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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
October 21, 2014
Canadian Excellence

Human Rights & Human Diversity

Human Rights & Human Diversity at the Brantford Campus

Our world is full of contradictions. Most countries accept international human rights obligations, yet violations and abuses occur everywhere. Globalization is making the world smaller, but individual countries are more diverse — culturally, linguistically, racially and religiously — than ever before.

The world is changing. Two of the most important processes that will shape Canada and the world in our lifetime are the international human rights movement and increasing social diversity (race, culture, religion, sexual orientation, disability, etc). Like all changes, these processes present challenges and opportunities. 

The Human Rights & Human Diversity program (HRHD) addresses such issues as how to advance human rights internationally while respecting cultural differences; how to protect the rights of individuals while preserving collective security (e.g. from terrorism); and how to establish cohesive societies and organizations without marginalizing diverse citizens and employees.

HRHD is intended both for people who want to study human rights and people who want to do something about them. It aims to prepare students for Law school, Masters programs in Social Work and International Development (among other MA programs), and for careers advancing human rights in nongovernmental organizations.

Program highlights 

  • Human Rights & Human Diversity is one of the only programs of its kind in Canada at the undergraduate level and the only one that focuses on Human Diversity
  • Students in HRHD develop practical skills while receiving a liberal education. In addition to traditional essays, students complete applied assignments like policy papers, grant applications, and court factums
  • Laurier students have been active putting their ideas into practice. We have a HRHD Students Association and our campus has chapters Amnesty International, and WUSC (World University Service Canada), among others. 
  • Community Service-Learning (CSL) is a teaching method that encourages students to draw connections between knowledge they gain through their studies and practical applications in the community. Students are engaged in voluntary activities while integrating their experiences with academic course work. 
  • HRHD enables eligible students who participate in course-relevant internships and volunteer placements in Canada and abroad to receive course credit towards their degree. While students are generally expected to identify and fund such opportunities themselves, from 2012 to 2014 we have been able to offer four students funding, on a competitive basis, to work for two months at nongovernmental organizations in Accra, Ghana. While this project is funded on a year-to-year basis, we are seeking funding to continue it in the future. 

Courses offered 

Popular courses

  • Children’s Rights
  • Crimes Against Humanity
  • The United Nations in the 21st Century
  • Fundraising
  • Human Rights Education
  • Rights in Canada: Rights, Freedoms and the Charter
  • Global Health and Social Justice 

Admission requirements 

High School Admission Requirements College Grad Admission Requirements 

4U English at 60%

               Average in top 6 4U or M courses:

low - mid 70s 

4U English or college equivalent at 60%

Overall average upon graduation: low - mid 70s

Click here for transfer credit details 

Student experience 

0000Dethridge.jpgTara Detheridge always had an interest in human rights and took the opportunity to bring her passion into the classroom. “I chose the Human Rights & Human Diversity program because it complemented the classes I was taking in contemporary studies,” she says. “I like that the program is very  interdisciplinary, and that I can apply information I learned in one class to other classes, both in the program and in general.” 

Detheridge has been active outside the classroom as well — she was a member of the Laurier Brantford chapter of Journalists for Human Rights. These extracurricular opportunities allowed her “to incorporate the knowledge that I gained in class, and apply it to help educate others on issues such as the AIDS epidemic and the genocides in Darfur and Rwanda.”

After graduation, Detheridge is considering a master’s program in International Public Policy. No matter what her next step, she says it will no doubt include human rights. “These are the issues that continue to play a critical role in all aspects of our lives, and it is important to understand how they impact us,” she says. “I plan to use the knowledge that I’ve accumulated at Laurier Brantford to continue as a lifelong learner, and an informed global citizen.”

Faculty experience 

0000Robinson.jpgTrained as a political scientist, Dr. Andrew Robinson says his interest in human rights developed as a Canadian thinking about issues of culture, identity and justice in Canada, especially with respect to Quebec, First Nations and multicultural communities.  “Through my studies I learned that issues that interested me as a Canadian were being discussed in many European countries, Australia and the United States.” 

“The domestic and international challenges posed by diversity and rights are distinct, yet interconnected,” says Robinson. In the Human Rights & Human Diversity program, student study the efforts that have been made in Canada and internationally to address these challenges.Robinson thinks real progress requires concerted efforts by individuals. 

“At Laurier Brantford, our students go on to become teachers, managers, journalists, activists with nongovernmental organizations, lawyers, police officers, social workers, you name it,” he says. “The decisions they make — personally, professionally and as citizens — are going to make a difference. The issues are complex; the right choice isn’t always obvious. In Human Rights & Human Diversity we help students develop the knowledge and understanding they will need to make wise and informed decisions.”