Human Rights Education - The Scientific and Cultural Potential for Transforming the Middle East | Topics | DW | 03.03.2012
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Human Rights Education - The Scientific and Cultural Potential for Transforming the Middle East

25 June, 4:00 p.m., Room Aeltestenrat
Hosted by Goethe-Institut e.V.

Political upheaval in North Africa and the Middle East raises not only constitutional but also very fundamental questions regarding the ranking of human rights, for example in terms of legal standards and their transferability, alongside the development of a new awareness of civil law. But on what will these processes of change be based? What role do international human rights declarations have in the development of a new consciousness? Is there an Arab Islamic heritage that could be the determining factor for the development of civil society structures? Can reference be borrowed from European intellectual history, especially the Age of Enlightenment - or is there perhaps even acceptance of contemporary Western thought? Could there ultimately even be a common, cross-cultural understanding, connecting to something akin to a universal legacy of thought?

This workshop will explore issues pertaining to human rights education from various approaches. Arab representatives from the fields of schoolbook research, jurisprudence, art education, philosophy and media theory have been invited to discuss the similarities and differences in sociopolitical developments and legal traditions occurring at different times in the Arab countries.

Amidst the upheavals in the Arab region, Tunisia is a much-quoted example: Human rights has been taught there since the first law on education was introduced in 1958. It contained the notions of freedom, dignity and equality, and it stipulated equality in school education. The law was revised in 1991, making schooling compulsory and introducing civic education as an independent subject. But in fact, even then the law differed greatly from actual political reality. Yet as formal law it could have served as a model for the varying progressions of human rights education in North Africa and the Middle East.

The reasons behind the differences in Arab countries lie in the many predominant denominational, ethnic and religious divisions. So it's no wonder that in other important aspects of human rights education, such as emancipation and the social inclusion of women, the disparities in individual countries of the region could hardly be greater. This workshop will focus on describing the potential that science and culture have for the process of transformation in Arab countries.


Abdelmoula, Dr. Mohammed Néjib
Expert Consultant for Human Rights and Education,Tunisia

Abed, Nagla
Expert for Women's Rights in Human Rights Debate, Germany

Al-Hamarneh, Dr. Ala
Centre for Research on the Arab World, University of Mainz, Germany

Atai, Golineh
TV Journalist, WDR/ARD, Cologne, Germany

Dhouib, Dr. Sarhan
Sarhan Dhouib, Research Associate, Institute for Philosophy, University of Kassel, Germany

Ramsis, Amal
Filmmaker, Egypt