High School Student Leaders

This popular event attracts over 600 students and educators from over 45 high schools. Every year, it is hosted at Iona College in New Rochelle. Dynamic keynote addresses focus on human rights abuses and injustices, and the importance of youthful leadership in confronting prejudice and discrimination.

Our Student Institute is intended to further our mission by promoting student awareness of human rights issues on both local and global levels, and to empower students to be upstanders by creating and implementing Action Plans in their schools and communities.

Small-group workshops led by experienced student facilitators encourage frank discussion. Participating schools encourage and help their students to produce an activist response to some appropriate human rights cause.

Schools must be registered to participate.

Recent Keynote Speakers:


R. Derek Black 
The subject of Eli Saslow's book, Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist


Carl Wilkens
Founder World Outside My Shoes, author I'm Not Leaving


Scarlett Lewis
Executive Director
Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation


Danielle Butin
Executive Director
AFYA Foundation


Judith Altmann
Holocaust survivor


Louis Moreno-Ocampo
First Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court


Alison Crowther
Founder of The Red Bandanna Project


"I felt that the songs and personal stories [from the keynote speakers] shared in today's program were very effective. This showed how much the speakers were connected to and cared about their cause. This helped me feel connected and want to make even more of a change [in the world]."

- Alexander Hamilton High School 10th Grade Student

"...I learned that all people are different and small things can make the world a better place... My assumptions about people are wrong; I need to rise above judgements and now I can... An average person can make a difference."

- Carmel High School 10th Grade Student

Middle School Student Leaders

The Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center is pleased to announce its fifth annual Human Rights Institute for Middle School Student Leaders which will take place on Tuesday, November 12, Thursday, November 14 and Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at New York Medical College in Hawthorne.  Seventh grade students from invited middle schools in Westchester, Rockland and Fairfield Counties will participate in this day long event. In order to increase the number of schools attending but maintain the number of students participating, we made the decision to hold three Middle School Human Rights Institutes.  The goal of the Institute is to lay the foundation for encouraging students to be upstanders rather than bystanders.  The two main themes will be Respecting the Individual and How to Be an Upstander.

The program will include a keynote presentation by Sheila Arnold, lead performer of History's Alive!, breakout sessions on our two themes, and an afternoon session with school groups.  There will also be participation from high school students who facilitated workshops at our Human Rights Institute for High School Student Leaders on March 19, 2019.

Please contact Julie Scallero, Co-Director of Education, at for further information.

The Human Rights Institute for Middle School Student Leaders is generously underwritten by Barbara and Marc Tartell and Family in memory of Helen and Josef Berger