March 08, 2022

Human rights center to host webinar on war on Ukraine

Author: Liza Frenette
Source:  NYSUT Communications
nysut disaster relief

Vital information about the war on Ukraine, coupled with teaching strategies and opportunities for student responses, will be presented in an open, free webinar Thursday night.

The Academy for Human Rights will be hosting "Understanding Ukraine: a Webinar for Educators and the Public" from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on March 10.

“Educators are expected from around North America and the world,” said Andrew Beiter, a member of the Springville Teachers Association and co-founder and executive director of the Academy for Human Rights. “The goal is to inspire and equip the audience to take positive action. The war shows humanity at its worst. We want to use the knowledge we have to inspire students.”

Fund-raising walk-a-thons across the world, penny drives and letter-writing campaigns are all possible student actions that could help Ukrainian refugees and resisters, Beiter said.

Featured speakers will include international prosecutor David Michael Crane; professor Milena Sterio from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law; Polish author and commentator Kinga Krzeminska live from Warsaw; atrocity prevention educator Kate English, executive director of the Educators’ Institute for Human Rights; Ukrainian educator Nataliya Nayavko; a representative from the Dnipro Ukrainian Center of Buffalo; and Timothy Redmond, a member of the Williamsville Teachers Association.

NYSUT is responding to the war with a focus on the Disaster Relief Fund, where donations from members will be used to support humanitarian relief efforts. Visit  for more information.

Today, Beiter was deep in teaching his eighth-grade social studies students information about this new war. Students are creating informational fliers about Ukraine, using credible sources. They are perfecting the power of persuasion tools they have been learning about to inform students why they should take action, and also writing diary entries about what it means to be a Ukrainian refugee. Students are also writing letters to President Joe Biden about their concerns, using credible news sources to present their cases.

“There’s no more fog of war,” Beiter said.

Students have also been learning about dictatorship.

“A lot of dictators have narcissism,” said one student.

Putin uses tactics he learned from his time on the Eastern front in Germany, said eighth grade student Kevin, and as a dictator, he is using these skills to manipulate people about why the war should be waged. Putin served 15 years as a foreign intelligence officer for the KGB, the domestic security agency of the Soviet Union, including six years in Dresden, East Germany.

Co-sponsored by the Robert H. Jackson Center and the Educators’ Institute for Human Rights, this free event will feature internationally-known speakers, fresh-takes on the conflict from both North America and Europe, and teaching strategies from award-winning educators.