Program Summary

In 1992, Minnesota Advocates collaborated with the Human Rights Center at the University of Minnesota to create Partners in Human Rights Education ("Partners Program"). Minnesota Advocates strongly believes that individuals who incorporate the concept of human rights and responsibilities into their world view are less likely to violate the rights of others and are more likely to advocate for the rights of the oppressed. Using international human rights standards as stated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, community members join classroom teachers to give students an understanding of human rights and explore their role in protecting the human rights of all people. The three main purposes of the Partners Program are: (1) to motivate students to work for the benefit of others fostering equality and human dignity; (2) to provide educational opportunities where students experience personal success and recognize their value as persons; and (3) to foster connections between learning about human rights and practicing human responsibilities in the community. An understanding of human rights and responsibilities changes attitudes and behaviors to realize a more just society.


  • The Partners Program makes universal human rights meaningful to Minnesota students in their classrooms, homes, and neighborhoods as they grapple with the problems of homelessness, discrimination, violence and poverty. Education teams made up of volunteer lawyers, community representatives and teachers use interactive teaching methods to relate human rights concepts to situations that impact students lives. Students learn that they have the responsibility to defend and advocate for the human rights of others. Defending or advocating for the rights of others could mean starting an anti-violence or anti-discrimination campaign in their school, writing letters and petitions addressing inadequate housing and health care for people living in the United States, or demanding an end to the use of children for cheap labor.
  • Partners Program volunteer educators are encouraged to apply for classroom grants through the Community Action Fund. Students and program volunteers develop community action projects which educate or address local community human rights concerns. The small grants provide students with the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to solve local human rights problems and become responsible members of their communities.
  • The Partners Program created a curriculum designed to educate K-12 students on human rights and activism. There are three parts to the curriculum: 1) Students as Activists; 2) Understanding Immigration; and 3) Land Usage and Indigenous Rights. Each section contains lesson plans, background information, classroom activities, and a bibliography. For purchasing information, please contact the Partners Program at 612-341-3302, or use the order form on the Partners Program web page.

For more information, contact Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights,
310 Fourth Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55415-1012.
Tel: 612-341-3302, Fax: 612-341-2971, E-mail:
[email protected]

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