WHRI Intensive Institute

Women’s Human Rights Education Institute

WHRI Intensive – Future programs to be announced

Founded in 2004 by Costa Rican feminist jurist and activist Alda Facio, this unique educational institute brings feminist perspectives and an activist orientation to 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, contextualized within the historical development of transnational women’s human rights movements.  Participants will develop a practical understanding of the UN Human Rights system, with a focus on women’s human rights norms and mechanisms, applying a women’s human rights framework to a multiplicity of issues.

Important mechanisms such as the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the UN Special Procedures related to women’s human rights, and other important UN and international human rights conventions and declarations, such as 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

The WHRI Intensive is a three part program:

  • Part 1 : 2-3 week online learning program before the course
  • Part 2 : 3 week in-person intensive in Toronto
  • Part 3 : 2-3 week post-institute online program and submission of project plans
  • Note that all program components are required*

Facilitators include:

  • Alda Facio, WHRI Co-founder and Chair of UN WGDAW
  • Angela Lytle, WHRI Executive Director
  • Anya Victoria, WHRI LAC Regional Program Director
  • Meskerem Geset, UN WGDAW Special Rapporteur
  • Debby Danard, Traditional Knowledge Keeper
  • Others TBA!

We are also offering the CEDAW for Change one week course within the intensive program – an in-depth exploration of the CEDAW Convention will thus be covered in both programs.

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 embodied learning modalities, such 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

Planning for Impact: Post-Institute Plans

All applicants to this program must submit a seed idea for a post-institute project they commit to undertaking within 8-10 months of attending the program.  Time will be allocated in the online learning program and class to build and refine these project plans.

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: Dates for the 2019 WHRI Intensive will be shared soon.

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 - $3500 USD

Tuition cost only. Does not include accommodations, meals, other costs 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. For information on discounts and scholarships: Scholarship Information

To Apply

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