Seaver College Celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Seaver College’s International Studies and Languages Division recently celebrated the 75th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by hosting a live reading of the declaration in 14 different languages.
“Human rights violations are rampant all around the world,” says Karie Riddle, an assistant professor of political science at Seaver College and organizer of the event. “It is important to remind ourselves how we, as a global community, have said we would like to treat each other. The Declaration of Human Rights document can be hugely useful for human rights activists trying to call attention to ongoing violations.”
The UDHR is a six-page text that consists of 30 articles. Each of these articles outlines the basic human rights to which the United Nations feels all people are entitled. The document was drafted and published on December 10, 1948—just over three years after the conclusion of World War II.
Riddle explained that the UDHR emerged as a result of the Holocaust and the atrocities of the Nazi Party. In an effort to prevent such shocking and inhumane practices from ever occurring again, the United Nations drafted 30 ideal rights that should be afforded to all people. While the declaration is not binding, it has created real and lasting change. To date, its text has spawned more than 70 different human rights treaties.
“It’s important to ensure that the next generation is aware this text exists,” says Riddle. “Some of the students who attended our event were hearing about the document and its principles for the first time.”
At Seaver College’s celebration, students, staff, and faculty members read all six pages of the document in a variety of different languages including Arabic, Cantonese, English, French, German, Igbo, Italian, Japanese, Luganda, Mandarin, Russian, Italian, Spanish, and Thai. This multicultural performance illustrated the expansive reach of the UDHR text, while also highlighting the vast variety of languages taught within the International Studies and Languages Division at Pepperdine University.