10th Annual Human Rights Youth Summit: Empowering Future Leaders through Human Rights Education
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Flags were held high at the International Auditorium in Brussels on September 6th as Youth Delegates from around the world carried their flags side-by-side during the 3-day summit including youth delegates from countries such as Albania, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Romania, Russia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States of America and the Vietnamese community.
The purpose of Youth for Human Rights International is to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and inspire them to become advocates for tolerance and peace. Co-sponsors included Jongeren voor Mensenrechten Belgium, Village Suisse NGO, Bomoko NGO, The Voix des Faibles ASBL, Grains de Sable ASBL, Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International and Des Jeunes pour les droits de l'homme Genève.
H.E. Professor Dr. Bertrand G. Ramcharan, UN High Commissioner for HR (2003-2004) officially welcomed the delegates and emphasized the importance of human rights education.
At the Youth Ambassador Presentation, the delegates shared power point presentations and accounts of their Human Rights Education work in their local communities. Accounts included how the Youth Delegates used their skills to get the message of human rights out into their communities and this included the use of art, performances, film, presentations at schools, workshops, walks for human rights and many other ways.
H.E. Ambassador Ireneo Omositson Namboka, Former Human Rights Education and Protection Adviser, former diplomat in Uganda government (1974 - 1987), congratulated and encouraged the delegates.
H.E. Mr. Enzo di Taranto, Former Coordinator of the United Nations Action 2 Human Rights Global Programme, inaugurated the world premier of the Photo Exhibition of Leading Celebrities in Haiti exhibit as part of a global Celebrity Diplomacy campaign.
A highlight of the event was the presentation of four Human Rights Hero Awards. Performance by the talented Sarah - Julia from France opened the award presentations. The teams from Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark and India were acknowledged for their outstanding contributions to Human Rights Education in their respective countries.
The following day, the Human Rights Education Workshop included a full day peer-to-peer mentoring session, where the Youth Ambassadors shared their experiences and best practices with the new Youth Delegates to prepare them for greater expansion of their initiatives.
The International Human Rights Summit 2013 closing session was held on Sunday, September 8th, when religious leaders including Catholics, Muslims, Protestants and many more gathered for the Inter-Religious Conference for Peace.
In closing, Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, Founder and President of Youth for Human Rights International said: "Thank you again for traveling long miles, overcoming difficult obstacles and following our shared dreams of building a better world inspired by Human Rights Education. It has been a great honor to be here with you. Humbled by your greatness, your work, your passion and inspired to continue the next step in the long journey still ahead of us around the world."
We look forward to seeing you at our 11th International Human Rights Summit in 2014!