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Southern Methodist University Human Rights Major Incorporates Service Learning

Southern Methodist University (SMU) recently approved a human rights degree program. The program has been five years in the making, starting with a human rights minor promoted by Professor Rick Halperin. The program includes a required course “America’s Dilemma: The Struggle for Human Rights” and a service learning component.

SMU joins other campuses around the United States that offers human rights as a major, including Connecticut’s Trinity College, New York’s Columbia University and Bard College, as well as Ohio’s Univeristy of Dayton. Halperin believes that the new major has the potential to encourage students to discuss important issues.

“We just don’t talk about human rights in general in this country,” comment Halperin in an article by Voice of America. “We don’t talk about these things. I blame it in part on culture. It’s a clear failure from one end of this country to the other.”

Students are excited to take on the courses in the human rights major as well.

“I am very interested in service work, and going abroad,” said student Emily Mankowski in an article by Voice of America. “I am very interested in all the subjects we talk about. I’m pre-med, so I’m hoping to get involved in something like Doctors Without Borders and having human rights as a major could help me a lot with my future and pursuing Doctors Without Borders and going abroad and also doing the Peace Corps.

To learn more about the human rights major at SMU, read the original Voice of America article here.

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