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Creating a Culture of Inclusion: Human Rights Day

Today the United Nations observes Human Rights Day.

71 years ago on this day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “a milestone document proclaiming the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being.”

As important now as when they were adopted, understanding our individual human rights helps to foster inclusivity and guards against discrimination in all its forms.

Early this year, with funding from the Alberta Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund, the School of Global Access launched our Creating a Culture of Inclusion project. This initiative for staff and faculty focuses on increasing our collective understanding of our individual rights, through a lens of inclusion and diversity, with an aim to foster a campus culture that embraces intercultural respect.

The Culture of Inclusion’s goal is to develop staff orientation materials informed by employee feedback gathered through a series of focus groups and world cafés held this past summer and early fall. During the 13 focus groups and the two world café sessions, over 60 staff and faculty, representing five schools and eight administrative units, had meaningful conversations and engaged with ideas about how a rights-based understanding of inclusion and diversity can be reflected in staff and faculty orientation material.

Guided by an advisory group with representation from across campus and with the support of our partners at SODEXO, our project team is now working to create resources informed and inspired by what we’ve heard from staff and faculty, and we look forward to sharing this with our campus community early in the new year.

Thank you to everyone who has shared their experiences and ideas with us; we could not do with work without your contributions and your willingness to have these important conversations about how we all understand our human rights.