Wednesday, November 1, 2017
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 both to local and global human rights issues.

Please visit the International Day website for news, archives, and upcoming events. If you have questions, please contact Teresa Garringer at (319)335-6289 or


Registration is now closed.

2017 Schedule of Events

9:00 - 9:10 a.m. Welcoming Remarks
9:10 - 9:55 a.m. Keynote by Hannah Alper
10:05 - 10:55 a.m. First breakout session
11:05 - 11:55 a.m. Second breakout session
12:00 - 12:40 p.m. Lunch
12:50 - 1:50 p.m. Last large group session
1:50 - 2:00 p.m. Wrap-up


2017 Keynote Address

Hannah Alper is a blogger, author, and dynamic public speaker, using her voice to motivate people of all ages to identify their passion and take meaningful action in their communities and in the world. Her journey as a youth activist is proof that when it comes to leading social change, there is no such thing as “too young.”

Hannah’s new book is MomentUS: Small Acts, Big Change.

Breakout Sessions

Climate Comic. If each of us is responsible for contributing to climate change, what is in our power to fix it? You'll learn about the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals; then focus on climate change; and then, create a climate-saving superhero. You'll need to decide which powers your superhero will they and the storyline to save the planet from the threat of more climate change. Andrea Cohen, Executive Director, Iowa United Nations Association. Kirkwood Room, 2nd Floor.

Creative Classrooms Around the World. There are so many different types of classrooms throughout the world.  What would it be like to get ready in the morning and go to a boat school like some children in Bangladesh?  Can you imagine attending a traveling nomadic school in Siberia? Learn about the unusual and incredible classrooms around the world where access to traditional education is not possible.  Finally, we’ll look at photographs of classrooms from around the world and so you can guess which country they are in! Selina Martin, Advisory Board, UI Center for Human Rights; Associate Controller, UI Finance & Operations. Chapman Catt Room, 2nd Floor.

Drawn to Visual Literacy. Come talk about the importance of literacy in education. Add to your own library starting with a book created and personalized by you. Using skills of visual literacy discover how fonts and images communicate meaning. Explore the power of letters and images to make your own hand-bound, personalized journal. Graduate and Undergraduate Students, UI College of Education, Art Education Program. Salon V, 1st Floor.

Does Ecosystem Variety Benefit Society? Come get your hands dirty as we create an Iowa prairie, an urban landscape, and local farm fields in a bottle. Through investigations with authentic materials from these environments, we will see the effects water can have on these environments and the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Will you wash away or stay high and dry? Only by making observations and taking measurements can you know for sure what makes a balanced ecosystem! Shawna Sieren, Amanda Solomon, Delaney Schneider, Zach Miller, and Ellen Carman, UI College of Education. Salon I, 1st Floor.

Doomsday: Save Iowa City. Today is the day catastrophe hits Iowa City. The few survivors have chosen a small team of scientists (our students) to go back in time and save the city. Armed with a one-time-use device that will save the city from any and all catastrophes, students will observe real Iowa data every five years to determine when doomsday is approaching. As temperature and rainfall rises, students must graph the data points and discuss as a group when they believe the moment of reckoning is here. If students employ the device too early, Iowa City will be doomed! After the activity, students must reflect upon what to look for when determining when things are getting serious. Students will learn that the changing climate leads to natural disasters and current climate data shows a strong trend. Since there is no perfect device that would protect the entire city, students can also think about designing protection technologies against some of the most common natural disasters for the area (flooding, tornados, etc.). Thomas Hader, Katie Pakebier and Bridget Wede, UI College of Education. Borlaug Room, 2nd Floor.

Global Literature That Inspires! Did you know that literature for children is also written with young adults and adults in mind? Come and dive into the latest and greatest multicultural global literature written for children and young adults in the past 3 years. There will be lots of time for browsing and talking about books we love, and we’ll also do some fun reading and writing activities and think about how literature can inspire us to do new and wonderful things in the world. Dr. Renita Schmidt, Professor, UI College of Education. Benson Room, 2nd Floor.

Global Schooling and the Right to Education. Although education is considered a human right, access to quality education is not guaranteed nor always provided. This session investigates schooling in the world by examining what students across multiple places have access to, desire, take for granted, and ultimately want out of the education they receive. Students will have time to create an education platform that addresses high quality education for all. Dr. Jason Harshman, Professor, UI College of Education. Van Allen Room, 2nd Floor.

