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Peaceful Revolution: On Human Rights Day, Dare to Lead

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December 10th, Human Rights Day, celebrates the unanimous passage in the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. The ongoing 60th anniversary celebrations for the Universal Declaration makes observance of this day especially timely, because in periods of widespread war and poverty, and environmental ruin on a global scale, humanity longs for peace, prosperity and environmental protection.

The 2048 Project (based within the Miller Institute for Global Challenges and the Law at the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law) takes up the challenge of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which today, unfortunately, is not enforceable) by looking ahead to envision how the human rights in the Declaration can be fully realized by the year 2048, its 100th anniversary.

The 2048 Project provides a process by which individuals, organizations and governments working on the development of the "rule of law" can focus together and draft an optimal international framework. If we want to genuinely realize the human rights in the Universal Declaration by 2048, we need to make the rights in the Declaration enforceable in courts of law. Former Vice President Al Gore's recent comment about global warming defines our present moment: "It is important that we change light bulbs, but it is much more important that we change the law."

Now the first impulse of most of us, myself included, when faced with what is distant, is to look away and turn to what is present. We can quickly discard the hard work of changing our social order as "wishful thinking" by rationalizing that recycling cans and paper, or finding inner peace through meditation is a more immediate course - and so it is. This course alone, however, will not keep us from finding sorrow near at hand.

The text of the Universal Declaration specifically obligates the states who have signed it (including the U.S.) to teach about the document. The 2048 website provides a wealth of regional and international documents for teachers to incorporate into their classes, and for students to review and reference. The curriculum includes videos, documents and lesson plans for teachers so that on December 10th of each year, students in any country can learn about rights they all share.

The 2048 Project has goals very much in line with www.momsrising.org and other grass roots movements: to effect social change by bringing together people from all walks of life who share the common goal of creating a just society. Women's rights, family rights, and children's rights are a key component of the International Agreement we envision. If you support an international framework of enforceable human rights, I urge you to join us. Your input for how we should move forward to 2048 is crucial for the Project's success. Please visit our website at: www.2048.berkeley.edu for more information.

I offer this final thought about your participation in The 2048 Project: it is audacious. There are many great leaders in the world; most of them are not in political positions. The 2048 Project is for leaders who dare to lead even though they do not have a formal position. It is for these leaders to write the rules for those who govern them. Collectively, through an international social movement fostered by the Internet, we can accomplish this goal.

And if you embark on this Project, you will find that you are not alone on the path. Our leaders today do not just reside in castles or large government buildings. They can be found in offices, bookstores, classrooms and coffee houses internationally. The future is ours: poor, middle class, and rich alike. Through 2048 humanity can reach an agreement to live together that includes enforceable human rights for all people in all countries.

A Peaceful Revolution is a blog about innovative ideas to strengthen America's families through public policies, business practices, and cultural change. Done in collaboration with MomsRising.org, read a new post here each week.

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