Message from the University of Western Sydney Vice Chancellor

It is with pleasure that I endorse the Third International Human Rights Education Conference, "Promoting Change in Times of Transition and Crisis", hosted this year by the Jagiellonian University, Poland.

The Inaugural Human Rights Education Conference, "Educating for Human Rights, Peace and Intercultural Dialogue", was hosted by the University of Western Sydney (UWS) in 2010 – over 350 national and international participants attended. The conference examined the contribution of a human rights culture to the advancement of democracy and a well functioning civil society; it was, by all accounts, a credit to the convenor, Dr Sev Ozdowski, Director of Equity and Diversity at UWS and former Australian Human Rights Commissioner.

UWS is a major urban university spread over six campuses in Greater Western Sydney – a region of great opportunity, diversity, challenge and growth. The University is culturally diverse, with over 2,500 staff and about 40,000 students drawn from Australia and around the world. The rich texture of history, knowledge and skills that the UWS community possesses is something which enhances our teaching and learning, and research.

We strive to raise awareness of equity and diversity issues, through the development of activities and programs to assist groups of people who have been traditionally underrepresented in education and employment, and we place a strong emphasis on human rights education. Our human rights seminar series is broadcast on Television Sydney and discusses issues as far ranging as cross-cultural communication; sex, race and disability discrimination; and homophobia and workplace harassment.

I commend the Jagiellonian University for hosting this year's conference, "Promoting Change in Times of Transition and Crisis", and thank the conference partners and sponsors for their invaluable support.

To all participants, I wish you a thought provoking and stimulating conference, and trust that you will take the opportunity to share ideas concerning best practice in the area of human rights.

I look forward to learning about the conference outcomes.

Janice Reid
Vice-Chancellor University of Western Sydney