Student Task Force leaders, teachers and international scholars from the Visiting Fulbright Program convened to launch STF’s 2011-12 school year and new campaign, the Right to Education. Guest speakers included Gabriel Stauring and Katie-Jay Scott of i-Activism, who are partnering with STF students to create a Human Rights Mobile Library that will travel within Darfuri refugee camps in Chad. During the afternoon session, award-winning news anchor Linda Alvarez led a series of “speed pitching” exercises between STF leaders and Fulbright scholars to help students articulate and encourage others to become advocates for the right to education.
“Education is often seen as a matter of life and death in the Darfuri refugee camps,” said Gabriel Stauring. “Specifically, they [the refugees] want to learn English as they believe it is the way to converse with the rest of the world…and many youth risk their lives to go back into Darfur to pursue secondary and higher education.”
Although the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees mandates the right to a basic education for all children in accordance with Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Right, there are over 72 million primary-age children are denied this basic right today. STF’s goal for the 2011-12 school year is to explore and
educate others on the barriers that deny children education internationally and locally such as: gender discrimination, poverty and hunger, conflict and war, disabilities, cultural and social divides, and the impact of HIV and AIDS.
One Valencia High School senior summarized her excitement saying she looks forward to another year of STF and the challenge, “to stand up for what is basic, what is human, and what is right.”
The workshop was co-sponsored by UCLA’s International Institute Visiting Fulbright Scholars.