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Tracing the History of Human Rights: CWNU’s First 'Human Rights History Exploration Camp'
  • By Park Jeong-hyeon, reporter
  • 승인 2023.09.04 00:10
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▲ A photo of the 1st ‘Human Rights History Exploration Camp' hosted by the CWNU Human Rights Center (Source: provided by the CWNU Human Rights Center)

CWNU's Human Rights Center held the 1st ‘Human Rights History Exploration Camp' on August 8 and 9 as part of the project to support the expansion of university human rights centers. The project is supported by the Ministry of Education by selecting excellent university models to play a leading role in strengthening students’ human rights awareness and fostering a human rights culture. This is because the establishment of human rights centers in universities has become mandatory, due to the revision of the Higher Education Act.

Like last year, CWNU's Human Rights Center was selected for this year’s expansion support project. In the process of planning and implementing more diverse, creative, and distinctive human rights- related programs, CWNU's Human Rights Center decided to hold the 'Human Rights History Camp' for the first time. In particular, the camp was organized to provide CWNU students with an opportunity to learn human rights awareness and achieve human rights values by visiting sites that have had significant implications in human rights history. The main purpose was to give students an opportunity to think about human rights in their daily lives through experience-oriented education.

Twenty undergraduate and graduate students, and five faculty members participated in the two- day camp. At the first destination of the camp, the Democratic Movement Memorial Park in Icheon, Gyeonggi- do, they spent time reviewing the history of democratization with a docent. They learned about human rights in relation to the military regime era, the death of Jeon Tae- il, and North Korean politics. Next, the students visited the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History, where they reaffirmed the excellence of Korean culture in a memorial hall that included the history of K- POP. They were also able to experience the lifestyle from the perspective of the people who lived in that era, rather than just looking at the materials displayed in the hall. On the second day, the students learned about the history of human rights at various sites, by visiting Myeongdong Cathedral, the Seoul YWCA, Hyangrin Church, KEB Hana Bank Headquarters, Seoul Plaza, and the Seoul Anglican Cathedral (Deoksugung Palace) with a docent. Lastly, the students visited the Korea Movement Foundation in Uiwang, Gyeonggi- do, where they were reminded of the tragic history of human rights abuse.

The students' responses to the program were enthusiastic. They showed responses such as, "I realized that the freedoms we enjoy are not naturally accepted," "I was able to think about the value of democracy, after learning about the development and history of democracy," "I learned that a hecatomb was made to ensure the human rights of individuals and to find equality,” and, “I felt that I should study this field in more depth.” From these comments, we can see that the ‘Human Rights History Exploration Camp' was a meaningful activity.

Lee Jang- hee, the Director of the Human Rights Center at CWNU, said, "Human rights are the spirit of tolerance and solidarity, and these are ethical virtues that are necessary for human relations. However, even though human rights are guaranteed as a core value in the Constitution, there is still a lack of interest and understanding of human rights among universities and communities in Gyeongnam Province." She added, "I hope that this camp was beneficial for all the participants, and I hope that our students will keep the value of human rights in mind, and to fulfill it in their lives. We will continue to develop programs to strengthen the capacity of human rights in daily life."

The CWNU Human Rights Center plans to continuously develop various beneficial cultural programs and human rights policies to prevent human rights violations. In addition, they will strive to create a human rights- friendly school environment by conducting human rights education and publicity activities to raise awareness. In the second half of the year, various programs will be carried out to raise students' awareness of human rights, including the Human Rights History Exploration Camp, special lectures, forums, T- group counseling, and film screenings on human rights. For now, the CWNU Human Rights Center is recruiting students to participate in the '2023 Human Rights and Gender Equality Video Content Contest' on its website, so please seek it out and look forward to the contest.

By Park Jeong-hyeon, reporter  jhgongju0903@gmail.com

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