Each year, the Washington DC Human Rights Luncheon honors those who work long and hard in their communities for human and civil rights. This year, AFSC’s Jean-Louis Peta Ikambana, Director of the DC Human Rights Learning Program, was honored with the prestigious Community Human Rights Award.

Jean-Louis works to empower Washington residents through education and dialogue with the goal to understand the human rights framework, and bring hope for meaningful change. As an active member of the DC Human Rights City Steering Committee, Jean-Louis has engaged hundreds of students in his weekly sessions and lectures on human rights and spends a lot of time writing the Curriculum to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The awards luncheon is co-sponsored by the United Nations Association of The National Capital Area, the District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights, and the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights.  Each year attendees rededicate themselves to promoting and protecting the values in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Being nominated was a “complete surprise,” Jean-Louis said. “I feel humbled by the recognition and more determined than ever to work for the promotion of a human rights city to bring about peace and justice in the nation’s capital.”

During the December 10 gathering, Jean-Louis and other honorees mentioned the importance of making rights real in people’s lives despite the hardships.

“Teaching human rights to young people in our DC public schools is like planting the seeds for societal transformation. Step by step, we hope that our work will lead to a city where human rights are learned, understood and claimed,” Jean-Louis told the audience.

As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon puts it, “progress comes down to people…courageous women and men…striving to protect their own rights and the rights of others…determined to make rights real in people’s lives.” Count Jean-Louis Ikambana among their ranks.