NEW PUBLICATION: The Trump Effect, Children and the Value of Human Rights Education

 

Abstract:

Since launching his presidential campaign, Donald Trump's rhetoric has often been divisive as well as demeaning of selected groups. This article examines the impact of Trump's rhetoric on children and their communities and explores the role that human rights education can play in responding to Trump and forging broader support for human rights. The article reviews the research on human rights education and considers how human rights education can be embedded in broader efforts to educate children. Using children's literature as a case study, the article argues for the importance of mainstreaming human rights education and meeting children where they are, in order to foster greater recognition of and respect for the rights of all individuals.

Full citation and link to article: Jonathan Todres, "The Trump Effect, Children, and the Value of Human Rights Education," Family Court Review, 56(2): 331-343 (2018).

A draft of the chapter is also available on SSRN.

 

Children's Rights at Leiden Law School

Leiden.jpg

I am honored to have been invited to give two talks at Leiden Law School in the Netherlands on March 22-23, 2018. I had the opportunity to share my research on human rights in children's literature with children's rights faculty, staff, and students, and then present on child trafficking to human rights students.  In short, Leiden Law School is a wonderfully engaged and dynamic place. The faculty, staff, and students working on children's rights issues (and other human rights issues) were the perfect hosts. My sincere thanks to the entire community. I hope I can visit again soon.

For more on Leiden's children's rights program, click here.

p.s. The city of Leiden is wonderful too!

 

 

 

Share My Lesson profile

I'm honored to have been profiled on the Share My Lesson website for my work on human rights in children's literature. 

See below for an excerpt and link to the full profile:

We are certain that being English language arts teachers has helped illuminate how much a kindred spirit Jonathan Todres has become to us. However, being a teacher is not a requirement when considering the importance of his work and all of the possible applications in and out of any content-area classroom. Read on to find out how literature and the imagination have grown central to Todres’ work with children’s rights and beyond....  To continue reading, click  here .

We are certain that being English language arts teachers has helped illuminate how much a kindred spirit Jonathan Todres has become to us. However, being a teacher is not a requirement when considering the importance of his work and all of the possible applications in and out of any content-area classroom. Read on to find out how literature and the imagination have grown central to Todres’ work with children’s rights and beyond....

To continue reading, click here.

Children's Rights World Cafe -- Symposium

I was delighted to participated in a children's rights symposium at Ryerson University in Toronto on June 15-16, 2017. The symposium brought together a dynamic, diverse group of scholars and professionals who focus on children's rights, higher rights education, and related issues. 

The symposium was organized by the Ryerson School of Early Childhood Studies

Visual art representation of some of the dialogue at the symposium

Visual art representation of some of the dialogue at the symposium

Interview on WABE, Atlanta's NPR Station

I was delighted to be a guest today on City Lights with Lois Reitzes, on Atlanta's NPR Station. We had a wonderful conversation about my new book, Human Rights in Children's Literature: Imagination and the Narrative of Law (Oxford University Press 2016).

To access the podcast, visit: GSU Professor Explores How Children’s Books Teach Human Rights.

To learn more about the book project and to share your ideas, click here.  

Exploring Human Rights in Children's Literature at Emory Law

Yesterday (Sept 1, 2016), I was delighted to visit Emory Law and meet with students in Professor Barbara Woodhouse's children's rights seminar and to discuss Human Rights in Children's Literature. Prof. Woodhouse assigned our new book for this semester. We had a wonderful conversation about human rights in children's literature, human rights education, child participation, and many other critical issues.  My thanks to the students for engaging the project so thoughtfully and to Prof. Woodhouse for the invitation and more generally for her wonderful work on children's rights.

 

Georgia Center for the Book

My coauthor Sarah Higinbotham and I were delighted to have the opportunity to present our new book, Human Rights in Children's Literature: Imagination and the Narrative of Law, at the Georgia Center for the Book on August 15, 2016.

Thanks to all who attended. Your interest and questions were wonderful.

For more on the book and the "Human Rights in Children's Literature" project, click here.

GAcntr4theBook.jpg

The Importance of Human Rights Education

I recently returned from the Global Summit on Childhood in San Jose, Costa Rica, where hundreds of educators had gathered to explore innovative ways to foster child development and learning. Home to the UN-mandated University for Peace and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Costa Rica—which also abolished its armed forces constitutionally in 1949—was a fitting location to reflect on and exchange creative ideas about educating young people.  And it provided numerous reminders of the importance of human rights education.

