Felisa Tibbitts – USA

Linked with The Human Rights Education Associates HREA.

Felisa Tibbitts is director and co-founder of Human Rights Education Associates HREA, an international non-governmental organisation dedicated to education and learning about human rights. HREA was founded in 1996 in Amsterdam as the successor organisation to the human rights education programming that Ms. Tibbitts directed for the Netherlands Helsinki Committee from 1992 to 1996 … (International Network 1/2).

Watch her Blog from Darfur: Felisa Tibbitts, Executive Director of HREA, was in Sudan in June to evaluate the effectiveness of training for the African Union peacekeeping forces. She kept a blog while traveling to the various regions of Darfur, June 2007.

Building Human Rights Communties in Education.


Felisa Tibbitts – USA

She works for HREA.

Service Learning, Lessons, Plans ans Projects, 134 pages.

She writes: … Another important dynamic is the interaction of order and culture. Human rights education affects both. An example can be found in the Pakistani law against blasphemy. In Pakistan, no one committed blasphemy until the government passed a law forbidding it. In other words, there was disorder, the government intervened, and this had an effect on culture. Another example can be drawn from the experience of Bhutan. The king declared that his decisions would be based not on his people’s rights but on their happiness. He then decided that people’s happiness would be improved by wearing particular clothes. In other words, the king introduced (dis)order, and this has an effect on culture. Human rights education must examine this interaction … (on page 3/5 of the full long text).

Testimony of Felisa Tibbitts before the Massachusetts Joint Judiciary Committee Hearing on the Human Rights for All Bill (HB706), June 7, 2005.

She says: “we have really built some kind of consensus over the last years about key features of human rights education.

  • Education in and for HR belongs in the schooling sector
  • We are talking about the full range of human rights
  • It is the responsibility of governments to carry out HRE
  • Participatory methodologies should be used
  • Human rights education has to do with thinking, feeling and doing.

That is, HRE should:

  • include knowledge about human rights;
  • foster personal attitudes of tolerance and respect; and
  • develop the individual’s awareness of the ways by which human rights can be translated into social and political reality at both the national and international levels.

… (full long text).


She says also: “Last year I conducted a literature review on human rights education in schools. I found that human rights education and the associated concept of global citizenship are linked with three related practices: the promotion of the idea of a “shared humanity”, a critique of state power, and skill development related to political action. I would like to remind us to retain these elements in upcoming conversations regarding the promotion of education for democracy and human rights. I elaborate on these briefly now” … (full long text of her statement).

Find her and her publications on Google Group-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Blog-search.

… Over the last 12 years, the term “human rights education” (HRE) has slipped into the language of ministries of education, educational nonprofits, human rights organizations and teachers — not to mention intergovernmental agencies such as the United Nations and regional agencies such as the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) … She presents three operating models for human rights education: the Values and Awareness Model, Accountability Model and Transformational Model … (full long text).

Autoren (SD 1-2006): K. Peter Fritzsche / Felisa Tibbitts.

The conflict in Darfur is the focus of international attention, highlighted by celebrity visits to refugee camps in neighboring Chad and the subject of diplomatic conferences, but Felisa Tibbitts is one of the few U.S. citizens who have ventured deep into the war-torn region of Sudan since the bloodshed began in 2003. U.S. citizens visiting Sudan are restricted by the Sudanese government to an area within a 25-mile radius of the capital of Khartoum, but Tibbitts, a Sudbury resident, was allowed to travel to remote locations in Darfur in June to conduct interviews with peacekeepers as part of a UN mission. Appointed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to evaluate and report on the training of the African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces in Darfur, the mission was considered so dangerous that Tibbitts received advanced training in personal security before beginning the project. (July 19, 2007, full text).

She is a New IHREC Member.

In the first half of the 1990s, she worked with Ministries of Education and human rights NGOs in developing new human rights curricula in the post-totalitarian societies of Central and Eastern Europe. Ms. Tibbitts has helped to support local capacity building through national programs in Romania, Albania, Estonia, Ukraine, Croatia and China. Ms. Tibbitts has also developed several practical manuals
related to evaluation, program development and monitoring, which can be found on the HREA website. Ms. Tibbitts was trained in educational research, planning and policy through Master’s programs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has also worked on projects as a qualitative researcher / evaluator since 1989. Ms. Tibbitts teaches a distance learning course on research and evaluation and has published extensively on the human rights education field. Ms. Tibbitts remains active in training, writing and policy development in the human rights education field. Through her organization HREA, NGOs, governmental and inter – governmental organizations are supported in all regions … (International Network 2/2).

And she says: “HREA promotes networking through several mechanisms, including moderated listservs, as well as – more recently – a human rights educators’ database. Our flagship listserv is the Global Human Rights Education listserv, which was started in 1999 and now has over 3,300 members from over 150 countries. This listserv is the premier mechanism for communication among human rights educators around the globe. The Global HRE List was so successful that HREA helped to launch regional HRE listservs with partner organizations. There are now sister listservs operating in the following languages: Arabic, French, Russian, Spanish/Portuguese, and English (for Asia). All of these listservs are connected to one another, with occasional cross-postings. Postings include announcements of new publications, trainings and other resources; calls for joint initiatives; requests for information; discussions about methodology; and sharing of lessons learned. In the summer of 2004, an online Global Consultation on the World Programme for Human Rights was organized simultaneously on all listservs. The recommendations that resulted from the consultation were submitted to the UN General Assembly. In 2004, HREA launched a Global Directory of Human Rights Educators to further facilitate networking. Human rights educators and organizations can input background information. A search feature of the database enables visitors to find human rights educators by region, language, and areas of expertise and interest. We think that this will further facilitate resource sharing among educators. HREA also facilitates in-person networking by regularly organizing international conferences” … (full long text).


… Legally speaking, the right to education is referenced in numerous United Nations and human rights documents including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 14) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Articles 28 and 29). Other key declarations, general comments and documents have expanded on the right to education, including the World Declaration on Education for All (Articles I, III, IV, VI, VII), the Dakar Framework for Action, and Education for All. In the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 28 defines education as a right and Article 29 comments that education should assist the child in developing her or his “personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential.” It seems indisputable that the receipt of a basic education is fundamental to the enjoyment of a range of other human rights. Each child requires a basic education in order to grow up with full development of personality, economic community. Another purpose of schools, according to the Convention, is to develop respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Certainly, to truly understand and promote human rights, one has to live them out in relation to others. This involves not only learning about human rights, but also to live in and through human rights. Thus a human rights-based approach to schooling includes the opportunity to learn about and practice human rights values and framework in the classroom. This curricular and pedagogical framework for human rights education has, expanded over the last few years to what is now called a rights-based approach to schooling in general. The human rights-based approach aspires to include the following characteristics, taken from a framework developed by UNICEF … (full text).


The International Network-Links;

the (old) book: The Politics of Linking Schools and Social Services, 1993, pages 19-32;

The Human Rights Education Handbook, Acknowledgements.

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