And we’re off……..

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Registration and Welcome Day
The 2012 International Human Rights Training Program (IHRTP) has begun. On Sunday June 3, participants from 56 countries, many still recovering from long journeys and jet lag, gathered for the registration and were welcomed by Equitas staff, interns and volunteers. Over the course of the next three weeks, the 108 human rights defenders and educators in attendance, will deepen their understanding of human rights education. And as they learned during the Opening Ceremony on June 4, they won’t be returning home as the same person. Participants and guests heard from two alumni returning this year as co-facilitators who warned them that the program will have a transformative effect on their work and themselves.  Senaka Bandara Dissanayake, from the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission spoke of the participatory method learnt at the IHRTP and how he subsequently applied it to his work training the Sri Lanka military. Solange Bassinga Traore from La Coalition au Burkina Faso pour les droits de l’enfant spoke about how the program made her realize that one cannot be a human rights educator without living by human rights values: ”One cannot teach what one does not have.” Keynote speaker, Marie Nyiramana, from the Canadian International Development Agency, welcomed the participants. She stressed the importance of good governance and strong  institutions as essential ingredients to development.
Senaka Bandara Dissanayake, Thérèse Bouchard, Solange Bassinga Traore, Marie Nyirramana (CIDA), Ian Hamilton (Executive Director)and François Legault (CIDA) (from left to right)
Thérèse Bouchard, member of Equitas’ Board of Directors, welcomed all the participants as new members of the Equitas family and thanked CIDA for their tremendous support.   As participants and guests gathered for the welcome banquet, the energy in the room was all the confirmation I needed to know that 2012 was going to be another good year for the IHRTP. – Pego Brennan

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