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Contentious Human Rights Education: The Case of Professional Development Programs on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity-Based Refugee Protection

Pizmony-Levy, Oren; Jensen, Megan Elena

The liberalization of state policies toward non-conforming sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) paved the way for the emergence of an international discourse about protection from persecution based on these issues. Professional development for workers in the humanitarian field (e.g. staff at the UNHCR, in NGOs, and in governmental agencies) is essential to disseminate and actualize this discourse on a global scale. Drawing on human rights education and adult education literature, we examine participant experiences in a two-day workshop that was intended to professionalize their work with individuals who experience persecution due to their SOGI status. Using exit survey data from workshops in eight countries (India, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, Senegal, and Turkey), we document (a) the change in participants’ attitudes toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex individuals (LGBTI) and (b) the significance of participatory pedagogy and respect for religious beliefs/values in achieving intended workshop outcomes (e.g. self-efficacy and a willingness to create a welcoming environment for LGBTI individuals). We discuss these patterns and offer new directions for research on human rights education in the context of SOGI-based refugee protection.


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Also Published In

Human Rights Education: Theory, Research & Praxis

More About This Work

Academic Units
International and Comparative Education
Published Here
June 8, 2015