Are you between the age of 16 and 25? Do you have a passion for human rights and a desire to develop your leadership skills? Are you committed to kindness and respect? Do you want to learn more about Amnesty International’s work? Then the Amnesty International Human Rights College (HRC) is the opportunity for you!
Not convinced yet? Here are four reasons to apply to the 2019 Human Rights College in Toronto, Ontario! Read on to find out why previous HRC participants: Fatima, Sareema, Amanda, and Rachel decided to apply, their favourite parts, and what they are up to now!
My name is Fatima Beydoun and I attended the Human Rights College (HRC) that took place in Calgary in 2017. I decided to apply for the Human Rights college mainly for the reason that Amnesty International (AI) Canada was relatively new to me and I hadn’t known much beyond the online presence I was exposed to, but knew that working against injustices was a passion of mine. After attending a few roundtables that took place in Halifax leading up to the College, my interest in AI Canada surged and I wanted to learn about different ways in which I could host community events to promote various human rights initiatives while collaborating with other youth from across the country. My favourite part of HRC was a “speed dating” portion where the participants were able to connect with staff and directors of AI Canada involved at various levels who were able to share with us the work that they do within the organization and answer any of the questions we had. The whole experience truly informed and shaped my activism in allowing me to develop a sense of confidence to share the knowledge I gained with others by getting heavily involved with my university’s AI Canada chapter the following fall. I am now the Co-president of that society and sit as a member of the National Youth and Action Advisory Committee for AI Canada, where I have the opportunity to carry out campaigns for various causes in my community.
My name is Sareema Husain (pictured on the left) and I attended the Human Rights College in 2017. I decided to apply because I found that although I was passionate and motivated about activism, I wasn’t seeing that translate into effective change. I wanted to gain practical skills to reel people in, especially when it came to publicizing events and media storytelling on human rights issues. My favourite part of the HRC was an opening talk by an indigenous elder. He said “we must do more than talk about reconciliation. We must practice reconciliation in our everyday lives, with ourselves and our communities first”. My biggest takeaway from the HRC was that change does not always arise from hard discipline or using guilt as a propeller for action. The most effective thing you can do is lead by example. My time with Amnesty and HRC connected me with like-minded youth and led me to create “The Matchstick”, Amnesty’s Youth Newspaper. Though the newspaper hasn’t had much traction lately, it was heartening to know Amnesty was eager to provide the resources needed in order for youth to feel legitimized and have their voices heard. If you have a big idea regarding human rights awareness and are not sure how to make it happen, attend HRC! You won’t regret it.
My name is Amanda Cha (pictured in the centre), one of the attendees of the 2017 HRC in Calgary. I decided to apply because I was part of my high school Amnesty International Club, but I wanted to be more directly involved with the organization. I was also interested to see how people across Canada with a variety of backgrounds are viewing Amnesty’s work and current human rights issues. In addition, I already lived in Calgary, so it was an opportunity that I could not miss! My favourite part of the HRC was the people–the participants, the organizers, and everyone who agreed to share their knowledge. It was fascinating to observe a wide range of perspectives on social issues and how Amnesty operates. My HRC experiences helped furthering my ongoing activism, as I gained information on how to get more involved with Amnesty, including being part of this HRC organizing committee! Furthermore, with more knowledge on how Amnesty is structured and managed, I am able to provide stronger arguments when encouraging people to support Amnesty.
My name is Rachel Saunders (pictured on the left) and I attended the Human Rights College in Calgary 2017. I decided to apply because I had attended a workshop Amnesty put on for youth activists that January. I fell in love with the organization and wanted to continue to show my support in any way possible. The Human Rights College seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn more about Amnesty International and how I could make a difference in my own community. The biggest take away from the HRC was how incredibly loving and kind everyone was. Everyone made you feel welcomed and were extremely encouraging. I’ve made some friends there that I still keep in touch with to this day. By attending the HRC I was able to get in contact with my local field worker who helped me start an Amnesty International Society at my university. It taught me that even the simplest acts can make a huge difference in an individual’s life.
Be a part of the 2019 Human Rights College in Toronto, Ontario! Download your application form at youth.amnesty.ca or email email@example.com to have one sent to you! The deadline to apply is March 29th, 2019.