Upstander Academy - Using Human Rights Education to Encourage Upstanders

  • ACADEMY - JULY 31 - AUGUST 4, 2017


The Upstander Project and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut are proud to present the 2017 Upstander Academy, an inquiry-based professional development opportunity for secondary educators with a focus on genocide and human rights education to foster upstanding and address complex historical and current issues. The Academy begins and ends at the University of Connecticut-Storrs (July 31- August 4, 2017). 

Upstander Academy 2016 participants in Listening Circle

In the middle of the week the Academy moves an hour south to the Mashantucket Pequot Research Center and Museum, home of our principal partner. Teachers and museum educators interested in themes such as post-genocide Rwanda and genocide against Native peoples are encouraged to register. These content areas provide a helpful framework for learning new teaching methods and approaches, and about the importance of upstanders.

UPSTANDER ACADEMY participants will:

  • Explore new content about post-genocide Rwanda and genocide against Native peoples in New England.
  • Test innovative teaching methods that support the Inquiry arc, and critical and creative thinking.
  • Learn to work with primary sources and learning activities using materials and tools from the Library of Congress and National Archives.
  • Practice and model the skills of upstanders in their classrooms, museums, and communities.
  • Become part of a growing professional community of colleagues that integrates human rights and genocide education into classrooms and museums.

The Academy will feature experienced genocide and human rights educators, documentary filmmakers, museum educators and guest presenters. Three documentary films by Upstander Project, Coexist, First Light, and Dawnland will be featured as cornerstones of teaching and learning. With regard to Rwanda, we ask: How does a society ravaged by genocide begin to heal? With regard to genocide against Native peoples, we ask: What is the connection between the taking of the land and the taking of the children?

core faculty

Mishy Lesser, Ed.D., is the learning director for the Upstander Project and Education Fellow at the Dodd Center. She spends much of her time analyzing and curating documents for First Light and Dawnland curricula, and testing them with teachers and their students. Mishy authored the Coexist Teacher’s Guide to promote learning about the complexity of reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda. She is a Circle Keeper and has been featured on WBUR (Boston) and PRI/BBC’s The World. Mishy spent 12 years living and working in Latin America.

Adam Mazo is the director of the Upstander Project and is also co-director and producer of First Light, and the feature-length film, Dawnland. Adam is also the director and producer of Coexist in 2014 (WORLD Channel). His work has been featured on television, at film festivals and international conferences, and at universities, and schools. He earned a B.S. in television production at the University of Florida. He came to Boston, which he now calls home, via Minnesota, Florida, and Paris.

Glenn Mitoma is an Assistant Professor of Human Rights and Education, jointly appointed with the Human Rights Institute and the Neag School of Education Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Glenn has been director of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center since 2013, and has focused on increasing the Dodd Center’s impact on the realization of human rights in Connecticut and beyond.


gkisedtanamoogk (key-said-TAH-NAH-mook) is Wampanoag from the community of Mashpee located on Massachusetts' Cape Cod. He served as co-chair of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He was an Adjunct Instructor with the Native American Studies Program and the Peace and Reconciliation Programs on the Orono campus of the University of Maine for more than a decade.


  • Time and space for personal and professional reflection
  • New skills for deep listening, student engagement, and document analysis
  • New resources to cultivate upstanders and foster a values-based classroom and museum
  • A supportive community of learners and colleagues


  • Monday, May 29th (11:59pm)


  • $499 late tuition fee
  • Lodging on campus ranges from $37/ night (triple occupancy) to $89/night (single occupancy).



The 2017 Upstander Academy is sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Eastern Region Program, coordinated by Waynesburg University. The Upstander Academy was founded in 2016 by the Upstander Project in partnership with the University of Connecticut’s Dodd Center and Humanities Institute. The first Academy focused on Intellectual Humility in Secondary Education.