Killing the King? Shakespeare and Power in Macbeth and Julius Caesar. In this seminar, students will be introduced to Shakespeare's two great political tragedies. Using performance-based approaches, students will act out a series of scenes from Macbeth and/or Julius Caesar. We will grapple with issues of power, corruption, political rhetoric, ambition, and murder. Students will decide if they wish to join the coconspirators who murder Julius Caesar on his way to the forum or if they want to stop Macbeth from murdering the good King Duncan. Dr. Colleen Kennedy, Professor, UI College of Education. Salon II, 1st Floor.

Making Connections: Rights & Responsibilities on a Changing Planet. Our planet faces several threats: species extinction, air and water pollution, sea level rise, increasingly extreme weather, and large movements of refugees and immigrants.  Every person has a right to a livable planet; to make it so, each one of us also has responsibilities in preparing for the future.   This session will explore the rights and responsibilities needed by and for each of us to help make our home a healthier, more peaceful and livable world. Dr. Maureen McCue, Professor, UI Global Health Studies. Wood Room, 2nd Floor.

Meet your South Korean middle school peers and experience Korean culture! Are you interested in middle school students' school life in South Korea? I will take you to Korean middle schools and show their classes, school uniforms, and more. You can see your peers' happiness and worries, and find yourself through their life, too. There is a big event in South Korea on February, 2018. Can you guess what it is? Eunjung Kim, Graduate Student, UI College of Education. Wilson Room, 2nd Floor.

Productive Land Use and Cultivating Personal Produce. Do you ever wonder why your vegetables taste differently in the summer and winter? Are you interested in eating organic or locally grown produce? Do you hate mowing the lawn and wish there was an easier, more sustainable use for the annoying grass? Come find out the answers to these questions and more. Learn about the benefits of local farming of produce, the effects of erosion on soil viability in Iowa, the magnitude of effort to import produce, and any other questions you may have. Students attending this seminar will also have an opportunity to plant and take home a vegetable, and ideas and directions for building personal greenhouses for fresh veggies during the cold winter months. Drew Gartner, Isaiah Phillips, Sam Gire and Gabriela Mendoza, UI College of Education. Salon IV, 1st Floor.

Stolen childhood and lost educational opportunities during wars and conflicts. The presentation will address the plight of children in war/conflict torn Middle Eastern countries and their stolen childhood. It hopes to raise a much needed awareness by American children on the stark differences between what they experience here at home which they may take for granted and children victimized by violence and wars. It hopes to empower American children to become activists by being the voice of the voiceless and volunteering/ organizing events to help those children thru UNICEF and other organizations. Shams Ghoneim, Advisory Board, UI Center for Human Rights; Coordinator, Muslim Public Affairs Council of Iowa; Iowa City Human Rights Commissioner. Wallace Room, 2nd Floor.

The Melting Pot of Education. One of the greatest things about education is the diversity in the classroom. Amazing things happen when different worlds interact and combine! Explore common ground through juxtaposition. Come build your own characters in a collaborative puzzle drawing game invented by Marcel Duchamp and the surrealists. Graduate and Undergraduate Students, UI College of Education, Art Education Program. Salon III, 1st Floor.

The Right to Equal Educational Opportunity in the United States. When we talk about the right to an education as a human right, it is easy to focus on the challenges children in other countries face in gaining access to formal education. But what about children in the United States? Do all children in the United States have an opportunity to receive an education? What about an opportunity to receive an equal education? Through activities and discussion, we will explore some of the things that equal educational opportunity includes and whether American schools are offering it to all children. Dr. DeeAnn Grove, Ph.D. Slater Room, 2nd Floor.

What’s the deal with Hurricanes and Humidity? Why is it so hot and muggy outside? What’s going on with all of these catastrophic hurricanes lately? You can never really count on the forecast… If these are thoughts that you have had before, come join us! Discover the ingredients for a colossal hurricane through an online hurricane simulator and how climate change plays a role in the creation of hurricanes. Although hurricanes may not be a threat to Iowans, we’ll investigate how climate change impacts our community and what we can do as individuals to counteract this ongoing epidemic. Rachel Havran, Neal Hausmann, Kyle Kerger, Salvatore Lopez and Alex Martinez, UI College of Education. Clark Room, 2nd Floor.

Large Group Session

“Out of Bounds” is a play about cyber bullying. Out of Bounds was developed by The Working Group Theater and Hancher Performing Arts at the University of Iowa, and its goal is to create conversation about bullying. The goal of the play is to speak to the realities faced by junior and high school students in a way that is entertaining, engaging and accessible, and cuts through cynicism about anti-bullying messages that can be prevalent with young teens. We believe this play can help create a sense of empathy for the students that will last beyond the performance, and the accompanying curriculum will serve to deepen this experience and strengthen engagement with the topic.