Learning how to speak truth to power – comparing Ukrainian and Swiss foreign language curricula


  • Stefanie Rinaldi University of Teacher Education Lucerne, Switzerland https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5543-885X
  • Olena Marina University of Teacher Education Lucerne, Switzerland




Human Rights Education strives to empower learners to participate meaningfully in a democratic and sustainable society in which human rights are guaranteed for all. Foreign language education enables students to transcend borders, gives them an opportunity to share their views, ideas, and beliefs, and contributes to the development of critical thinking skills. It can thus endow students with a ‘voice’ to claim and defend their rights and learn to ‘speak truth to power’. This article explores if and how the intended foreign language curricula for lower secondary schools in Switzerland and Ukraine integrate human rights education. Drawing on the 2011 UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training as an analytical framework, the analysis reveals that ‘education for human rights’ is the best represented dimension in both contexts. Our results may serve as a springboard for exploring further opportunities to integrate human rights education and foreign language education.


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Author Biographies

Stefanie Rinaldi, University of Teacher Education Lucerne, Switzerland

Stefanie Rinaldi is a professor at the Institute for Education in Science and Social Studies at the University of Teacher Education Lucerne, Switzerland. Her research focuses on critical approaches to teaching global issues, sustainability and human rights. 

Olena Marina, University of Teacher Education Lucerne, Switzerland

Olena Marina, Dr. is a visiting professor from Ukraine at the University of Teacher Education Lucerne (PH Luzern). She is currently working on her post-doctoral research on the topic: “Identity construction in the dramatic discourse of the English Restoration: A cognitive-pragmatic perspective” supported by The Swiss National Science Foundation and The Scholars at Risk Network. Her research interests include discourse studies, identity studies, and language teaching methods. 


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How to Cite

Rinaldi, S., & Marina, O. (2024). Learning how to speak truth to power – comparing Ukrainian and Swiss foreign language curricula. Human Rights Education Review, 7(1), 49–71. https://doi.org/10.7577/hrer.5272

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