Central Asian PEN’s human rights summer school
‘The summer school was a great contribution from PEN to building better and more just societies in Central Asian countries by involving students in the Summer School from various spheres and bringing them the idea of human rights and freedom of expression. It encouraged us to know our rights, to be braver to defend them and to be assured that you are not alone in this path. Someone may ask if a dozen students can have an effect in building just societies. The answer is yes, they can, by creating just environment at their homes, at the places they work or study.’
–Dilora Mukhtorova, Central Asian human rights summer school participants
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Since 2011 Central Asian PEN, based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, has worked with the Ural-Altay network (a grouping of PEN Centres from Japan to Finland) to run annual Human Rights Summer Schools. The aim of the five-day summer schools is to bring together students, teachers and NGO representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan with experts from Russia and Central Asia to discuss the theory and practice of human rights. Through a non-academic, interdisciplinary approach to the subject, the summer school aims to engage participants in debate and to encourage greater leadership (amongst students) and research (among teachers and NGO representatives) in regard to human rights in the region. Workshops focussing on key human rights issues are run each day, with relevant films showings and discussions in the evening. Central Asian PEN identified human rights education as a priority since it is absent from the school curriculum; bringing together students, teachers and NGO representatives from different countries in the region is a key part of Central Asian PEN’s goal of promoting dialogue and friendship across Central Asia.
Central Asian PEN’s activities form part of a new International Programmes initiative jointly supported by PEN International and the Swedish International Development Agency. The aim of the new initiative is to support civil society and capacity building activities in several countries including, among others, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Puerto Rico, Cambodia, Nepal, Philippines, Guinea, Malawi and Ghana.
For more information contact International Programmes Officer Emese Kovács: firstname.lastname@example.org