UArizona Course to Spotlight Real-Time, On-the-Ground Human Rights Practitioners in Ukraine

As the crisis unfolds in Ukraine, the University of Arizona is offering unprecedented real-time online access to human rights practitioners who are actively working within Ukraine and neighboring countries.

Connecting live via Zoom, these frontline activists, journalists, and ordinary citizens are documenting human rights abuses, assisting refugees and displaced persons, and framing cultural resistance to Russian aggression — and in the process writing the proverbial “first draft of history.” You can read the schedule of speakers here.

From May 16 to July 1, students from around the world can take this one-of-a-kind course, co-sponsored by Jewish Philanthropies of Southern Arizona (JPSA), which draws upon the Human Rights Practice Program’s global network of practitioners and scholars. The course can be taken in two different ways: on a non-credit basis (as a “Community Classroom” experience) or for 3 credits (as HRTS 495a/595a: Human Rights Crisis in Ukraine). In both courses, students will:

  • Take part in video conferences and webinars with leading journalists, Ukrainian cultural icons, the only Ukrainian judge on the European Court of Human Rights, Ukrainian human rights attorneys, activists gathering evidence for war crimes, those driving Ukrainians out of conflict areas by mini-van, and many more.
  • Learn about such critical issues as War Crimes and Genocide, Rape as a Weapon of War, Ukrainian Cultural Resistance, Refugees, Putinism, Propaganda and Disinformation, and Ukrainian History, Language, and Identity
  • Work with others on real-world projects to help those affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Instructor Dr. Olena Tanchyk is the former dean of the Faculty of Economics at Donetsk State University of Management. Her apartment was destroyed in the 2014 Russian invasion of the Donbas. She then moved with her husband to Mariupol, where tragically their apartment building was destroyed during this invasion. UA Co-Instructor Dr. Mette Brogden is a medical and cultural anthropologist with long experience in resettling refugees and addressing severe trauma in survivors of mass human rights violations.

Each week, the class will incorporate readings and video overviews (available on Sundays), a variety of guest lectures from the field (usually Mondays or Tuesdays), and there will be three webinars during the class. You can read the course outline here.

Lectures and webinars will be recorded for those who cannot attend the live Zoom meetings. There will also be optional weekly Zoom meetings offered for class discussions; these will not be recorded. Students will choose and complete project-based assignments during the course.