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University of Iowa News Release

April 1, 2005

UICHR Child Labor Teacher Education Program Expands To New York

The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) is expanding its educational outreach programs and will offer workshops around the country for K-12 teachers to help them integrate human rights and child labor concerns into their curricula. These workshops began in Iowa City under the direction of Chivy Sok, former deputy director of the center. Sok continues to work as a UICHR consultant and will conduct the first workshop outside Iowa, "Teachers as Catalysts for Social Transformation," on Saturday, April 2 at the Long Island University C. W. Post campus in New York.

"This is part of the Center's long term goal to advance understanding about critical human rights issues," said Kenneth Cmiel, UICHR director and UI professor of history and American studies. "The UI Center for Human Rights remains committed to bringing education about child labor to the classrooms. We have developed some of the most effective educational materials on this subject and are now in the process of sharing them with educators across the nation. The training program in Long Island is just one of the many educational programs we will implement this year."

Teachers who participate in the UICHR workshops will learn about the exploitation of children as laborers, a pressing human rights concern, and will develop teaching strategies that inspire students to contribute to international dialogue and activism on this issue.

The program in Long Island grew out of ongoing discussions between the UICHR and a UI alumna who read about the center's work in the UI publication Spectator. After reading the Spectator article, Beth Vendryes Williams, an artist and art educator affiliated with the Searingtown School in Long Island contacted the center about a collaboration to promote children's rights. She and Karen Kliegman, a librarian and media technology specialist at Searingtown School and the Resource Editor for MidLink Magazine, created a program called "Building Bridges for Children's Rights" and invited Sok to come to New York to present a workshop for local teachers.

Cmiel said these types of programs are an important part of the Center's mission. "Education is an important process of promoting systemic change for social justice," he said. "Teachers and students are instrumental, especially in the global fight to eradicate exploitative child labor. We cannot hope to eliminate this human rights violation without engaging them."

The Long Island workshop is made possible through a collaborative effort by the  UICHR, the Long Island University C. W. Post Educational Technology Department,  Searingtown School, Herricks Community Fund, the Electronic Education Village, and the International Center on Child Labor and Education.

THE UICHR is part of UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost for academic programs and dean of International Programs (IP), these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, Program: Amy Weismann, 319-335-0483


Building Bridges Workshop: