Overview: Using photographs of people from many cultures, this activity raises questions about universality, diversity, and human dignity.

Time: 30-60 minutes.

Materials: Collection of photographs of diverse peoples, copies of the UDHR.


1. Individually or in groups, participants choose a picture and discuss questions like these:

• Why did you choose this photograph? Why did the photographer choose this subject?

• What in the picture is a mirror of your life (i.e., something familiar you recognize easily)?

• What in the picture serves as a window into another culture or way of living (i.e., something strange and unfamiliar to you)?

• What seems to be happening in the picture? How are people feeling?

• In what ways do you think the person(s) in the picture are like you (e.g., values? hopes? needs? expectations?). In what ways unlike you?

2. Make a list of all the human rights you can associate with the picture, including rights enjoyed or denied. Match these with articles of the UDHR.

3. Share your picture and discussion with the rest of the group.

Source: Nancy Flowers, ed., Human Rights Here and Now (Minneapolis: Human Rights Resource Center, 1999) 63.