In Brussels, Speak Truth to Power Educator Conference Shines

On September 10-12, over 30 educators, activists and social entrepreneurs gathered for the final STTP Summit at Education International headquarters in Brussels, Belgium to complete the STTP Roadmap with concrete, realizable actions that address four Impact Building Blocks: Product, Systems, Mobilization and Human Right Education Global Advocacy. The impact building blocks, emerging from the two 2016 regional Summits in San Francisco and Brussels, were designed as a framework to best determine how to strengthen and scale-up Speak Truth To Power.

As global threats to human rights continue to shrink the civic space essential for human rights and democratic values to flourish, a commitment to educating youth by providing them with the necessary tools to combat these challenges is the best way to ensure a more just and peaceful world for future generations.

“At the STTP Summit in Brussels we witnessed over and over again that the impact of human rights education is real. STTP educators from Montreal to Madrid reported that by integrating human rights into their existing curriculum, they have not only seen students’ knowledge of human rights increase, but also their global literacy,” said John Heffenan, STTP’s executive director. “In an era when classrooms are saturated with standardised exams, human rights education reminds young people that character matters more than any test score. In doing so, we help raise citizens of the world who will hold their societies to the highest standards of equality and justice.”

The Speak Truth To Power theory of change dictates that through Speak Truth To Power — the stories of human rights defenders and human rights learning – we increase the human rights literacy rate and the educated citizenry then takes action to protect, defend and promote human rights as they too become human rights defenders.

At the Summit, the STTP “Brain Trust” developed a list of actionable commitments aimed at building a citizenry dedicated to protecting, defending and promoting human rights.

One participant wrote of her experience at the Summit, “I am so honored and humbled to work with everyone on this project and to work with RFKHR and STTP. I feel it is the realization of my life’s work, and I again thank you for having me as your guest in Brussels.”

The three-day Summit, facilitated by the New York-based SY Partners, was funded by a generous grant from Humanity United.

Throughout the three days, all the participants were reminded that as we seek to create a current to “sweep down the mightiest walls of repression and resistance,” Robert Kennedy believed education to be “the key to human dignity.”