Tuesday, November 12, 2019,
The Marriott Hotel and Conference Center - 300 East 9th St., Coralville, Iowa 52241 USA

The Annual International Day Human Rights Conference is a one-day event held each fall since 1997. The conference is designed to educate middle school students on topics related to both local and global human rights issues.

If you have questions, please contact Elizabeth Decker at (319)335-6115 or elizabeth-decker@uiowa.edu.

2019 Theme: Right to Adequate Living Standard, including Food, Housing and Medical Care

  1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.


Registration is now closed.

2019 Schedule of Events

Time Details
8:00 - 8:45 a.m. Check-in
9:00 - 9:10 a.m. Welcoming Remarks
9:10 - 9:50 a.m. Keynote by Jeff Conant
10:00 - 10:50 a.m. Breakout Session I
11:00 - 11:50 a.m. Breakout Session II
11:55 a.m. - 12:35 p.m. Lunch
12:45 - 1:30 p.m. Large group session: Paperback Rhino
1:30 - 1:40 p.m. Wrap-up (10 minutes)

2019 Keynote Address

Jeff Conant, Friends of the Earth

Jeff Conant is Senior International Forests Program Director with Friends of the Earth US, one of the longest-standing environmental advocacy organizations in the U.S., and a member group of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest federation of grassroots environmental organizations. In this role he works to get global financial institutions to stop financing forest destruction, and instead finance a transition to a climate-friendly economy. He is the lead author of A Community Guide to Environmental Health, a book that has been translated into more than a dozen languages, which shows how grassroots communities can confront problems from toxic waste to water pollution to food security. His articles and essays have been published in numerous independent media sites and books. He is also a father, an avid bicyclist, a beekeeper, and an organic gardener

Large Group Session

Paperback Rhino
"Paperback Rhino will perform a series of comedic, improvised games and scenes inspired by audience suggestions and participation. Get ready to laugh through exciting games such as Late for Work, a chaotic, pantomimed guessing game and Dreamscape, a 15-20 minute series of improvised scenes based on a brief interview with an audience member about their day! Founded in 2003, Paperback Rhino is Iowa City's longest-running improv comedy troupe. Although not affiliated with the university, all members and leaders of the team are current University of Iowa undergraduate students. Paperback Rhino typically has 6 shows per semester at various locations in Downtown Iowa City, and participates in local workshops, private events and fundraisers as well as national competitions and festivals each year. Check us out on Facebook and Instagram and thank you for laughing with us today!"

Breakout Sessions

Food to Table
Do you ever wonder where your food comes from? Instead of picking food from the field, our generation is used to obtaining food from aisles. Come learn with us how the process of food to table has an impact on not only your belly but the environment as well. Impress your friends and family with the knowledge of where your food has been and where it will go!

Heavy Breathing About Wildfires: Is there something in the air?
With the wildfires ablaze in the Amazon and California; does this have an effect on you? Ponder what a fire on a massive scale means, determine if it has an effect on you, and take an initiative to design a solution.

Bioreactors - Farming & Water Quality
Through explanatory analysis we will show the students the amounts of nitrates that run into our waterways from industrial farming and other related sources. We will further investigate methods of purifying this water using bioreactors. Students will then follow a procedure in testing the water quality of local resources, and continue with using a charcoal filter (We will use experimental variables). Further we will discuss how real-world techniques are used further.

It’s Knot in the Bag
How would you feel if you had to put all of your belongings in one bag? We will be creating reusable bags out of recycled T-shirts and you will create your own design on these bags out of melted crayons! Within this project learn about other people’s needs and resources they may lack. Use this bag instead of plastic bags for yourself or for others in need!

Baby it's Cold Outside
How would it feel to live outside in the winter without the proper clothing? There are people today who live with this issue. Luckily there is something we can do about that. We will use a simple finger knitting process to create handmade scarves for donation or personal keeping.

