After a decade of bringing youth to work in solidarity on human rights promotion in countries that had experienced genocide in the 21st century -- such as Rwanda, Bosnia, and Cambodia -- Global Youth Connect (GYC) set out to create a program that would bring youth from around the world to the USA to work hand in hand with youth and organizations here, on human rights issues in the USA. The idea was to balance the global dialogue about human rights.
Are human rights being achieved in the USA? Is “Human Rights” being used as a concept in the USA for social change? And can it be more widely utilized? And, what do the answers to these questions have to do with social change globally?
After months of planning, cultivating partnerships in NYC, program promotion, application and visa processes, and fundraising for a few scholarships, GYC’s first Human Rights in the USA summit was held June 22 -July 14, 2012.
Some highlights from our first NYC Human Rights Program included:
A Human Rights Learning Workshop with Shula Koenig, Winner of the 2003 UN Human Rights Award & Founder of the People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning (PDHRE)
Discussion of the difference between Human Rights Monitoring & Human Rights Learning;
Discussion of how to integrate a "human rights" framework into US policy;
A discussion of patriarchy's impact on the realization of Human Rights for all people.
Site visits with key stakeholders, including with:
- Human Rights Watch
- United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
- World Council of Churches
- Theater of the Oppressed NYC
- 9-11 Memorial
- National Museum of the American Indian
- Dunn Development Corporation
- LGBT Center in Manhattan
Volunteer service partners for this program have included:
Read the program report from our first NYC program HERE
Read the program report from our October 2014 Program HERE
Bosnia - July 1 - 16, 2016
Rwanda - July 29 - August 13, 2016
"This program has once more demonstrated the benefits of intercultural dialogue, because even though we may be very different in some ways, what we have in common is that we all wish that human rights are respected everywhere." -- Maja, Delegate from Bosnia
Why is it important to study human rights in the United States?
"Before we went out to volunteer in the field, we heard a rousing speech from Joel Berg, Executive Director of NYCCAH, who spoke of vast wealth inequality in the US...Those in the group not from the United States were shocked to hear that the United States does not define economic rights as human rights."
Read blog posts written by the delegates at GYC Village
"The presentation on the "Cradle to Prison Pipeline" has really made me understand the discrimination that still exists in American society, which to me was surprising." -- Tamuz, Delegate from Israel