Lessons in Global Education at the 7th Annual UN Teachers Conference on Human Rights

Zabeth Teelucksingh, for GPA -- Last week I learned that the United Nations had seriously considered placing the U.N. in Philadelphia back in the 1950’s when it was looking at site locations. The housing would have been in the Andorra region and the Organization itself at the Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park. The Rockefeller Family donated land in New York and the course of history was changed.

Ramu Damodaran, the U.N. Deputy Director for Partnerships and Public Engagement shared this gem of information in his keynote address at the 7th Annual United Nations Conference on Teaching Peace and Human Rights.

The event was organized by Wayne Jacoby of Global Education Motivators (GEM) to encourage and educate teachers to pursue the lessons of human rights in their class rooms.

One particularly energized speaker was Teacher Sam (Rayla Melchor Santos) from the Philippines. Teacher Sam runs McKinley Hill International School and Leadership Academy for Children, an internationally recognized “Rights Respecting School” in her country's town of Lipa. The beautifully illustrated rights are taught to children from a very young age and are found to encourage higher academic standards through effective leadership and mutual respect of the other.

The conference took place in the bucolic setting of Chestnut Hill College, North West Philadelphia over a day. Many traveled from far to hear the messaging from Professors of religious studies, English teachers and teachers of foreign languages. One speaker, John Kilenyi Parsitau came from as far as the Maasai Community in the Ngong Hills of Kenya.

GEM’s mission is to emphasize human rights and human responsibility, and to educate a second generation to global awareness and responsibility in an interdependent world. Closely allied with the U.N. in New York, they organize behind the scenes day trips to the U.N. from Philadelphia at the cost of $30 per student with a minimum of 20 students. The U.N may not be located in Philadelphia, but a trip like this presents a wonderful opportunity to see the world in action, seamlessly organized by GEM right here in our community.

More information about these trips, and how you can participate, click here or on .pdf file below.

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