The practical component of the Human Rights Advocacy Minor includes two major components. The first is an intensive simulation exercise that trains participants in the basics of human rights factfinding and documentation in a controlled, supervised setting. The latter is supervised, community-based documentation and advocacy with a community affected by rights abuse.

The simulation exercise involves between 40 and 50 actors (trained to play a range of roles in a situation of conflict/rights abuse) in a fully-immersive experience in which teams of two or three students gather information through interviews and other factfinding methods.  Students interview actors cast as villagers, community activists, rebels, soldiers, ministers, journalists, and others to piece together an understanding of a complex situation of conflict or rights abuse. The small teams then engage in simulated advocacy sessions, including TV/radio interviews and presentations before local and international fora. The University Network team of supervisors and actors provide students with extensive feedback on their performance in each element of the simulation. Through the pilot program, the simulation exercise has been held in San Germán, Puerto Rico, and in Connecticut.

Once students have successfully completed the simulation exercise and received and processed feedback, they are eligible to engage in supervised factfinding and advocacy in a small group with an experienced supervisor. Wesleyan students in the pilot program have engaged in factfinding and advocacy in cancer alley (Louisiana) and Bolivia. UNHR projects this academic year are expected to involve further work in Louisiana and Bolivia as well as documentation in Armenia.

Further information about University Network for Human Rights past and current projects can be found here.