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DALLAS (SMU) — Six university professors from Texas will participate in the groundbreaking Texas Project for Human Rights Education spearheaded by SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program and funded through a multi-year $268,000 grant awarded by The Boone Family Foundation.


The research-focused, curriculum-building pilot project, which Embrey Program Director Rick Halperin says is “at the cutting edge of higher education,” aims to extend the reach of human rights education at SMU and throughout Texas. The project, focused on women’s rights, potentially will set the stage for similar interdisciplinary programs across the country.


“The idea of professors in different disciplines incorporating aspects of human rights into their own specialties — from business to liberal arts to law — is just ideal,” Halperin says. “I’m glad SMU is leading the way.”


Those selected to participate include three SMU faculty members: Dedman College Psychology Professor George W. Holden, Cox School of Business Assistant Professor Robert W. Rasberry and Perkins School of Theology Professor Sze-kar Wan. Also involved will be TCU Associate Professor of Social Work Harriet L. Cohen, South Texas College of Law Associate Professor Katerina Lewinbuk and University of North Texas Assistant Professor of Political Science Jacqueline H.R. DeMeritt.


Each professor will receive approximately $20,000 to fund trips, human rights courses and research.


“With The Boone Family Foundation’s vision and support, we can make inroads in human rights education, particularly in the area of women’s human rights,” says Embrey Program Associate Director Patricia Davis.


The participants will conduct research and teach human rights as a part of their own academic disciplines. They will be funded to:


• Take part in a multidisciplinary faculty seminar taught this fall by Halperin, as well as other faculty members and activists currently working in human rights, to acquaint them with the principles, history, current situation and ongoing struggles of the human rights movement.


• Travel on an Embrey Human Rights Program-sponsored trip Dec. 17-30 to see World War II Holocaust sites in Germany and Poland, with one day allotted to visit the notorious women’s concentration camp Ravensbrück, where more than 100,000 died.


• Develop individual research on human rights topics in their own fields during summer 2012.


• Develop a course relating human rights to their own fields to be taught in 2012-13.