In the 1950s and 1960s following the establishment of the United Nations, human rights education used to be, mainly informal education, given in order to transfer the knowledge on human rights to children and young people. Yet in higher education, it would be given with an objective to contribute to professionalization in this field within Law and Social Science Faculties.
When it was the 70’s, human rights education embraced the rights called “The Third Generation”. Despite the fact that human rights education expanded by taking in new tendencies that presented a critical approach to liberal human rights understanding as well, it mainly kept being a part of the formal education system.
However, it also created an issue where it restricted people without formal education or people who got a start in the business after completing their formal education being informed about the developments in the human rights field. Especially in fields such as prevention of discrimination against women, child rights or environment this was obvious.
This need was met by diversifying human rights education so that it covered non-student people as well. In other words, academic measured up the education of human rights, with the help of developments in new education modules (training) and general informative tools aimed at increasing awareness for the public, reached to new accessibility and extensiveness.
We, as RWİstanbul, consider human rights education as one of the main headlines of our activities and also we are of the opinion that human rights education is a means to include core values of international human rights bill in social and academic life.
In this context, it is possible to say that RWİstanbul approaches human rights education in two levels;
Firstly, it can be approached under the activity headline of Content and Capacity Building. The main objective of this headline is to support the enrichment and improvement of the quality of the classes related to current human rights in academic education in relation to human rights. Within this scope, we also place emphasis on increasing pedagogic and methodologic skills of tutors in this field. Similarly, opening new classes in the field of human rights under different disciplines or/and interdisciplinary classes, such as new centers and units that help specialize in different fields of human rights, is amongst our priorities.
Instead of contractionary perspectives that basically approach human rights as political rights and consider human rights discipline as one of the subfields of law or political sciences, RWIstanbul embraces all generations of human rights as a whole and acts with an interdisciplinary understanding by associating these fields with each other. Here what especially needs to be underlined is that RWIstanbul builds human rights education in this context and for this reason, RWIstanbul considers each and every field from medicine to technology, from anthropology to social services and the economy as its own working fields.
Supporting all these content development efforts with scientific research results which have international value and associating institutional capacity building actions with international academic education and research networks underlies these actions.
Secondly, our actions in any field are respectful to human rights culture and conducted on a non-dismissive basis. Preparation of the content of our actions and the way they are carried out serves to mainstream human rights.
RWIstanbul carries out human rights education actions in formal education institutionalism and approaches them in the scope of collaborations with academic institutions on different levels in higher education. RWIstanbul carries out its human rights education actions in the institutionalism of formal education and within the scope of collaborations with different levels of academic institutions in higher education. In this context, “academic institutions” is used within the limitations of formal institutions. Yet this limitation is not based on an approach where informal academic actions that are carried out out of a formal structure of the Academy are not as important. It also is not based on an understanding that limits academic actions within formal structures and formats.
On the contrary, although our universities have faced quality loss for various reasons, we observe that sometimes informal academic actions can come up with much more quality and productive outcomes. In the long term, however, RWIstanbul considers the actions that support the quality and capacity building of formal academy not only valuable but also essential which is why RWIstanbul has chosen to use its resources, potential, and savings in this field.
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