Monday, December 14, 2020

December 10 is International Human Rights Day, which commemorates the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. This landmark document establishes the inviolable rights to which every human being is entitled. On December 10, we are invited to reflect on ways to create a more equitable, interconnected world, recognizing that human dignity must be safeguarded if we are to cultivate a sustainable global society.

In a year marked by global suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN has designated the 2020 Human Rights Day theme as "Recover Better—Stand Up for Human Rights." Acknowledging the ways in which systemic inequalities have exacerbated suffering from the pandemic, the UN calls us to attend to four primary objectives:

  1. Eradicate all discrimination.
  2. Bridge economic, social, and cultural inequalities.
  3. Enhance participation and collaboration, ensuring marginalized communities have a voice in shaping recovery efforts.
  4. Encourage sustainable development rooted in respect for human rights standards.

As educators, we can facilitate these goals. Article 26 of the UDHR dictates that:

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.

In developing leaders for the global workforce, we have the privilege of promoting understanding and respect grounded in our shared humanity. On and beyond December 10, let us be mindful of the importance of human rights to fashioning a better world, identifying opportunities to build alliances through education, mentorship, and career preparation.

If you’d like to get involved with the local UN organization, the Iowa United Nations Association, it is headquartered just across the street in Old Brick: If you are looking for a corporate example, Johnson & Johnson, not surprisingly, believes that business has a critical role in respecting and protecting human rights:

If you want to learn more this week, the UI Center for Human Rights is hosting a conversation with former Iowa professor and current Columbia College Chicago Provost Marcella David. All Tippie community members are encouraged to attend. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact UICHR in advance at

Topic: "International Human Rights: Which Way in 2021?"
Date: December 10, 2020
Time: 12:00–1:00 p.m. CST