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Embracing the Joy in Human Rights: An Interview with William Simmons

By Shayna Plaut

In 2015, I organized a panel on “Teaching Human Rights Inside and Outside the Classroom” at the Social Practice for Human Rights Conference in Dayton, Ohio. William (Bill) Simmons, author of the forthcoming book, Joyful Human Rights, was on the panel as well as Praxis Center’s Lisa Brock and Alice Kim. That is where we met and we have continued collaborating ever since.

Given the current state of human rights in the world which requires a healthy dose of hope, creativity and ingenuity, as well as my own passion for focusing on possible human rights strategies, I was particularly interested in Bill’s journey to Joyful Human Rights. Bill is a professor of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Arizona and the founding director of the first online Masters of Arts in Human Rights Practice in North America where I serve as a member of the international advisory panel.