Ever since its inception in the 1960s, the non-governmental human rights movement has been expanding. With the end of the Cold War this expansion has accelerated. The movement has branched out to several discrete fields, such as the rights of women, indigenous peoples, immigrants, sexual minorities, international criminal justice, transitional justice and the fight against social and political exclusion and for more equality of opportunities.
With the aid of portentous technological developments, particularly in the field of communications, committed citizens all over the world, particularly the younger generations, feel attracted more and more to “issue politics” including, prominently, human rights, environmental protection, and the area of public transparency and accountability. It may be said that a third or fourth generation of human rights activists is coming to the fore. Understandably, as of yet such involvement consists much more in protesting against a given state of affairs – specially against socio-economic inequalities or the deficiency of public policies – than in proposing viable alternatives or “new models”.
As these new challenges appear there is a pressing need to offer programs that may contribute to the solid formation of an emerging generation of human rights leaders and activists. MOOC technology presents the opportunity to offer massive human rights courses online, open for free to people from many different countries. They may allow new generations of activists and students to learn from past experiences, open their minds to new ideas and benefit from a wide exchange of opinions and information.
This project consists of creating a MOOC on human rights offered from Chile and open for free to international participants. We are stationed at Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago, Chile. We are funded by the Ford Foundation from New York. The program is led by Dr. José Zalaquett, a human rights activist since 1973 and human rights professor since 1995. He has extensive experience on online courses.
The program is divided into various courses. The first course is a general introduction to international human rights. It also covers some specific issues of current interest in the human rights agenda. This course was launched on August 2014, has no time limit to complete it, and is conducted entirely in English, but you may take it here with spanish subtitles. The second course is about public transparency and corruption issues, in spanish with spanish, english, arabic and chinese subtitles, was launched during second half of 2015, has no time limit to complete it and you may enroll here. During the second half of 2016 we will launch our third course: Gender Equality and Sexual Diversity, and during 2017 a course about Transitional Justice. You may follow us in our social networks for news about current and future courses.
We thank Diego Portales University for all of their support during this endeavor. We would also like to thank all those who helped us design the course: María Bori, Rodolfo Figueroa, Beatriz Hernández, Sebastián Koch, Francisca Pino, Cristóbal Rojas, Sebastián Vielmas and Ingrid Wittebroodt.
We also thank the Canadian Embassy in Chile for their support in our next course on Gender Equality and Sexual Diversity. We also thank María de los Ángeles Fernández for her collaboration in the development of the course material.