Celebrating Human Rights Day

December 16, 2015

December 10th marked Human Rights Day, which is recognized by individuals and organizations around the world as a day to defend and promote human rights.

The United Nation defines human rights as rights that are inherent by all human beings, despite nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. Everybody is equally entitled to human rights without discrimination. Human rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.

Through our Global Encounters program and in collaboration with The Canadian Commission for UNESCO, 5 schools and 15 observers across Canada joined, via video-conferencing, to celebrate and bring awareness to this important issue.

Marie-Christine, from The Canadian Commission for UNESCO, explained the importance of having youth be involved in conversations to bring awareness to human rights, social inclusion, and cultural diversity. She also highlighted that it is cultural diversity that makes Canada such an enriching society.

We started the day by hearing from our two guest speakers, Kirby Borgardt from Newcomer Employment Education Development Services (N.E.E.D.S Inc.) and Dr. Ayman Yassini, who is a Human Rights expert.

Dr. Yassini provided us a historical and political background to the current Syrian civil war. He explained that over 2 million Syrians are fleeing because their human rights are not protected in their own country. It is important for the global community to be welcoming and understand that each refugee has their own individual story.

In addition, social media has allowed people to share stories and images of the war-torn places and struggles faced by refugees. It is important for that all of us work as individuals and together, as a Canadian community, in protecting the human rights of refugees.

Our second guest speaker, Kirby Borgardt, defined the difference between the an immigrant and a refugee. An immigrant is a person who chooses to leave their country or place of residence to resettle somewhere new. However, a refugee is forced to leave their country or place of residence due to war or natural disasters. A refugee is not prepared to leave their country. And because of this, refugees faces a lot of challenges in their school and community. Refugees face language barriers, culture shock, weather adjustments, racism, and numerous other challenges. Kirby explained that it is crucial for Canadian students to welcome refugees and make them comfortable in their schools.

Both Dr. Yassini and Kirby emphasized that we cannot make assumptions that all refugees are the same because they are from the same country. It is important that individual Canadians spread awareness about the struggles of being a refugee and stand-up to any wrongdoing in their community.


It was very powerful video conferencing event and so far has been viewed 28 times we hope that you will take the time to watch it too! You can view the whole event on our TakignITGlobal Livestream’s page.


This event was made possible through collaboration between The Centre for Global Education, TakingITGlobal, and CCUNESO.

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