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Wassmuth Center to host Human Right Education Conference at Boise State University

A picture of the Idaho Anne Frank Memorial.
Audrey Regan
Boise State Public Radio

Teachers and students will have a chance to learn how to combat deep polarization and hate speech. The Human Rights Education Conference at Boise State University is centered around “cultivating compassionate communities”.

The conference features workshops to educate participants on contemporary antisemitism and hate speech.

Jess Westhoff is the Education Programs Manager at the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights.

“Now is the time to deepen our understanding and commitment to cultivating compassionate communities where all people are seen and valued,” Westhoff said.

The Marilyn Schuler Human Rights Initiative is sponsoring all Boise State students to attend at no cost. High school students are welcome to attend, however there is a fee of $25. Students at Bishop Kelley High School helped raise money to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to attend the event.

The included workshops are:

  • Depolarizing Within
  • Storytelling for Compassionate Classrooms
  • What Next?: Responding to Acts of Hate
  • Fostering Heroic Imagination
  • Skills for Challenging Conversations
  • Expressing the Right to Democracy
  • Charting Futures through Wayfinding

Westhoff says about 110 people registered for the conference this year, consisting of educators of all levels, as well as high school and university students.
A documentary titled “The Cure for Hate,” will be featured during the event. The film follows Tony McAleer, a former skinhead and Holocaust denier in his journey to becoming a founding member for the activist group “Life After Hate”.

A panel discussion with the film’s director and others will follow a screening of the documentary Saturday night, which is free and open to the public.

“It seems like maybe now more than other times, it's particularly important for our community to think about how we can come together and have conversations to learn with each other and to overcome bias and acts of hate that, unfortunately, are fairly prevalent in our community,” Westhoff said.

The conference runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, and is free to attend for Boise State students who register in advance.

Amanda Niess was a newsroom assistant through February of 2024.

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