Program Updates: A Letter from HRTS Director Dr. Bill Simmons

June 16, 2021

June 15, 2021

Happy Summer! I trust you are all getting some well-deserved down time and staying cool!   

Here are a few exciting updates on the UArizona Human Rights Practice program.   

  1. We expect to have 95-100 students in our graduate programs by August 2021.  
  2. We now have had 56 graduates.  
  3. We have successfully launched our new BA in Human Rights Practice (with 3 majors already!), and our three new grad certificates (Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights and Documentary Media, and Human Rights and Technology).  
  4. We have 60 program faculty from 9 different colleges at UArizona!  
  5. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with 6 universities around the globe (in Bangladesh, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Austria, and Italy).  
  6. This summer we are co-sponsoring intensive certificate courses with our colleagues in Bangladesh (on the Rohingya crisis), Kyrgyzstan (on strategic litigation), and Ghana (on international human rights law).  
  7. We have had over 300 video guest speakers in our classes (all recorded) from 40+ countries.  
  8. We will soon be proposing regional human rights certificates at the graduate level (i.e., Human Rights in Central Asia, Human Rights in Russia, Human Rights in the Middle East)  
  9. Our cutting-edge problem-based pedagogy continues to develop in exciting directions. For instance, Leonard Hammer, Liudmila Klimanova, and I have been working on multi-nodal problem-based learning and several of us are looking at how to evaluate a curriculum and pedagogy to make them more decolonial and transformative.    
  10. We have numerous new initiatives on advancing indigenous rights around the globe.  Elisa Marchi and Seánna Howard are involving our students in the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and we have initiated partnerships with several indigenous NGOs, as well as with Tohono O’odham Community College.    
  11. Mette Brogden continues to do wonderful work, often involving her students, with a grassroots NGO in northern Ghana.  She and Wilson de Lima Silva will host local leaders from the region to our campus in August to learn more about language revitalization.  
  12. Finally, here are a handful of our upcoming courses:  Jenny Carlson will be teaching Human Rights Crises with a focus on gun trauma, Ray Smith is teaching a cross-listed course on international LGBTQ rights, Leonard Hammer is teaching a course on cultural heritage protection as a human rights issue, Victor Braitberg is teaching Advancing Human Rights through Technology, Amalia Mora will be teaching Understanding Gender-Based Violence, and Bev Seckinger will teach Advancing Human Rights through Documentary Media.  


Thanks everyone for your contributions to making the program such a success!  

All the best!  

Bill