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Educational Events

Education is fundamental to advocacy.  Before members of your community act, they must first be made aware of human rights violations.  To raise awareness, options include hosting a speaker or a panel, a film screening, or a conference.  Be aware of the advantages of collaboration. Educational events are also a great way to recruit new members and spread the work about your chapter.

Speakers and Panels

Use faculty at your institution or local experts to put together a panel on an issue of importance (e.g. Health/Human rights, HIV/AIDS). Once you have decided on the issue of the panel, enlist speakers to discuss different aspects of the issue. Find a venue at your institution or somewhere locally. Hold a Q&A session after the speakers have finished, so that the audience can ask questions. If needed, draft a series of questions to ask the speakers during the session. Advertise for the event via flyers, internet (facebook, myspace, e-mail), and newspapers. Contact appropriate local human rights organizations to help advertise and sponsor the event.

A presentation by an informed and dynamic speaker is an effective way of motivating students, faculty and the community to become engaged in human rights.  Finding an expert on your issue to address a group is not as hard as you think. There are several sources:

You can find speakers on specific issues by researching relevant organizations, your school’s academic departments, other schools, hospitals, health professional organizations and Google.  An internet search will also turn up a number of speakers’ bureaus, but they tend to represent speakers who command large fees.  For the budget-conscious, look into NGOs and websites dedicated to your specific issue.  PHR can provide useful recommendations as well.

When looking for a speaker, keep the issue paramount:  the most effective presentations feature speakers who are credible on the issue and convey genuine passion and commitment.

Film Screenings

Screening a film is a great way to attract a range of people, demonstrate how relevant human rights are to many situations, and help develop awareness of or sympathy for an issue. Choose an interesting topic – for example, asylum and detention, access to health care, HIV/AIDS, clean water, infectious diseases, or a historical or political situation. To find a film that addresses that issue, consult the suggested film list <<link to list of films>>. Choose the number of films that you want to run, and have a film series. Have a weekend film festival, or spread out the films by showing one film at the same time each day for a week, or each week for several weeks. Enlist members of your chapter to help by finding films/documentaries to show, getting the rights to the film if needed, advertising for the event via flyers, posters, the internet (facebook, personal e-mail invitations or listservs), newspapers, and local organizations. Invite fellow classmates, faculty, and local community members. Collect donations or raise money for a cause or organization.

On the day of the screening, give a brief introduction to the documentary and the issues covered. Another option is to collect donations for the cause/theme of the screening.

Symposium or Conference

Host a symposium or conference at your institution on an issue of importance (Global Health Disparities, Access to Medications, HIV/AIDS). Find a venue for the conference at your institution (and be sure to have the appropriate number of rooms for sessions). Choose a keynote speaker, and enlist members of your chapter or outside experts to run workshops and lectures. Advertise for the conference via flyers, internet, and newspapers. Send invitations to your local community, local organizations, and colleges and universities in your region.

Health and Human Rights Education

Want to change the way your school teaches medicine and public health? Want to educate your entire class–and all the classes that come after you? Be a part of PHR’s Health and Human Rights Education Program (HHRE), and start a new course, elective or lecture series at your institution. Check out our HHRE toolkit here [1]for all you need to create lasting curriculum on human rights and health. PHR has HHRE mentors who can also help you plan and strategize: contact Hope at hobrien@phrusa.org to be connected.

Other Ideas for Education and Engagement

PHR student chapters have always been very creative in identifying opportunities for education. Chapters have held arts shows, talent shows, walks, made AIDS quilts, and more. We encourage you to find new and different ways of mobilizing your campus–let us know about your original efforts and we may feature them in this toolkit!

The Advantages of Collaboration

Collaboration increases the potential to create change by expanding your reach and leveraging resources.  Collaboration can range from co-sponsoring one event with one or more other groups, to forming a coalition to work on a long-term campaign.  Simply put: The more committed individuals and groups you can involve in your campaign efforts, the bigger impact you can make.

Examples of Collaboration in Action: