Tuesday, November 30, 2021

December is Universal Human Rights month, and we are excited that the storyteller for our last Tippie Monday Memoir of this Fall semester is Dimy Doresca, who is one of the UI Center of Human Rights Advisory Board members. He has graciously accepted to be our December Monday Memoir guest and he is going to join us from Kenya. Please mark your calendars for Monday, December 6, at 12:00 PM CST.

At the last Inclusive Teaching Circle we received requests to also include reminders on BUILD, BCG and other DEI related UI trainings. Most of these workshops are now offered virtually, which helps overcome the previous attendance constraint. Details on some of the remaining training opportunities for this semester are included below.

Monday, December 6,  at 12:00 PM:  Tippie Monday Memoir with Dimy Doresca

December is Universal Human Rights Month, which is the focus of our third Monday Memoir of this academic year.  Our storyteller is Dimy Doresca, Associate Professor of Practice of Management and Entrepreneurship and JPEC, Director of the Institute of International Business and Director of the Mandela Washington Fellowship Program. In addition, he is one of the UI Center of Human Rights Advisory Board members.

Please mark your calendars and join us on Monday, December 6, at 12:00 PM CST via Zoom.

Tippie and UI Community events

Timothy Snyder Lecture: “History and Freedom: The Past, Present, and Future of Tyranny."
(December 1 at 5:00 PM)

UI International Programs, the European Studies Group, and the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures are hosting a lecture from Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor Timothy Snyder, professor of history from Yale University, entitled "History and Freedom: The Past, Present, and Future of Tyranny."

For more details and to register to attend via Zoom, please follow this link.

Obermann Conversations: “Economic Development as Social Justice" (December 2 at 7:00 PM)

This summer, a new Story Map of Black-owned businesses in Johnson County was created. It connects users to a rich and ever-growing directory of businesses and entrepreneurs in the eastern Iowa corridor and challenges us to understand the connection between economic opportunities and social justice. Our speakers will help us understand historic barriers faced by BIPOC people interested in starting a business, and why tearing down these barriers matters to all of us.Details on the speakers can be found here.

This virtual event is free and open to all, but registration is required for Zoom link.

BUILD/BGC/DEI training opportunities

There are still available seats in the following workshops:

BUILD: Beyond the Numbers-Foundations for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

ASC/BUILD: The Culture Behind Sexual Assault, Replacing Rape Culture with Consent Culture

NCBI: Conflict and Controversial Issues

All sessions will be via Zoom and UI employees can register through Employee Self Service under My Career>My Trainings. Community members are welcome to join any NCBI or LGBTQ Safe Zone session by emailing diversity-resources@uiowa.edu.


December is Universal Human Rights Month, a time for people in the United States and around the world to join together and stand up for the rights and dignity of all individuals.

On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations outlined our basic rights and fundamental freedoms in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On December 4, 1950, the General Assembly invited all member states and other interested organizations to celebrate Human Rights Day and on December 9th, 2001, President George W. Bush declared the first Human Rights Week, which has since become a monthlong worldwide observance.

Hanukkah (November 28 – December 6)
Hanukkah or Chanukah is a Jewish holiday that is celebrated around the world for eight days and nights.  It commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Greek army, and the subsequent miracle of rededicating the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and restoring its menorah (seven-lamp ancient Hebrew lampstand).  Hanukkah, which means “dedication” in Hebrew begins on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar and usually falls in November or December. Often called the Festival of Lights, the holiday is celebrated with the lighting of the hanukkiah (nine-candles candelabra), traditional foods, games and gifts. Find some traditional holiday food recipes here and traditional Hanukkah blessing melodies here.

Advent (November 28 – December 24)
Advent, (from Latin adventus, “coming”), in the Christian church calendar, represents the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas, and of preparation for the Second Coming of Christ.

The four Sundays preceding Christmas, which is when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, are recognized for four virtues. The candles on the Advent wreath symbolize hope, love, joy and peace. The candles are lit in that order, beginning on November 28th.

In Eastern Christianity, the equivalent of Advent is the Nativity Fast, which starts on November 28th and ends on January, 6th, 2022. The Nativity Fast is one of the four Canonical Fasting Seasons in the Church year, and it is a less strict fast in anticipation of the Nativity of Christ.

World AIDS Day (December 1)
World AIDS Day takes place each year on December 1st. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV worldwide, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Many people show their support by wearing an HIV awareness red ribbon on this day. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.

The theme for the 2021 observance is “Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice”. This year is especially poignant as it marks 40 years since the first five cases of what later became known as AIDS were officially reported. This year we honor the more than 36 million people, including 700,000 in the United States, who have died from AIDS-related illness globally since the start of the epidemic.

United Nations: International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3)
The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

The theme of the 2021 International Day of Persons with Disabilities is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.”

Some Facts & Figures:

  • Over 1 billion people out of the 7 billion (world population) have some form of disability.
  • More than 100 million disabled persons are children.
  • Children with disabilities are almost four times more likely to experience violence than non-disabled children.
  • 80% of all people with disabilities live in a developing country.
  • 50% of disabled persons cannot afford health care.
  • 180 countries have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Seven targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) explicitly refer to persons with disabilities.

On December 1 from 8:00 to 9:30 AM CST, an event of interest: “Reducing Inequalities Through Technologies: A Perspective on Disability Inclusive Development”. This is a virtual event co-organized by United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Concept Note

Feast of Sinterklaas/Saint Nicholas Day (December 5 – 6)
Many countries in Europe celebrate the Feast of Sinterklaas, also known as Saint Nicholas Day - starting on the Eve of December 5 by sharing candies, chocolate letters, small gifts, and riddles.  Children leave shoes or stockings outside of their bedroom door or next to the window on the hearth on the Eve of December 5. Sometimes they include a nice drawing or a wish-list or carrots or hay for Saint Nicholas’ white horse. In the morning, they find candy, chocolates and small gifts in their shoes from Saint Nicholas, who is the patron saint of children.

Bhodi Day (December 8)
December 8 of each year is celebrated as Bodhi Day by Buddhists around the world. It commemorates the day when Buddha - Siddhartha Gautama - attained enlightenment through meditation. An ascetic and sage, it was his teachings on which Buddhism was founded.

Siddhartha, once an Indian Prince, eventually abandoned his life of luxury for a much simpler one. Many believe that Siddhartha resolved to sit underneath a Bodhi tree and meditate until he found the root of suffering and how to free himself from it. It took 49 days of unbroken meditation. After becoming enlightened and experiencing Nirvana, Siddhartha became a Buddha, or “Awakened One.” For 2,500 years, Buddha’s enlightenment has served as the central tenet of the Buddhist faith.

United Nations: International Human Rights Day (December 10)
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—regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, ability, religion, political affiliation, socioeconomic status, etc.—is entitled, simply because of their humanity. On December 10, we are invited to reaffirm our commitment to combating human rights violations and to reflect on ways to create a more equitable, interconnected world, recognizing that human dignity must be safeguarded in order to cultivate a sustainable global society.

The slogan for the 2021 International Human Rights Day is: "All Human, All Equal"

Las Posadas (December 16 – 24)
Las Posadas is a religious festival traditionally held in Mexico and parts of Latin America. Posadas is Spanish for “lodgings”, “accommodations” or “inns”. Beginning on December 16 and ending nine days later, on December 24, Las Posadas commemorates the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy and the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a safe refuge where Mary could give birth to the baby Jesus. Each night, one family agrees to house the pilgrims. At dusk, a procession of the faithful takes to the streets with children often dressed as angels and shepherds. The parties are joyous occasions, including prayers, food (such as the Ponche Navideño), music (the Pidiendo Posada – the traditional Mexican Posada song), fireworks, and piñatas.

United Nations: International Human Solidarity Day (December 20)
The United Nations General Assembly, on 22 December 2005, by resolution 60/209 identified solidarity as one of the fundamental and universal values that should underlie relations between peoples in the Twenty-first century, and in that regard decided to proclaim 20 December of each year as International Human Solidarity Day.

By resolution 57/265 the United Nations General Assembly, on 20 December 2002, established the World Solidarity Fund, which was set up in February 2003 as a trust fund of the United Nations Development Programme. Its objective is to eradicate poverty and promote human and social development in developing countries, in particular among the poorest segments of their populations.

International Human Solidarity Day is

  • a day to celebrate our unity in diversity;
  • a day to remind governments to respect their commitments to international agreements;
  • a day to raise public awareness of the importance of solidarity;
  • a day to encourage debate on the ways to promote solidarity for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals including poverty eradication;
  • a day of action to encourage new initiatives for poverty eradication.

Winter Solstice/Yule (December 21 – January 1, 2022)
The pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice is known as Yule, and it’s one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world. It simultaneously celebrates the shortest day of the year, midwinter, the return of the Sun, and a festival of rebirth. This year, it occurs from December 21, 2021, to January 1, 2022.

The Winter Solstice has been celebrated around the world for centuries. Many people who observe the solstice believe it channels energy for renewal, regeneration, and self-reflection. Many of the customs, rituals, symbols, and lore associated with winter holidays like Christmas have roots in the winter solstice celebrations of ancient pagan cultures. Global celebrations of the Winter Solstice include Saturnalia  (Rome), St. Lucia’s Day (Scandinavia), Dong Zhi (China), Shab-e Yalda (Iran), Inti Raymi (Peru), Shalako (Zuni Tribe, New Mexico), Soyal (Hopi Tribe, Arizona), Toji ( Japan).

How to celebrate Yule.

Christmas (December 25)
Christmas is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. For two millennia, people around the world have been observing it with traditions and practices that are both religious and secular in nature (history of Christmas).

Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. Popular customs include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends and, of course, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive.

December 25 (Christmas Day) has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1870.

How to say Merry Christmas in over 100 different languages.

Kwanzaa (December 26 – January 1, 2022)
Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, created Kwanzaa in 1966. After the Watts riots in Los Angeles, Dr. Karenga searched for ways to bring African Americans together as a community. He founded US, a cultural organization, and started to research African “first fruit” (harvest) celebrations. Karenga combined aspects of several different harvest celebrations, such as those of the Ashanti and those of the Zulu, to form the basis of Kwanzaa.

The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, the family gathers and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara (candleholder), then one of the seven principles is discussed. The principles, called the Nguzo Saba (seven principles in Swahili) are values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing community among African-Americans. Kwanzaa also has seven basic symbols which represent values and concepts reflective of African culture. The celebrations culminate into an African feast, called Karamu, which is held on December 31.

New Year’s Eve (December 31)
December 31 represents the last day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. New Year’s Eve Celebrations start the evening of December 31 and continue into the early hours of January 1 (New Year’s Day). Common traditions include attending parties, eating special New Year’s foods, making resolutions for the New Year and watching elaborate fireworks displays.

In the United States, the most iconic New Year’s tradition is the dropping of a giant ball in New York City’s Times Square at the stroke of midnight. Millions of people around the world watch the event, which has taken place almost every year since 1907.

Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least four millennia: history of New Years’ Celebrations.