The DCI’s Education and Leadership Development programming helps people of all ages and backgrounds to reflect on, document, learn about and share effective practices for personal and community transformation and systemic change.



DCI’s education and leadership development work builds on the following opportunities:

    1. Capturing and preserving the wealth of “local” knowledge about transformative action – and making it readily available to others –will accelerate achieving human rights for all.
    2. Highlighting ways to apply the principles and practices of the Citizenship Education Program to the present need for Human Rights Literacy and for sustainable, non-violent strategies for social justice will offer this vital knowledge to new generations of change agents.
    3. Peer-to-peer learning communities help leaders to critically reflect on their tacit knowledge, document and share effective transformative practices, and learn from the practices of others, allowing scaling up of transformation and systemic change.
    4. Developing a cadre of experienced, well-trained people who can facilitate these learning processes in their communities will also help scale-up transformative action and change.
    5. Bridging the gap between research and practice will enable people to become more effective in present-day change movements as they are unfolding. Building a knowledge base, i.e., literature about transformative education and social change.


Key DCI Offerings:

Human Rights Education:

DCI, working with other human rights education organizations, develops and promotes the distribution of human rights core curricula in public schools. DCI also, again in partnership with other human rights educators, develops and provides training for public school teachers and community youth development professionals in the use of human rights core curricula.


The Citizenship Education Program for the 21st Century:

DCI provides popular education workshops and resources for people to learn about human rights and what they can do to exercise their own rights and advocate for the rights of others. These include Citizenship Education Program for the 21st Century encourages and equips emerging activists for positive civic participation, and moving from as sens of “victim” to one of empowered “citizen”. The CEP is based on the principles of the programs Dorothy Cotton led for civil rights activists in the 1960’s.

Peer-to-Peer Learning Communities

Grassroots leaders and movement builders have a deep body of knowledge, skills, and rich experiences, they often have little opportunity to step back and critically reflect on their practice with others. Facilitated peer learning forums will create a collective space for practitioners to identify, document and share best practices for community transformation and social change. These forums will be aimed at making the work of grassroots leaders visible and influential beyond their local communities, and building the formal body of knowledge about this work. Retreats will allow participants to explore and develop their vision of personal and societal transformation, find inner and outer resources and support to transcend perceived barriers and limitations, find their voice, plan next steps, and practice action strategies with feedback and technical assistance available.


The DCI’s Oral History Project

offers the public the opportunity to record their own personal stories of how they have participated in social change and struggle for civil and human rights, employing both portable recording equipment and a recording booth at the DCI Education and Visitors’ Center. We will collect, edit and archive and share these stories. They will be used as educational tools to stimulate community conversations. In addition, many will be made available on our website and at the Visitor’s Center to build the base of knowledge about how people have taken transformative action in their own lives.




DCI-designed leadership training models – both “off-the-shelf” and customized – are based on the proven methods of effective social change activists and educators. These workshops are developed for experienced activists and emerging new leaders, as well as people who may not see themselves as leaders but wish to take effective action in their lives and communities; our trainings are designed for both adults and for young people engaged in DCI Youth Development Programming.

DCI also offer human rights workshops to public schools and their community partners toward integrating a human rights framework into their curricula and programs.


Trainer/Leader Certification Process:

A Training of Trainers program for individuals will certify people to conduct CEP classes and other DCI trainings in other regions of the world.

Resource Development:

DCI supports, develops and disseminates a variety of books, articles, pamphlets, video, audio and online resources. We are also developing an archive of training manuals and educational materials based on non-violent change strategies, as well as the research papers and literature generated by DCI fellows and conference presenters. Some of this material will be scholarly and some practitioner-oriented.


Documentary Films:

The DCI will produce both short “museum-length” exhibit films (for showing at the DCI Visitors’ and Education Center, and at other educational venues) and full-length documentaries (suitable for broadcast on PBS or Sundance). The first will focus on the life work of Dorothy Cotton and the neglected and unsung role of women in the CEP and the Civil Rights Movement. The film will illustrate the power of the CEP and other non-violent, transformative strategies developed by women, and their relevance today.


Speakers’ and Facilitators’ Bureau:

Dorothy Cotton, the DCI Fellows, and others will be available for keynotes, lectures, interviews, grassroots educational forums, community-based sessions, panel discussions, etc.

Please contact us for more information about topics and availability.


Anticipated impact and outcomes:

  • Widespread incorporation of human rights curricula in public schools.
  • Increased public awareness and understanding of the full scope of human rights.
  • Human rights protection and advocacy included in political debate.
  • A network of human rights leaders at global, national, regional and community levels.
  • A strong network of human rights educators.