What is the importance of human rights?
The protection and promotion of human rights is the building block of society. Without a strong defense of human rights, there can be no true peace or justice. I believe that it is essential that the human person be placed as the prime reason and focus of all political and legislative endeavors on both the national and international level. To this end, the foundation on which resolutions to global issues are established and the lens through which each issue is viewed should be the defense and promotion of the dignity of the human person. Human rights issues are not only another point on the agenda before the United Nations’ General Assembly; they are, rather, the basis of any multilateral endeavor. The defense of human rights is a way of life that will better interpersonal relationships on every level, from the personal to the international. Like a ripple, where the nexus is the promotion of human rights, the effects will continue to expand indefinitely. The transformation will permit and present solutions for foreign policy concerns through a redefined diplomacy, centered on the human person.
What is my involvement in the Embrey Human Rights Program?
While I had been a strong promoter of human rights endeavors at my high school, I had not considered an academic involvement in human rights, nor the implications of such a course of study, until I encountered the Embrey Human Rights Program at SMU. Today, I realize that without the central focus of human rights in my curriculum and life, my studies in Political Science, Public Policy, French and History would lack purpose.
As a Human Rights minor, I now consistently choose classes that will advance my understanding of the complexities of human rights issues around the world. The insights provided in these classes transcend into my involvement in organizations such as Model United Nations, Amnesty International, the Hispanic Youth Symposium and the after-school program of the Vickery Meadows Refugee Community. Furthermore, as the Student Representative to the Embrey Human Rights Program’s Advisory Board, I have the privilege of taking part in the decision-making process of the program and of chairing the Student Leadership Initiative. It is in this capacity that I have learned that any effort to affect change must be directed at the betterment of the human person. The Student Leadership Initiative is an unprecedented program that allows students to thoroughly study a specific human rights abuse, work at a grassroots level in the corresponding region of the world, engage in relevant service, and, finally, complete an individual project for course credit. The SLI is a seamless union of academic study, independent research and service, all focused on Human Rights. Through both theoretical exploration and personal contact, it has profoundly deepened my awareness of the realities of human rights violations around the world.
These involvements and classes are more than simply titles; they are the embodiment of my passion for Human Rights, a passion which has been nurtured and fostered by the Embrey Human Rights Program. My decision to take part in the program has led to unique experiences and opportunities that have focused my course of study and personal development on the human person and proven to me, time and time again, that there is truly “No Such Thing As a Lesser Person”.