • Was a need for Human Rights Protection the cause of the Arab Spring? What are the causes of contemporary Arabic Revolutions?
  • Old models and new models? Has Arab Spring affected HRE models in Africa?
  • Considering culture of Human Rights in Islam; does Islam shape regional understanding of HRE or does universal HRE shape contemporary Islam?
  • Democratization processes in Northern Africa; the role of developed countries in supporting the spread of democracy and Human Rights in African regions.

9. Ombudsmen Panel: Human Rights in Digital World - Threats and Challenges

  • Discussion on: Dignity, Sensitive Data, Protection of Privacy, Bioethics, Copyrigts and others.

Other issues

  • Challenges of HRE in developed countries
  • Human rights and constitutionalism. Problems of constitution, civil and political rights, administration of justice
  • Solidarity
  • "Unfortunate gift of freedom". Individual freedom vs. security
  • Courts of human rights and sub-national institution: Human Rights protectors or Human Rights makers?
  • Religious freedom; Neutrality or laity of the state?
  • Religious Education and HRE; Similar or different values?
  • Environmental sustainability and development (4th generation of Human Rights and its education)
  • People with disabilities
  • Demography
  • Gender equality and women empowerment
  • Groups being marginalized
  • Anti-discrimination measures and policies
  • Pedagogy of HRE
  • Universal primary education; adult literacy and distance education
  • HRE at universities
  • Good governance; HRE and participatory development
  • Private sector development
  • HRE and sustainable improvement of production and productivity in agriculture and other sectors, including technology transfer
  • Food security and rural development
  • HRE and Economic policy reform, including trade and income-related issues
  • Health and population, particularly primary, child and maternal health
  • Urbanization and infrastructure development
  • Water and sanitation
  • HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Problems of Refugees
  • Humanitarian intervention