Lesson 10 of 11

Creating a Better World

From the Unit:

Overview

Creating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was part of a larger goal after the end of World War II: promoting human dignity. The activities below will help students understand that larger goal and reflect on how we can work toward promoting human dignity in today’s world. Students will think critically about the changes that have occurred in the world since the UDHR was passed, and will creatively present their ideas about how to pursue the dream of universal human rights today.

This lesson is part of Facing History and Ourselves' Universal Deceleration of Human Rights collection and part of a series of lessons about the declaration. Use this lesson at the end of a study of the UDHR to engage students in a conversation about we can still work towards the goal of promoting human dignity today.

Activities

Eleanor Roosevelt and others on the United Nations Committee that drafted the UDHR saw it as one step toward achieving a larger goal-the pursuit of human dignity. Their work was motivated by the atrocities they had witnessed during World War II, including the horrors of the Holocaust and the collective shock at the destructive power of the atomic bomb.

  • How do the values and principles expressed in the UDHR relate your everyday life and the way you treat others?
  • Is this about the basic values and principles of being a good citizen, and if so, where do these principles come from?
  • How do you learn a code of conduct?
  • How do you learn what it means to be a good citizen?

Looking at the goals of the UDHR-to create a better world that preserves and promotes human dignity-what steps might you take today to pursue the same dream? What is different today? What have we learned in the past 60 years about the benefits and limitations of the United Nations and the UDHR? What other strategies might you consider?

Find a creative way to express your conception for the present day: write a song, sculpt a monument or memorial, paint a picture, concoct a recipe, choreograph a dance, etc. Find a way to show your work and be prepared to explain your artistic choices.

Unit

Lesson 1 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

Examining the Immediate Historical Context

Through a timeline activity, students learn how World War II and the Holocaust shaped the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Lesson 2 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

Universe of Obligation

To prepare for a deep study of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, students explore the idea of the “the universe of obligation.”

Lesson 3 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

A Negotiated Document

By comparing multiple versions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, students gain insight into the motives of those who crafted it.

Lesson 4 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

What is a Right?

Through a close reading of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, students analyze the rights and responsibilities the document lays out for people around the world.

Lesson 5 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

Fulfilling the Dream

Students explore the challenges and logistics of enforcing the articles of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Lesson 6 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

Legacy, Judgment, and Memory

Students consider the legacies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the world today and discuss how they think its success should be measured.

Lesson 7 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

Universal Rights

Students question whether the rights laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are truly universal, and how time, geography, language, and culture impact this.

Lesson 8 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

Human Rights and Educating Global Citizens

Students question how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights impacts the way they see themselves as citizens of the global community.

Lesson 9 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

Teaching Youth the Values of the UDHR

Students challenge their comprehension of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by rewriting the document for a younger audience.

Lesson 10 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

Creating a Better World

Students devise a creative way to present their plan for pursuing the dream of universal human rights today.

Lesson 11 of 11
Holocaust

A World Made New: Human Rights After the Holocaust

Students explore the historical basis for the modern human rights movement by examining the codes of ancient societies.

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