Kofi Annan - Center of the Storm


Afghan girl writing Human Rights
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Background Activities

Activity One:
In this activity, students will read a firsthand account of a refugee, take a quiz on child labor and read information from the UN about the impact on children living in areas of armed conflict.

1. Share these Web sites with students. Ask students to share their thoughts and feelings after visiting each site.

  • Read "A Refugee's Story: Torn Apart" on the BBC's The Road to Refuge Web site: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/world/2001/road_to_refuge/persecution/story.stm

  • Take the UNICEF's "Voices of Youth Child Labor Quiz:" http://www.unicef.org/voy/cgi-bin/zquiz.cgi?quiz=work&lang=en&exitURL=/voy/en/learning/learhome.html

  • Read the article "Children and Armed Conflict" on the UN Web site: http://www.un.org/children/conflict/

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    Activity One:

    The purpose of this lesson is to acquaint students with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    1. Involve students in a discussion about the rights we have in the United States.

    2. Read the United States Government's Bill of Rights. A copy of the Bill of Rights may be found on this Web site: http://memory.loc.gov/const/bor.html.

    3. Record rights found in this document on a piece of chart paper.

    4. Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights may be found on the UN Web site:http://www.un.org/rights/50/decla.htm

    5. Record the rights found in this document on another piece of chart paper.

    6. Compare the two lists and ask students to answer the following questions:
  • What items appear on both lists?
  • What items appear on only one list?
  • Why do you think some of the rights appear on one, but not on the other list?
  • After the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was completed, the assembly asked all member countries of the United Nations to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories." Do you think the United States has complied with the assembly's request? Explain.
  • Do you think it is important that this declaration be taught in schools? Explain.

    7. Tell students that they are going to research the history of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and create a radio broadcast announcing the signing of this document.

    8. Divide the class into small groups for this activity.

    9. Tell the groups that their radio report should contain the following:
  • A sampling of significant milestones for human rights throughout history
  • An explanation of the catalyst for the creation of the declaration
  • Names and roles of the main people involved in the creation of the declaration
  • An explanation of the document
    10. Ask students to write a script of the radio report. (Students may also choose to record their report onto an audiocassette.)

    Teacher Note: Information to complete this assignment may be found on this Web site: http://www.udhr.org/history/default.htm. Depending on your classroom access to computers, you may choose to copy the information from this site and distribute a print copy to your students. Remind students that they are reporting on this event as it happened in 1948 and they should be writing from the perspective of someone reporting on the event as it occurred.

    11. Provide time for students to share their reports with the class. Students may choose to read their report or record the report onto an audiotape and play the recording for the class.

    Activity Two:

    In this activity students will research a human rights issue and participate in a mock committee on ways to address the situation.

    1. Divide the class into small groups according to which human rights topic they are interested in researching, e.g.; children, hunger, women, indigenous peoples, AIDS/HIV, housing etc. Tell students that they are going to research a human rights issue and generate a report on the topic to present to a (class) human rights commission. After the reports have been presented, each group will decide how much money and human resources it will pledge to help in the situation.

    2. Prepare a report that includes the following:
  • An overview of the problem
  • Potential reasons or causes for the problem
  • A focused example of a particular area of the world where this problem is occurring
  • What needs to be done to help resolve this problem
  • A request for aid from the committee to help solve this problem, e.g., education, manpower, financial support, etc.

    3. Select a member from each group to serve on a human rights committee.

    4. Ask each group to present their report to the committee. Ask the groups who are not presenting to write down information and questions they want to ask of the presenting group.

    5. Provide time for a question and answer period after each presentation.

    6. Tell the groups that they will each be given a set dollar amount and a number of people that they will pledge to the situations outlined in the reports. Write dollar amounts, ranging from 100 to 900 million dollars, on pieces of paper. Make sure that there is one piece of paper for each group. Put the pieces of paper in a bag and have each group choose a piece of paper. Record the dollar amount next to the group's name. Repeat the process with the number of people they will have to send to help in these areas. These numbers might range from 100 to 1,000.

    7. Ask the class to decide as a group how much of their financial and personnel resources they will pledge to each group's request.

    8. Have each group submit its pledges and the reasons behind its decision to the committee.

    9. It is the committee's role to either accept each group's proposal, or try to renegotiate another commitment from the group.

    10. After the negotiations have been completed, ask students to write an explanation of what they learned during this assignment about human rights and the struggle to improve conditions.

    Extension Activities

    Choose and complete one of the fifty actions for the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: http://www.udhr.org/action/default.htm


    Teacher Evaluation:

    Create individual portfolios of students' work.
    Observe students in the following areas:
  • Growth in cognitive skills
  • Interactions that occur during group work
  • Growth in social skills
  • Growth in attitudes toward learning

    Conference with each student on these topics:
  • His or her goals
  • Strategies for learning
  • Solutions to problems

    Student Self-Evaluation:

    What did I learn from this project?
    What do I still want to learn about this topic?
    What part of my work on this project gives me a sense of achievement?
    What would I do differently next time?
    In what ways was I able to work with others on this project?
    What did I like most about this project?

    Organizers for Students

  • About the Film Resources Make a Pledge
    Kofi Annan - Center of the Storm Resources About the Writer Lesson Plans