Fifth International Conference on Human Rights Education Held at American University Washington College of Law

Speakers and Attendees Represent More than 40 Countries

Elizabeth AndersenAmerican University Washington College of Law hosted the Fifth International Conference on Human Rights Education “Advancing Universal Human Rights Culture,” Dec. 4-6. This was the first time the conference was held in the Western Hemisphere.

The 2014 conference was the fifth in a series that encourages an exchange of ideas and information as well as open discussion on human rights education (HRE). More than 40 countries were represented by speakers and attendees, including more than 250 professors and others who work in the field of human rights or have some focus on the United Nations and the United Nations World Programme for Human Rights Education.

Dean Claudio Grossman, chair of the UN Committee against Torture, and Dr. Sev Ozdowski, professor at University of Western Sydney and president of the Australian Council for Human Rights Education, opened the conference. Elizabeth Andersen, director of the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, gave the opening address. Read her remarks.

“I was delighted to learn of this conference and to receive Dean Grossman's invitation, as the work you do is so central to my own, directing the American Bar Association's Rule of Law Initiative,” said Andersen. “In anticipation of this gathering, I felt such a sense of solidarity about being a part of this community today, and excitement about what I could learn from all of you.”

Andersen (pictured) discussed the importance of human rights education in promoting the rule of law, and challenges and opportunities in human rights education.

The first plenary session of the conference featured remarks from Dean Grossman and Robert Goldman, AUWCL professor and vice chair of the International Commission of Jurists. They discussed the UN and the Human Rights System. The panel ended with a series of questions from the audience.

The conference featured nearly 100 presenters and 14 sessions covering a wide range of topics:

  • Diverse Education Strategies in Human Rights Education
  • Human Rights Education in the USA: Collaborative Strategies to Effect Change
  • Teaching Human Rights to a Global Audience: Achievements and Challenges Ahead
  • Human Rights Education in Emergency, Police, Conflict, and Disaster Situations
  • Adapting to Different Cultures - Country Perspectives in HRE
  • Education for One or Many Human Rights Cultures?
  • Challenging and Overcoming Prejudice by Extending the Human Rights Culture
  • Human Rights Education in Transitional Justice Environments
  • Innovative Ways to Create and Nurture a Human Rights Education Culture
  • Human Rights, Positive Peacebuilding, and Social Justice
  • International Perspectives of HRE
  • Human Rights Within Specific Areas: Gender, Vulnerabilities, and Trafficking
  • Regional Approaches to HRE
  • Raising Awareness of HRE in Different Sectors of Society and Professions

For more information on the conference, visit