Human Rights Day Celebration

Starting Date: 12-17-2008

806 Baldwin Road
Ojai, California 93023
United States
Montessori School of Ojai celebrated International Human Rights Day and the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The celebration ceremony took place in the newly designed Peace Garden, which houses a Peace Pole inscribed with the words “May Peace Prevail On Earth” in six different languages (English, Spanish, Hebrew, Japanese, Chumash, and Sign Language) and benches for the students to reflect and contemplate quietly.

Libby Lang Hawkins, the Middle School teacher opened the ceremony with the history of the League of Nations and its successor, The United Nations. She spoke about how Dr. Maria Montessori supported the League of Nations and worked tirelessly in support of the Rights of the Child in conjunction with UNESCO.

The Middle School students each made a speech and displayed posters explaining what human rights means to them. In her speech, student Elaina Baldwin said, “Human Rights are very important. They give us freedom of speech, religion, and press. Everyone in the world should be entitled to these basic human rights. It shouldn’t matter where they live or what they look like, we should all have the same rights.” Sammy Keyes-Levine spoke about equality and war, “All humans should be treated the same way and should respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Not all the rights are actually being followed, for instance: Article 5 states ‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.’ This right is being violated all the time. I think that it is terrible that any one would do that to anyone in the first place. Human rights need to be respected if we are to acquire peace. None of these rights should be violated no matter what the reason. To me equality means peace and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights keeps equality.”

Jani Baldwin, the school’s music teacher, played guitar and sang a beautiful rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine”. Alex Garcia, from Heavenly Doves in Oxnard, spoke about doves being a universal symbol for peace. The ceremony closed with the release of 40 White Peace Doves. It was a beautiful and fitting way to end the ceremony.

Celebrating Human Rights day coincides with the Middle School Students participation in Montessori Model UN program, a year-long program that culminates with an authentic UN simulation in New York City. It also honors the work and legacy of Dr. Maria Montessori, who believed that if we were ever to have peace in this world we had to teach it to our children first. Peace, her vision was the establishment of world peace through education. In 1932 Dr. Montessori addressed the League of Nations in Geneva with the following words:"The Science of Peace, were it to become a special discipline, would be the most noble of all, for the very life of humanity depends on it. So, also perhaps, does the question of whether our entire civilization evolves or disappears."

Geographical Scope: Local

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