2020-22: Human Rights



Global Theme 2020-22: Human Rights

Every two years the Global Citizenship Committee selects an academic theme. The goal of the theme is to provide students and faculty with a tangible set of issues to illustrate the more abstract ideas of globalism and citizenship.

The theme can be incorporated into numerous classes, campus events, and extracurricular activities throughout the year, and everyone throughout the college is invited to interpret and explore the theme as a means of thinking and acting as global citizens. The theme for 2020-22 is Human Rights.

Spotlighting Student Work

Three times a semester, an SMC student's work will be featured to demonstrate the various ways in which the Human Rights theme is conveyed in different disciplines.

Project Title: War and Human Rights: Armenia and Azerbaijan Border War 
Name/Discipline: Vera Kiera Dagli and Elsje Wolfaard Ivins, Intercultural Business Communications

Armedia and Azerbaijan Border War and Peace Agreements

Human Rights Defined

According to the United Nations, “Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more.  Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.”

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

Adopted in 1948, the UDHR has been translated into more than 500 languages and -- as stated by the United Nations -- “has inspired the constitutions of many newly independent States and many new democracies.” They are as follows:

To read the articles in detail, please download the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

History of UDHR

Learn about the history of Human Rights.

Questions about Human Rights


  • When it comes to Human Rights, whose interests should be served? The local, national, or global? The individual, household, or larger group?
  • What’s the difference between a human and a citizen?
  • What protections are afforded to people who lack (officially or unofficially) official recognition? (E.g. refugees)
  • Can a commitment to human rights co-exist with the determination to fight “terrorism?”
  • To what extent do human rights extend to communities’ relation to the land?

Personal Considerations

  • What do universal human rights look like in your daily life?
  • What is your responsibility to uphold human rights?
  • What does human rights look like in your discipline?
  • How would we update the UDHR to reflect the issues of human rights today?

Famous Human Rights Quotes

Eleanor Roosevelt

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. ... Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. – Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, – we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Nelson Mandela

"To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity."

– Nelson Mandela

To read other famous Human Rights quotes, see 11 Top Quotes of Human Rights

Human Rights Resources

You can find addtional resources for learning about Human Rights by clicking here:

Human Rights Resources

We are interested in your ideas about Human Rights

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GC Themes from previous years (2010-2019)