London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Human rights education: A framework for building community

Author(s) Prinzing, D. & Price, P. A.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2012  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell (eds.) Creating Communities: Local, National and Global  
Age group -  
‘Promoting Tolerance and Ethnic Reconciliation in the Balkans through Civic Education’ was designed and delivered as a two-year U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor funded project in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo from 2008-10. The goals of the project were to increase tolerance and inter-ethnic amity among young people in the region and impact the knowledge, skills and dispositions required for effective, competent, and responsible participation in democratic self-governance. As Boyte and Farr (Atherton, 2000) state, ‘The young should be thought of as citizens-in-the-making who have serious work to do.’ To evaluate the impact of the project on its participants, the Idaho Human Rights Education Centre (Boise, Idaho) conducted a qualitative study. Data collection included the triangulation of observation, document and student product review, and focus group/individual interviews. The emphasis on qualitative research ‘allows us to stay close to the empirical world [and to] ensure a close fit between the data and what people actually say and do’ (Taylor and Bogdan, 1998, p. 9). The findings are presented as narratives, each telling the story through the eyes and words of the students, teachers and in-country coordinators participating in the project. The approach attempts to ‘understand the experience as nearly as possible as its participants feel it or live it’ (Sherman & Webb, 1988). Keywords: human rights education, civic education, Balkans, civic dispositions

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