Bringing Human Rights to Life at Buffalo Women's Conference

At the University of Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center, women were empowered through a Youth for Human Rights seminar.

Youth for Human Rights Buffalo at the Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center 4th Annual Women's Conference where they introduced those attending to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

A workshop presented by the Buffalo chapter of Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) March 25 at the 4th Annual Women’s Conference, introduced attendees to their rights.

Organized by the University of Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center, the conference promoted women’s leadership by creating an opportunity for women to connect, engage and learn from other women who have achieved success in their fields.

Two such successful women are Isabelle Vladoiu and Chris Latham. Vladoiu represented the United States to the Youth for Human Rights International Human Rights Summit at the United Nations in 2016 and 2017. Latham is coordinator of the Buffalo chapter of Youth for Human Rights in Western New York State.

Youth for Human Rights is a secular, nonprofit organization that teaches youth about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and inspires them to become advocates for tolerance and peace.

Latham and Vladoiu form partnerships with other nonprofits and educational institutions, training them to deliver the YHRI curriculum in school and community settings. They also present human rights education directly to youth throughout the region.

They set up a booth at the conference and presented a seminar on the Youth for Human Rights program. They invited those attending to use these materials to tackle some of the most pressing human rights issues affecting the region, such as bullying and human trafficking.

Raising awareness of human rights can have a tremendous impact and these issues. For example:

  • According to the Polaris Project, a nonprofit that works to combat and prevent modern-day slavery and human trafficking, in 2016, 8,042 cases of human trafficking were reported to hotlines, including 7,572 cases to the National Human Trafficking Hotline from within the U.S., 301 reported cases from overseas, and 169 cases reported to the BeFree Textline. This number compares to 5,961 reported cases in 2015. Polaris largely attributes this increase to greater awareness of human trafficking.
  • According to, 70.6 percent of young people in America say they have seen bullying in their schools. However, when bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57 percent of the time.

To demonstrate how simple it is to raise awareness about human rights with the Youth for Human Rights materials and curriculum, Latham and Vladoiu began by screening The Story of Human Rights, the award-winning documentary that lays out the history of human rights and the state of these rights in today’s world. This was followed by a series of public service announcements, each one illustrating an article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights such as the right to life, assembly, privacy, creating and raising a family, and freedom from torture and slavery.

Those attending were energized by the information. “Just get it out to the public, churches, schools, community centers,” said one woman. “This is very worthwhile, what an education.” “Very well delivered,” said another.

One woman was particularly inspired by the PSA for article 29 of the UDHR which states: “Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.” In the PSA for this article, a young boy goes door-to-door, reading people the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, explaining that he does so “because they have the right to know.”

All attendees were presented with copies of Youth for Human Rights educational materials and those wishing to use them in a classroom or seminar setting were given their own Youth for Human Rights Educator’s Kit.

The purpose of the University of Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center is to provide instructional programs and supportive services to those with limited educational and financial opportunities. Its mission is to produce lifelong learners who are self-directed, empowered, and committed to excellence.

The Church of Scientology and Scientologists support United for Human Rights, and its program for young people, Youth for Human Rights, the world’s largest nongovernmental human rights education campaign. Their support of the initiative is inspired by humanitarian and Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard’s conviction that “It is vital that all thinking men urge upon their governments sweeping reforms in the field of human rights.”

For more information about materials or participation in the Youth for Human Rights Buffalo Chapter, visit


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