Author Bio

Sandra L. Sirota is Assistant Professor in Residence of Experiential Global Learning and Human Rights with the University of Connecticut’s Human Rights Institute. She conducts research on human rights and social justice education in the United States and South Africa. She served on the founding steering committee of Human Rights Educators USA and is a steering committee member of the University and College Consortium for Human Rights Education. Previously, she taught human rights courses in New York City high schools.

Glenn Mitoma is Assistant Professor of Human Rights and Education and the director of Dodd Impact at the University of Connecticut. His research and teaching focus on the role of education in advancing respect for human rights, and the history of HRE. As Dodd Impact Director, Glenn oversees efforts to advance a culture of human rights through programs in HRE, business and human rights, and democracy and dialogues.


Despite several decades of international initiatives designed to promote human rights education (HRE) at the primary, secondary, and post-secondary level and the more recent trend of emergent human rights programs in colleges and universities in the United States (Advocates for Human Rights, 2016; Cargas, 2019), there is little evidence that United States teacher education programs have engaged human rights as a meaningful component in the preparation of future educators. In this article, we offer data from two separate studies showing the current state of HRE in teacher education. We consider the human rights of educators and learners in and outside of the education system. We examine the struggles they face in not just teaching and learning, but in advocating for and promoting human rights and social justice. We conclude with opportunities and challenges for the future of global HRE for teachers. As human rights educators and scholars with nearly thirty years of combined experience and dedication to the field, we welcome this opportunity to reflect on the past and imagine the future of human rights teacher education. We draw from both the non-profit world at the local, national, and global levels and HRE at the secondary school and university levels. Of note, we draw heavily from our positionality as scholar-practitioners in the United States and, most recently, at the University of Connecticut. The examples we share are one pieceof a rich and diverse picture of the growing global field of HRE.

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