Short abstracts of the presentations were submitted by many of the speakers in advance of the conference. The titles of those that were submitted are underlined; to view those abstracts, click on the title.

Title: Human Rights Therapy: An Interdisciplinary Approach To Human Rights Education

Lead Presenter: Sen Ilker-Gokhan



Session Abstract: Human Rights Therapy: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Human Rights Education. This project revolves around the question as to whether a human rights therapy is possible. The concept of "human rights therapy" is based on my research project, under the same title, financially supported by the Anadolu University and completed in 2014. The idea inspiring this project was quite simple with a concern on fundamental human rights issues in Turkey: in a society which is haunted by xenophobia, political, religious and sexual intolerance, bigotry and lack of empathy, the foremost problem to be dealt may the psychological state of the majority of the population and, most notably of course, of the individuals who are responsible for the human rights violations in Turkey. The project consisted of a workshop by the participation of 15 law faculty students meticulously chosen in order to reflect the political, sociological, ethnical and religious diversity of Turkish society. The workshop was in two parts. The first one was a three-day gestalt group therapy conducted by two psychologists. The second one was the continuation of the group work by the interactive teaching methods derived from two main sources: “The Compass” human rights education manual for young people published by the Council of Europe (http://eycb.coe.int/compass/en/contents.html) and “African Law Clinican’s Manual” written by David McQuoid-Mason and Robin Palmer. The project produced promising results as outlined by the feedbacks of the participants. The proposed project aims to promote and to enhance this method for a value promotion in human rights education. What is planned during the stay in Baldy may be as follows: First, as a law academic, I wish to improve my knowledge of psychology, particularly the gestalt method and to build a sound theoretical and conceptual framework. So I plan to spend my first three months by literature review but also meeting and discussing colleagues and professors in the center who may be interested in the subject and may provide useful insights. The method “human rights therapy” may be subsumed under the street law strand of the Clinical Legal Education with its interactive education nature. So the Baldy may be also helpful in this respect by letting me observe and learn on the Clinical Legal Education, which is a newly developing concept in Turkey, needles to mention the several conferences, workshops and other events that will contribute my professional development in general. Second, during the second three months I plan to reassess the method by applying it to diverse target groups that I may find in Buffalo. The last three months is dedicated to the evaluation and writing of a scholarly article(or a book as the feedback and findings allow) on the subject.

Session Material:

  1. Human rights therapy

See full list of abstracts here.