International Human Rights Day Student Symposium (IHRDSS):
Theme: Human Rights in the Asia-Pacific 1931-1945

Van Tech students presenting the backgrounder of the Asia-Pacific War
School Principal, First Nation Support Teacher and student representatives of Van Tech welcoming participants from other schools
Students are engaged by Mr. Dale Martelli's workshop presentation
Up close with the Canadian survivors of WWII in Asia, Marius & Tony
Sharing student reflections
Exhibition panels produced by students for the Symposium

Prince of Wales
Secondary School


Two Dates
to choose from for this FREE student symposium

Two Workshops in FRENCH are added on Friday for this year

Canada Alpha

IHRDSS has been organized to help students better understand and reflect on issues of human rights violations
during the Asia-Pacific War (1931- 1945) and to make connections to present day local and global issues.

International Human Rights Day (December 10th) marks the anniversary of the UN Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The promotion and protection of human rights has been a major preoccupation for the United Nations since 1945, when the Organization’s founding nations resolved that the horrors of the Second World War should never be allowed to recur. This annual International Human Rights Day Student Symposium has been organized since 2009  to help students better understand and reflect on human rights violations during the Asia-Pacific War (1931- 1945), and to make connections to contemporary local and global issues. The past Student Symposiums have been resoundingly successful, generating encouraging feedback from participating teachers and students.

Watch video here to learn more about past IHRD Student Symposium:
What Teachers Say What Students Say Watch Full Video

Participation in this student symposium is FREE. If you are a teacher of Grade 11 – 12 and teach Social Studies subjects in the Lower Mainland, you are invited to bring your class to this engaging and inspiring learning opportunity. Please register your students ASAP as space is limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Attending teachers will receive a complimentary set of related teaching resources including resource materials approved by the BC Ministry of Education.

* BC ALPHA was the invited partner of the BC Ministry of Education in the development of the teacher's guide, "Human Rights in the Asia-Pacific 1931-1945: Social Responsibility and Global Citizenship" published in 2001 for senior Social Studies curriculum.

Symposium Ojectives

  • Promote students' awareness and understanding of International Human Rights Day on December 10, which marks the anniversary of the UN Assembly's adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
  • Provide high school students with significant learning opportunities about human rights violations, with special emphasis on violations before and during the era of WWII in Asia.
  • Foster students' compassion and empathy for the victims and survivors of wartime human rights violations, particularly women and children.
  • Highlight the perseverance of the survivors in their quest for reconciliation and peace.
  • Demonstrate how reconciliation and peace are part of the healing process for survivors.
  • The symposium will provide Social Studies teachers with concrete, supplementary, non-Eurocentric resources to support their existing curricula. These resources will also support teachers who intend to use or have been using the teacher's guide, "Human Rights in the Asia-Pacific 1931-1945: Social Responsibility and Global Citizenship" developed and published by the BC Ministry of Education in 2001.