Human rights law seminar sparks new opportunities


Minjae Chun, Design & Production Editor

SIS high school students are intrigued by a unique seminar that covers fascinating yet challenging human rights issues that is taking place through November.


On Aug. 30, Jared Rock, high school english teacher, hosted the first session of the “Further Interest” seminar on international human rights law. Meetings are held every Monday during lunch and activity periods in room 307 at the high school building. 


“I signed up for this course because I wanted to pursue my interests in law,” David Mun (11), attendee of the first seminar meeting, said. “While class discussions in my regular courses generally have rigid criteria for students, this non-graded seminar allows me to truly voice my opinions without pressure.”


Since last semester, Mr. Rock has offered discussion opportunities revolving around philosophical and social issues such as meritocracy and international law. While the previous “Let’s Talk” seminar focused on students sharing their own perspectives in an open dialogue, the current seminar emphasizes more on content, debating skills, and case simulations. Ultimately, the new curriculum not only appealed to students interested in human rights but also to current MUN and Forensics members who sought greater debating experience. 


“By the end of this seminar, I hope students gain more awareness of the system of international law and a better appreciation for human rights,” Mr. Rock said. “Although you don’t necessarily have to know every small detail of the topic, I believe having a working knowledge of it is part of being a good citizen.”


The first two seminar sessions were dedicated to studying historical legal documents such as the US Bill of Rights that served as the central source for human rights law. The next four sessions will concentrate on reading law cases and exploring the function, limitations, and effectiveness of international human rights treaties. Towards the end of the seminar, students are expected to prepare for a test covering the content of the course material, a case simulation, and a two-page summary of the seminar. 


“I had a really valuable experience at the first seminar session since I was able to acquire beneficial skills when reading court cases and other historical documents,” Nancy Koo (11), a regular attendee of the seminar, said. “I think this will definitely help me prepare for my upcoming debate competition as well.”


Students who have satisfactorily completed all the expected readings and assignments of the seminar will be awarded a certificate at the end of the semester. Additionally, although they won’t be given the course material, students who initially did not sign up for the seminar are still welcome to stop by Mr. Rock’s room and participate in the discussions. 


“I am excited how this seminar will develop and change my understanding of human rights,” Jonghyun Yoon (11), a student who signed for his second seminar, said. “In the future, I hope the school offers more seminar sessions outside the classroom covering different topics as well.”