Who we are

WHO WE ARE

Colega Introduction

Through human rights education you, your family and your community can attain the knowledge, skills and disposition to change things in a positive way. We call our approach Colega. Colega is your friend, your buddy, your companion in teaching and learning human rights. Because these materials, this site, our organization, and everything we have, are for you, teachers and learners. Colega is meant to assist you to develop the skills and attitudes that promote equality, dignity, plurality, tolerance and respect in your community, society and worldwide. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the foundation and inspiration for Colega.

Don and Ellen Holsinger


Originally from Boise, Idaho, Don interrupted university study for volunteer service work in Brazil as a young man. Ellen grew up in southern Brazil and was raised in a bilingual environment. The two Portuguese speakers met at BYU where both completed undergraduate studies, got married and moved to Madison, Wisconsin for graduate work. They started their family, and Don completed two master’s degrees at the University of Wisconsin before moving on to California and doctoral studies at Stanford in International Development Education (Sociology of Education). Following graduation, and an academic appointment at the University of Chicago, the couple began a long and peripatetic career in the study and practice of international development with assignments around the world, from Indonesia to Ethiopia and Egypt to New Zealand. In addition to university positions, Don was principal education specialist for the World Bank, based in Washington, DC, while Ellen managed a busy household of seven offspring. During Don’s tenure as the Director of BYU’s Kennedy Center for International Studies and Professor of International Development Studies, Ellen published two major works on twentieth century international family life and commitment. From 2011 to 2013, Don and Ellen were Government Relations Representatives to the UN in Geneva for the Kennedy Center NGO. Currently, they are the co-directors of BYU’s new Geneva Office for Human Rights Education, where they have been asked to develop (a program for spreading the message of human rights to the children and youth of the world.)

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What We Do

Children and young people have human rights. What are these rights? Are they being taught? Who is responsible for promoting them? Why don’t states fulfill their accepted obligation to teach them?

But Colega is participatory, peer-oriented, shared learning. Colega is available to you directly—to everyone. Even parents can use these materials. So can community clubs, youth and religious organizations. Colega is easy, it is open access and live. We hope you will write to us, send us emails or tweets, or contact us on Facebook. We are on your side, we are in front and in back—Colega is a partnership instrument. Have a look around.

Since the Kennedy Center for International Studies began the Geneva-based Human Rights Education project in 2008, GO-HRE has teamed up with local humanitarian and community development groups such as Care For Life (CFL) in Mozambique (http://www.careforlife.org/). CFL is a great partner for us in Mozambique. They are committed to the ideal of self reliance and community strength through teaching correct principles and enabling families to flourish socially, economically and politically. We invite similar non-governmental or civil society organizations to contact us. If you would like to add human rights education to your repertoire of community development tools, we are eager to hear from you. Let’s be Colegas!

Why We Do It

Across the world, the share of people who live under conditions of human rights abuses is growing. Every day people flee war and persecution and discrimination. They find the door shut, their hopes denied and their future happiness in jeopardy. We are committed to human rights education because we believe there is no better way to promote peaceful co-existence of all creatures on earth.

Do children and youth have rights? Of course they do. But most do not know them and will not claim them. The Kennedy Center’s office in Geneva is committed to finding ways to improve coverage of human rights education. Children have the right to know their rights! We believe in partnerships which is one important reason that we call our instructional work “Colega.” Educators and activists have a wonderful opportunity to make the world a better home for children. We can claim, defend and promote the human rights of children and youth. We partner with local organizations to promote the learning of human rights by children of primary and secondary school ages. We invite you to join us. Please contact us at GO-HRE. Let’s be Colegas!

Since the Kennedy Center for International Studies began the Geneva-based Human Rights Education project in 2008, GO-HRE has teamed up with local humanitarian and community development groups such as Care For Life (CFL) in Mozambique (http://www.careforlife.org/). CFL is a great partner for us in Mozambique. They are committed to the ideal of self reliance and community strength through teaching correct principles and enabling families to flourish socially, economically and politically. We invite similar non-governmental or civil society organizations to contact us. If you would like to add human rights education to your repertoire of community development tools, we are eager to hear from you. Let’s be Colegas!