Inspiration for the Human Rights Training Project

Over the first term of W2021, the HRC hosted the Human Rights Training Series: Foundational Skills for Student Learning and Advocacy. The series included the following training sessions

1. Academic Freedom and the Law 

  • Brief Description: This session introduced core principles related to a rights based approach to Academic Freedom.  Discussion included its relation to other core Higher Education values, associated concepts such as Freedom of Expression, and  the ways in which the law can be used to protect Academic Freedom nationally and internationally.
  • Speakers: 
    • Professor Nandini Ramanujam, Co-Director & Program Director, Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (McGill University, Faculty of Law); National Steering Committee Member (Scholars at Risk-Canada)
    • Dr. Nicole Barrett, Director, International Justice and Human RIghts Clinic (UBC Allard School of Law)
    • Dr. Jenny Peterson,  Department of Political Science (UBC); Faculty Advisor (UBC Scholars at Risk-Human Rights Collective)

2. The Role of Journalism in the Field of Human Rights

  • Brief Description: Panelists explored a range of topics that assisted students in understanding key issues and dilemmas they might encounter and should consider when engaging with the media in either their human rights research or advocacy efforts. Topics for discussion included understanding how individual journalists themselves approach human rights reporting and how media organizations approach the reporting of human rights issues more generally.  Finally, panelists were invited to discuss the differences and intersections between academic work and journalistic pursuits.  An optional ‘media monitoring’ training session by Professor Jenny Peterson was offered at the end for students conducting media monitoring for the Scholars at Risk Network this semester.
  • Speakers: 

3. Vicarious Trauma in the Field of Human Rights 

  • Brief Description: At this meeting, we discussed the paper, entitled ‘Trauma, Depression and Burnout in the Human Rights Field: Identifying Barriers and Pathways to Resilient Advocacy’ and were joined by one of the three authors, Dr. Adam Brown from the New School for Social Research.  Dr. Brown discussed what motivated him and his colleagues to write the paper, the various ways that trauma might be experienced by those working in the field of Human Rights, and what young activists such should be cognizant of at this early stage of their Human Rights careers. How can you recognize trauma and what are some options for when it is experienced whilst undertaking your work?  Following this session, Nastya Mozolevych, a HRC team member, led a session on one tool for dealing with vicarious trauma as experienced in our work, namely, the creation of ‘Communities of Care’.
  • Speaker: 
    • Professor Adam Brown,  Associate Professor and Vice Provost for Research at the New School for Social Research ,  member of the Human Rights Resilience Project