About Us

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
(Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

The John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights envisions a world that manifests a culture of peace and human rights in which the dignity of every person is respected, valued and celebrated.  We work to advance a culture of peace and human rights through educational programs and activities, community collaboration and relationship building guided by the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and based on the understanding that considering the world through a human rights lens is key to empowering citizens to respond to the ills in our society and our world – from issues like discrimination and bullying to poverty, war and genocide.

Empowered by the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, adopted on December 19, 2011, the John Humphrey Centre, having begun its work in 1998, continues its mandate, as reinforced by Article 1 of the Declaration:

1. Everyone has the right to know, seek and receive information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms and should have access to human rights education and training.

2. Human rights education and training is essential for the promotion of universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, in accordance with the principles of the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights.

3. The effective enjoyment of all human rights, in particular the right to education and access to information, enables access to human rights education and training.

Our education philosophy is based on the belief that all education needs to be based in a space of Collective Wisdom – we all have something to bring to the table and it is through the harnessing of our collective stories that we are able to achieve a greater understanding of difference, diversity and human rights.  All education or learning involves tapping into the wisdom that exists within the participants.

We focus our programming on learning in a format that involves experiential, transformative and applied learning that reinforces an individual’s understanding of dignity and expands their awareness and understanding through engagement with others. True LEARNING comes through experience and engagement with others and our goal is to provide learning that is transformational and engages the learner in the outcomes.  Our approach to educational programming is specifically designed to empower participants to build their active voice and citizenship and apply their learning to address needs they identify in their community.

“A minimally good life offers basic well-being, satisfaction, security, and fulfillment.  Although human rights are inherent, they are not innate or natural; they need protection precisely because they are susceptible to being violated or abused.  Human rights justify why we should expect to live free of harm and be treated well, and rationalize why we should not harm others but treat them well.  So, human rights are a moral claim and a moral obligation, both to receive and to provide such vital needs; they are both an entitlement and a responsibility.”
(Dr. Seonaigh MacPherson, 2003)

“One of the ultimate goals of human rights education is the creation of a genuine human rights culture.  To do so, students must learn to evaluate real-life experiences in human rights terms, starting with their own behaviour and the immediate community in which they live.  They need to make an honest assessment of how the reality they experience every day conforms to human rights principles and then to take active responsibility for improving their community.”
(United Nations, 2003)