WHRI Intensive

Women’s Human Rights Education Institute

This unique educational institute brings feminist perspectives and an activist orientation to the inextricably related issues of peace, human rights and life-sustaining development. Participants will gain an understanding of the global economic, ecological, legal, cultural and political contexts of this work, as well as of the groundbreaking work that is currently being done and has been done over decades by women and men around the world.  Participants will develop a practical understanding of the UN Human Rights system and how to apply a women’s human rights framework to a multiplicity of issues.  Participants will also develop practical facilitation skills to help them become human rights educators in their own regions and organizations.

Important milestones such as the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, The African Protocol on Women’s Rights, the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women, UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security; the Beijing Platform for Action, and the Yogyakarta Principles, among others,  will be featured as resources for social change. Effective ways of using them as tools for education and practice will be explored.

WHRI Intensive 2017 July 31 – August 18

In 2017 we are offering a three part program with classes held at the downtown campus of the University of Toronto, at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

  • Part 1 – 2 week online learning program before the course in July.
  • Part 2 – 3 week in-person intensive in Toronto, held from July 31 – August 18, 2017
  • Part 3 – 3 week post-institute online learning program and submission of project plans August

We are also offering the CEDAW for change one week course within the intensive program.

Learn More

Course Framework

The WHRI brings together a balance of academic/theoretical inquiry and engaged, activist praxis. Human rights, peace, and emerging alternatives to globalization are examined both as interconnected elements of a socially just and sustainable world and as alternative ways of knowing, acting, being, and interacting. Women’s human rights are both the subject and the guiding framework of the institute. This is reflected in the teaching principles and methodology. The WHRI aims to create a safe, supportive, and celebratory space that allows for collective sharing and knowledge-building alongside skills training . Classes are participatory, incorporate a broad variety of readings, videos, and activities, and in an effort to promote integration and well-being, participants are offered gentle yoga classes twice a week.

Small Classes with Expert Faculty

All of our faculty members have extensive activist experience at local, national and international levels and are known for their theoretical, academic and policy contributions in these areas. To maximize each individual’s learning opportunity, participants are limited to 25 and come from all regions of the world, many with a great deal of experience in the field of women’s human rights.

Participants will have the unique opportunity of having an extended period of time to learn from their instructors and a multi-national group of participants, to theorize about their own work through the lens of women’s human rights, to develop new techniques as women’s human rights educators, and to prepare an action plan for how to implement their learning. Those who enrol in the six-week institute should apply with a seed idea for a women’s human rights project they will implement after the institute ends, or a description of a project/program in process that will be augmented by their learning at the institute. Each participant will receive feedback on her/his plan during the institute, and should submit a report on her/his implementation activities six to eight months after the WHRI ends. The best among these reports will be made available on our website; thus course participants will help to build a body of theory and praxis on women’s human rights education and activism that will be available for others working in this field.

Course Topics Include:

  • The UN System and Women’s Human Rights
  • The Herstory of Women’s Human Rights Activism
  • Globalization and Feminist Frameworks
  • Activism and Education for Women’s Human Rights
  • Bodily Integrity
  • Violence and Peace
  • CEDAW and Women’s Human Rights Framework
  • Sexual and Reproductive Rights
  • Women’s Holistic Wellness
  • Visioning a Global System based on Human Rights and Equality
  • Visitations to NGOs of interest in Toronto (final week)

Engaging Projects

Possible project areas include: developing and executing a training on women’s human rights within one’s home institution/at the grassroots level; using the most recent CEDAW committee’s concluding observations for one’s home country as the basis for a campaign to promote awareness/implementation domestically. If you have any questions about the WHRI post-projects, please contact Executive Director Angela Lytle at

Note: for 2017 The one-week CEDAW for Change module will be embedded within the longer WHRI program, thus participants in the WHRI are automatically enrolled, and some additional participants apply separately join the institute only for the CEDAW session.

I find it very hard to describe how much this programme changed me and affected me both on my work and my personal learning. Although I was familiar with CEDAW structure yet the WHRI programme is very interactive and constructive. The quality of the speakers and their expertise made my learning a very rich experience. In my everyday professional tasks (my specific field of work is SGBV and sexual violence in conflict zones) whenever I am engaged in a high level advocacy work I find my knowledge much more in-depth and updated than my peers and this supports my work very much and many key figures and ministers have praised it and inquired where I learned it from.

The embodied learning component of the course has been crucial for my well-being and my work: working with survivors of sexual violence is a hectic emotional journey and I have learned a lot since my first experience with embodied learning in WHRI in Nepal. I am much calmer, focused, positive and able to channel my frustrations properly.  Not just for myself, I have encouraged and supported many friends who have been going through traumatizing experiences and many ladies I encounter through my work to follow the same path and explained to them how this have helped me. I always mention that if it wasn’t through WHRI I wouldn’t have discovered this healing tool as a feminist and as a woman. Self-care is something we usually forget working in this field and living in the Middle East where I come from, and I am now much more conscious on how this is affecting my life, the lives of people around me and how I can be more able to help and produce. I want learn more about this so I can properly transfer the skill into Arabic and tailor it to my context to help more women.

I highly encourage my interns, friends and colleagues to join WHRI network and participate in the programme so they can be part of the platform. I don’t know if anyone from my community has ever joined, it remains a strong privilege to be the first Egyptian who participated.

Sally Zohney, Egypt (WHRI 2014 Nepal Participant)

Tuition - $5000 USD

Tuition cost only. Does not include accommodations, meals, or field trips in Toronto. Also does not include airfare, or travel medical insurance, which must be covered by participants. To hold a space, a $1000 deposit will be required by March 31, 2017. Inquire about discounts for students: Scholarship Information

Application Deadline

The application period is from September 1st, 2016 until June 1, 2017. We require a completed application form and completed post-plan in order to issue an acceptance letter or other supporting documents.  Be aware that this course is limited to TWENTY (20) participants so please apply early and submit your deposit to ensure that your application is considered.

Application Information

Post-Project Plan

After submitting the online application form, please submit a 200-300 word statement outlining your post-institute project implementation plan at the link below. Your application will not be complete until we receive this statement. This step is explained in more detail below.

Post-Project Plan