Who Cares if Lester Can’t See?
We will discuss the problems of trying to improve life for the over 1 billion people in the world who have poor vision. Dr. Korpi will talk about the challenge of trying to make the most of resources you have to make the biggest impact you can and share some things learned (and mistakes made) in over twenty years of doing eye mission trips in twenty different countries.

More Happiness in the World
Are you happy? Did you know that you can see rankings about happiness in every country in the world? Finland is the happiest country; the United States is number 19. What makes people in a country happier? What do researchers believe contributes to happiness? How could you and your friends celebrate the International Day of Happiness on March 20, 2020? Take the pledge: I will try to create more happiness in the world around me.”

Resource Relay
Iowa is a big state full of rural communities. Why are small towns so far apart?! Many rural residents spend a lot of time traveling between school, work, daycare, the grocery store, and the doctor’s office. How do people who live in rural places access the resources they need every day? In this workshop, we will create a life-sized board game to learn about the history and needs of rural communities in the United States and to design solutions to rural problems.

The Right to Standard of Living for Artists & Craftspeople
In many parts of the world an adequate standard of living is very difficult to attain for artists and craftspeople because of complex social and economic factors. Brady Plunger, associate curator of education at the Stanley, will lead students in a discussion about the challenges faced by artists and craftspeople in Northern India. Students will also investigate original works of art from the Stanley’s education collections through hands-on activities.

Take A Journey for Your Mental Health
We all have mental health! We do! Sometimes, though, difficult thoughts and emotions get in the way and makes having your mental health harder to have. This workshop takes you on a journey of gaining mindfulness, learning to just breathe, and reminding you that there is an emotional safe place for you when things get too challenging in having our mental health. If you want an experiential journey to focus in and manage your stress, worry, and concerns. . .then this is the workshop for you!

Nuclear Weapons and Human Health
You probably know that nuclear weapons were used by the United States against Japan in World War II, killing over 100,000 Japanese people. But that’s not the only time that nuclear weapons have harmed people. Come learn the whole story about how nuclear weapons have impacted human health, from test explosions all the way to war. We’ll also learn about what happens to the human body when a nuclear weapon explodes.

Elizabeth Catlett - Artist, Activist, Woman
Elizabeth was the first person and African-American woman to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in America. We will explore her life and time in at the University of Iowa and Mexico through her art. We explore how we draw strength from our experiences and those of our families and communities.

Monks, Markets and Beyond: Why Knowing Thai is Critical
When you travel, study and live abroad the depth of your experience will in part depend on how well you know the language spoken by the local people. Language fluency allows you to develop relationships with people which can lead to insights into their views of the world. Our session will explore a specific example of this phenomenon -- how knowledge of the Thai language can help you to get to know people from all walks of life in Thailand -- from students to noodle shop owners to monks -- and how these interactions can enrich your understanding of the culture of this country. We will learn some Thai -- a tonal language -- and watch some videotapes of various social interactions I have had with Thais over the years since my first trip to Thailand in the Peace Corps in 1968.

The importance of creativity, kindness, and HOPE in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Jason Everett has spent three years of his life, from the Middle East to Asia, embedded in global conflicts. It’s from these experiences he saw, first-hand, some of the most desperate of circumstances and personally connected to the basic humanity of the global community. Since then, he has developed several international projects to bring people together through art and shared passions; and to inspire hope. Jason will share about these projects and the importance of hope. He will lead his sessions in creating a couple origami figures for their kindness and creativity "tools bags."

Robots, Stars, and Genderbread...Oh My!
How does operating a robot and participating in an engaging activity about inclusion sound? As we participate in these activities, we will learn how we can make our schools more inclusive and accepting. In this workshop we will also discuss inclusion in schools and focus on various populations, such as students with disabilities and students who identify as non-binary. We will conclude the session by doing a live demonstration of the University of Iowa College of Education double robot and students will be given the opportunity to operate the robot.