Though it often receives less public attention than human rights litigation and policy initiatives, human rights education has been a part of international human rights law since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 26(2) of the Universal Declaration reads: “Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.”

Subsequent human rights treaties—from the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights to the Convention on the Rights of the Child—all mandate and reinforce the importance of education aimed at strengthening respect for human rights, tolerance, and peace.  

Human rights education, however, means more than educating about human rights. The UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, adopted in 2011, establishes that human rights education encompasses three critical concepts:

(a) Education about human rights, which includes providing knowledge and understanding of human rights norms and principles, the values that underpin them and the mechanisms for their protection;

(b) Education through human rights, which includes learning and teaching in a way that respects the rights of both educators and learners;

(c) Education for human rights, which includes empowering persons to enjoy and exercise their rights and to respect and uphold the rights of others

In short, creating rights-respecting learning environments and educating individuals in ways that empower them as human rights actors are as important as transmitting knowledge of human rights norms.

It is critical that human rights education receive greater attention and be incorporated more broadly in school curricula in the United States and elsewhere. Research on human rights education demonstrates its capacity to produce numerous positive outcomes for children and adolescents, including an improved sense of self-worth, increased empathy, and a reduction in bullying and harmful behaviors in classrooms. In the end, if people are not taught about their rights and the rights of others, how will they be able to realize their own rights or effectively advocate for others?  

For additional resources on human rights education, click here.

First published on Human Rights at Home blog.

Addressing new frontiers in international law

From OUPblog:

International criminal tribunals are in trouble. Lines are blurring between international legal systems. It’s increasingly difficult to balance the benefits of open trade with the negative impact of its volatility. Rhetoric around border and migration control is vociferous. At the American Society of International Law’s annual meeting (30 March – 2 April 2016), academics and practitioners will address the theme ‘Charting New Frontiers in International Law’. In preparation for the meeting, we asked some of our authors to share their thoughts.

“In many respects, children’s rights itself is still a new frontier. Although the first international instrument on children’s rights – the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child – was adopted in 1924, adults are still learning to think of children as rights holders. The liberal idea that rights reflect and protect individual autonomy fits awkwardly with how many of us understand and experience children, especially young ones. The evolving nature of children’s capacities – reflected in emerging research on both early childhood and brain development – demands that we think of children’s rights differently than we do of adults’. But how we balance children’s emerging autonomy with their need for protection remains a challenge. Children themselves frequently have thoughtful insights into the human rights challenges they confront (and potential solutions). Yet the traditional view of children, typified by adage that they should be ‘seen and not heard,’ discounts the value of children’s perspectives. Children should be understood as partners in the human rights movement. Ultimately, children’s rights – and educating children about their rights and their responsibilities to respect the rights of others – are essential to building just societies. We cannot expect young adults with no exposure to human rights concepts to assert their rights. Human rights education must start early in life.” - Jonathan Todres

See OUPblog for the full story.

 

 

Children's Books: The Key to Building a Human Rights Culture

Risa Kaufman, Columbia Human Rights Institute reviews Human Rights in Children's Literature: Imagination and the Narrative of Law by Jonathan Todres & Sarah Higinbotham (Oxford University Press 2016).

"For those working to bring human rights home, the book offers important and unique insights on the role that children’s literature can play in shaping a culture of human rights, near and far."

The full review is available on Human Rights at Home blog.

Building a Culture of Human Rights

Abstract:

How can we build a rights-respecting culture? .... Law is necessary; its mandate can influence and shape behaviors and attitudes. But it isn’t sufficient, in part because law often operates at a distance from the lives of most people, including the most vulnerable and marginalized.....Until human rights education becomes universal, a source much closer to home offers a vibrant set of materials that explore human rights and can help build a rights-respecting environment: children’s literature. Many of the stories children read and have read to them explore and confront important themes about children’s rights and their responsibilities to respect the rights of others. And they do this in a safe, imaginative world that is accessible to children

See more at: OUPblog.

What Are the Best Political Books for Kids?

Excerpt:

But if you want a feel for politics and a sense of what the big issues are, there are plenty of good novels and picture books that would help all young voters. Understanding the wider issues of politics rather than the specifics of the current election manifestos can start early as children’s books are surprisingly political - sometimes overtly and sometimes subtly. In an article in the New York Times which discussed whether or not children’s books should be political, Jonathan Todres, professor of law at Georgia State University, wrote: “Politics, or rather social issues that have been politicised, are an inherent part of the stories children read and have read to them. Children’s literature provides a safe, imaginative space for children to confront complex issues.”

Click here for the full article.