UN in Armenia Launches the HuRiCamp!

Dec 10, 2014

Photo Credit: Gor Kroyan/UN Armenia Participants sign up for presentations by completing the participant-generated agenda.

On the occasion of the Human Rights Day, on 10th December 2014, the UN in Armenia organized the first-ever HuRiCamp – an experimental unconference on human rights at the American University of Armenia.

Human rights activists and defenders, and simply enthusiasts from a wide range of backgrounds came together to speak on various human rights issues in Armenia.  In a friendly, cooperative environment designed to educate, share learning and inspire collaboration, speakers shared their ideas, solutions, challenges and achievements in tackling human rights issues in Armenia.

Young speakers touched upon a wide range of interesting and provocative topics, such as gender-based violence and women’s rights, human rights and national customs, poverty in the context of human rights, impact of social media in the protection of human rights, challenges of the displaced, rights of the national minorities, preservation of public space, consumers’ rights, use of art in the protection of human rights, to name a few.

HuRiCamp was largely inspired by BarCamp – an innovative way for bloggers, IT and new media professionals to share the recent trends and developments in new media and the Internet.  Over the past six years, BarCamp Yerevan has been successfully running in Armenia as a widely accepted format, attracting significant interest within the IT and non-IT communities alike. Why not adopt an already popular format to talk about human rights?

Peer-learning lies at the heart of the HuRiCamp/BarCamp philosophy. All presentations are given by the participants themselves, with no formally invited guest speakers and the formality of a traditional conference. The agenda of the event is crowdsourced by the participants only after the conference opens, as they put up their presentations on a white board. In turn, the attendants are free to use the “rule of two feet” to move between the sessions. This democratic format gave floor to a number of new faces to share their experiences and ideas, who otherwise get limited exposure at more traditional conferences.

Some 150 people attended the unconference, with a greater number of people reached out thanks to CivilNet’s livestreaming of the event.

In the spirit of the 2014 slogan for the Human Rights Day, the participants at HuRiCamp demonstrated with their passion for human rights that every day should be a Human Rights Day.

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