Celebrating Human Rights Day

CLS educates students on the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration for Human Rights

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Celebrating Human Rights Day
Each poster represented an important part of the different Articles within the United Nations's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Brandon Gervais

Dec. 10 is known by many as Human Rights Day, a day to honor the adoption of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), put into action after the UN General Assembly in 1948. This day also marked the declaration’s 70th anniversary, an opportunity to reflect upon the continued importance of human rights activism around the world. 

In acknowledgement and celebration of a day dedicated to the rights of all persons, the Center for Leadership and Service held an event to educate students on the historic document that establishes the individual rights for everyone, everywhere.

Center for Leadership and Service's table to show students key points made in the Declaration on Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms.


Created after the devastation of World War II, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights focuses on preventing atrocities by setting universal equality standards. The declaration includes a preamble and 30 distinct articles, which create a foundation for human rights across all nations. The preamble discusses the importance of having a single document to stand as a reminder of the basic human rights entitled to all. The document demonstrates the necessity for having articles on human rights due to the countless instances these rights were disregarded during the 20th century.

At the commemoration event for Human Rights Day, the Center for Leadership and Service’s student employees worked to educate passing students about the declaration and to inform them of how it came into fruition. The student workers would also give students a condensed version of the document and highlighted the key parts. In addition to this, posters decorated the Miron Student Center Atrium with the articles’ titles and centered around the preamble that stood in sight when students walked in.

As a school that emphasizes and prides itself on diversity, Kean University has many programs and institutes dedicated to honoring diversity and human rights. This includes the two departments that promoted the #StandUp4HumanRights campaign, the Human Rights Institute (HRI) and the Holocaust Resource Center (HRC). 

Housed in the Nancy Thompson Library, the Human Rights Institute at Kean was established to shine a light on human rights issues and violations across the globe, while inspiring the next generation of activists to create a more just and peaceful world. The Institute does this in a number of ways – through the Human Rights Learning Community; coursework and curricula aimed at promoting understanding and tolerance; special events including lectures, book discussions and film screenings; exhibits in the Human Rights Institute Gallery; and the annual International Human Rights Conference, which is scheduled for Friday, March 22, 2019.

The Holocaust Resource Center is a joint initiative between Kean University and the Holocaust Resource Foundation, a private philanthropic organization founded by Holocaust survivors who rebuilt their lives in New Jersey. Today, the Center continues to honor its founders by promoting messages of respect, understanding and empowerment. Supporting the HRC, the Council on Global Education and Citizenship (Diversity Council) fosters the continued growth of active and compassionate teachers and students in order to reduce intolerance, harassment/intimidation, and to promote social justice in a democratic society. 

Kean University is passionate about raising awareness for human rights and educating students on the atrocities that have plagued the world. With the existence of the Human Rights Institute and the Holocaust Resource Center, Kean is always looking to provide resources for students to spread awareness and education on human rights issues. 

To find out more about the Human Rights Institute, contact them at (908) 737-4672, email humanrights@kean.edu, or visit the second floor of the Nancy Thompson Library. To become involved with the Holocaust Resource Center, please contact them at (908) 737-4660, email hrc@kean.edu, or visit the second floor of the Nancy Thompson Library, Room 206.