Transform yourself into an agent of change for human rights

By Emilie White

Restrictions on freedom of expression are growing around the world. The space to claim human rights is shrinking and human rights defenders are facing increasing risks. To counter this you need to know about your rights and freedoms and to claim them back.

In short, you need to transform yourself into an agent of change.

So, where do you start?

Our audiences knew the answer to that.

When canvassed to help us shape our first human rights MOOC, we received over 2000 responses. A decisive 50% of survey respondents said they want to learn how to take action. They want to see what human rights look like in practice and they want to connect with people across the world.

They want to apply human rights to their professions:

I am a Social Sciences teacher and I want to learn more about human rights (in the real world, not only in the books) to teach this in my class
Survey respondent
I start work soon as a doctor and would be interested in how human rights might affect my practice
Survey respondent

They want to learn how to make a difference:

Because I live in Egypt which is far from alone in its repression, intimidation and incarceration of human rights workers
Survey respondent
To impact my community in Nigeria and myself positively.
Survey respondent

They want to Network with others all over the world to share experiences.”

The three weeks course will introduce you to human rights through the experiences of individuals at risk and their stories. You will learn how you can take action to make a difference. Facilitators from across the world will guide and interact with you and you will have the opportunity to connect with registrants joining from 188 countries.

The upcoming MOOC Human Rights: The Right to Freedom of Expression (Rights1x) will give you a general introduction to human rights and what constitutes a violation. You will learn what the right to freedom of expression is and its limitations. You will also explore how freedom of expression relates to other rights.

Human rights is relevant to all spheres of each individual's life. It's about knowing about them and contributing by even the smallest possible means, maybe by just initiating a dialogue in your social circle.
Survey respondent

You will gain the confidence to devise and take action to defend and promote your rights in your sphere of influence and to take part in global actions supported by millions of people in the lead up to Human Rights Day on the 10th of December.

To the woman who commented on our social media channel with the words: “I think this is a call for genuine world changers ;) xx” and tagged your friends, you are right! It is people like you who lead others to make change happen as a movement. It will be an honour to meet you and your friends in the MOOC :)

This blog was first published on edX.

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Our first Massive Open Online Course takes place from 17 November to 8 December. The title of the course is: Human Rights: The Right to Freedom of expression.

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