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New exhibition on human rights education opens at UN Headquarters in Geneva

Wednesday, March 8, 2017  
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Joint effort by SGI Buddhist association and other concerned groups highlights role of civil society


GENEVA — A new exhibition “Transforming Lives: The Power of Human Rights Education” was launched on March 6 at the Palais des Nations, home of the United Nations Office at Geneva. The exhibition is a collective effort by civil society, governments, and an inter-governmental organization.

On display until March 17, “Transforming Lives” raises awareness of the role of human rights education in promoting dignity, equality and peace, and preventing human rights violations and abuses. It marks the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training in December 2011.

The exhibition is co-organized by Soka Gakkai International (SGI), HRE 2020, the NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning, and the states comprising the Platform for Human Rights and Training (Brazil, Costa Rica, Italy, Morocco, the Philippines, Senegal, Slovenia, Switzerland and Thailand), with thanks to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Panels can be viewed here.

At the opening, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations Office at Geneva Ambassador Maria Nazareth Farani Azevêdo commented, “Human rights education and training are critical to achieving a society of peace, tolerance and sustainable development in which the human rights of all are respected, protected and fulfilled.”

Abdulaziz Almuzaini, Director of the UNESCO Liaison Office in Geneva, added, “I wish to commend the organizers for their shared commitment to raising awareness and promoting action in support of human rights education around the world.”

Hirotsugu Terasaki, SGI Director General of Peace and Global Issues, quoted SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, stating: “It has never been more important to create and solidify a movement for human rights education that will foster the social conditions in which people treasure human diversity and dignity.”

Other speakers included Craig Mokhiber, Chief of the Development and Economic and Social Issues Branch of OHCHR, and Emma Melander Borg of the HRE 2020 global coalition for human rights education.

The 25-panel exhibition shows how human rights education has transformed the lives of people in Australia, Burkina Faso, Peru, Portugal and Turkey. It invites citizens, governments and civil society organizations to take action to nurture a culture of human rights.

Human rights education not only equips learners with the knowledge of human rights, it fosters the development of values, attitudes and behaviors that promote action to defend and promote human rights, democracy and rule of law.


SGI is a community-based Buddhist association with 12 million members around the world. Its members promote peace, culture and education as part of the long-standing tradition of Buddhist humanism.


Joan Anderson

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