Lisa Jorgensen, a teacher in the Humanities Department at Vanier College, a member of the Women’s Studies program, a co-founder and member of the Open Door Network, and a member of the Human Rights Advisory Board, went to Buenos Aires in March 2013 to meet with scholars at the University of Buenos Aires and the University of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo to learn about women and social movements in Latin America.
Lisa focused her research on the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, mothers who initially organized to bring international attention to human rights abuses in Argentina during the “Dirty War” from 1976 to 1983. These women continue to protest human rights abuses and have since expanded their human rights advocacy to include contemporary social justice causes. The Mothers have become pioneers in human rights education through the university that they founded in the 1980s.
Lisa will use the knowledge gained from this trip to build a Humanities course called Women and Social Movements. Relating her direct experience with women promoting social justice in Buenos Aires will make students more aware of global issues and will encourage them to get more involved in international projects. She will also be learning about new ways to teach issues around social justice and human rights. This will not only be useful in the classroom, but also in promoting human rights and social justice at Vanier through Women’s Studies and the Open Door Network. Quebec has been an innovator in human rights policies in Canada and there is a strong tradition of grass-roots political organization in the province. In making links between Vanier College and women’s organizations in Argentina, both academic and community-based, Lisa will build on this tradition.