Human Rights

Positive Adaptive Positioning Case Study

Brief Introduction to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.
Quote from December 10, 1948:

“THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.”
The purpose of this exercise is to conduct very brief research linked to some aspect of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and then find links to the concepts of Adaptive Positioning (# 11, 12, 13), Orienting Stories (# 21, 22, 23, 28), and Pathways to Wisdom (# 27). Supporting concepts might include Orienting Story Strands (#28), Personal Essential Story (# 112-115) and Life Progress Path (#12).

We offer three areas linked to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as starting points:

a) Eleanor Roosevelt (the prime advocate and Grand Dame of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

b) John Peters Humphrey (the Canadian who drafted the original Declaration of Human Rights)

a) Craig and Marc Kielburger (Canadian child rights activists and their youth-based organizations – Free the Children, Me to We, and Leaders Today)

We invite you to explore one of these people (or another person or organization/issue of your choosing), however remember that you only have 40 minutes. A list of resources is available to you, as well as electronic and hard copy materials. We will come together and use the following questions as a guide for a fifteen minute discussion.

Positive Adaptive Positioning Case Studies

Reflection/Discussion Questions
1. To the extent that progress was made in this case, what adaptive positioning capacities were present in these progressive leaders/institutions?
2. How were these adaptive capacities developed?

– What was the role of these key individuals and what disciplines, orienting stories and creative realization capacities (action/learning commitments) were they developing and drawing on?

– What resistance/obstacles/barriers had to be overcome?
3. What signs do you see that lessons [about developing and applying the adaptive capacities illustrated in these cases] have been, or are being learned and embedded in our institutions, communities and culture? Or are they?
Craig and Marc Kielburger
Me to we site: – –

Leaders Today site:

Free the Children site:

John Peters Humphrey
John Peters Humphrey CBC radio clip

Eleanor Roosevelt
Leading Minds excerpt

PBS Video clip
General Human Rights

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