Upstander Academy

Upstander Academy Logo

Using Human Rights Education to Encourage Upstanders

July 31 – August 4, 2017



The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center and the Upstander Project are proud to present the 2017 UPSTANDER ACADEMY, an inquiry-based professional development opportunity for secondary educators with a focus on genocide and human rights education to foster upstanding and address complex historical and current issues. The Academy begins and ends at the University of Connecticut-Storrs (July 31- August 4, 2017). In the middle of the week the Academy moves an hour south to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, home of our principal partner.

Teachers and museum educators interested in themes such as post-genocide Rwanda and genocide against Native peoples are encouraged to register. These content areas provide a helpful framework for learning new teaching methods and approaches, and about the importance of upstanders.

For questions about the Upstander Academy, please contact Glenn Mitoma ( or Mishy Lesser (

Participants in the 2017 UPSTANDER ACADEMY will :

  1. Explore new content about post-genocide Rwanda and genocide against Native peoples in New England.
  2. Test innovative teaching methods that support the Inquiry arc, and critical and creative thinking.
  3. Learn to work with primary sources and learning activities using materials and tools from the Library of Congress and National Archives.
  4. Practice and model the skills of upstanders in their classrooms, museums, and communities.
  5. Become part of a growing professional community of colleagues that integrates human rights and genocide education into classrooms and museums.

The Academy will feature experienced genocide and human rights educators, documentary filmmakers, museum educators and guest presenters. Three documentary films by Upstander Project, Coexist, First Light, and Dawnland will be featured as cornerstones of teaching and learning. With regard to Rwanda, we ask: How does a society ravaged by genocide begin to heal? With regard to genocide against Native peoples, we ask: What is the connection between the taking of the land and the taking of the children?

The Upstander Academy was founded in 2016 thanks to a partnership of UConn’s Dodd Center and Humanities Institute with the Upstander Project. The first Academy focused on Intellectual Humility in Secondary Education.


Mishy+LesserMishy Lesser, Ed.D., is the learning director for the Upstander Project and Education Fellow at the Dodd Center. She spends much of her time analyzing and curating documents for First Light and Dawnland curricula, and testing them with teachers and their students. Mishy authored the Coexist Teacher’s Guide to promote learning about the complexity of reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda. She is a Circle Keeper and has been featured on WBUR (Boston) and PRI/BBC’s The World. Mishy spent 12 years living and working in Latin America.


Adam+MazoAdam Mazo is the director of the Upstander Project and is also co-director and producer of First Light, and the feature-length film, Dawnland. Adam is also the director and producer of Coexist in 2014 (WORLD Channel). His work has been featured on television, at film festivals and international conferences, and at universities, and schools around the world. He earned a B.S. in television production at the University of Florida. He came to Boston, which he now calls home, via Minnesota, Florida, and Paris.



Glenn Mitoma Website PhotoGlenn Mitoma is an Assistant Professor of Human Rights and Education, jointly appointed with the Human Rights Institute and the Neag School of Education Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Glenn has been director of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center since 2013, and has focused on increasing the Dodd Center’s impact on the realization of human rights in Connecticut and beyond.




Upstander Academy 2016


gkisedtanamoogkgkisedtanamoogk (key-said-TAH-NAH-mook) is Wampanoag from the community of Mashpee located on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod. He served as co-chair of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He was an Adjunct Instructor with the Native American Studies Program and the Peace and Reconciliation Programs on the Orono campus of the University of Maine for more than a decade.




Claude GatebukeClaude Gatebuke is Executive Director of the Africa Great Lakes Action Network (AGLAN), which works to build peace, justice, and prosperity for all in the African Great Lakes Region.  A survivor of the Rwandan genocide and civil war, Claude is a human rights advocate who travels extensively, speaking out, raising awareness about justice, injustice and other challenges faced by the African Great Lakes.




Ann Canning taught high school social studies for 10 years and college level social studies methods classes to under graduate and graduate students for 25 years. Since retiring from teaching in 2005, Dr. Canning has developed and taught online Professional Development courses for the Library of Congress Teaching With Primary Sources Eastern Region program. Current research interests include the C3 Social Studies Framework, Student Generated Questions, the SCIM-C Historical Inquiry Strategy, Teaching Tolerance, and Visual Thinking.  Ann lives in Pittsburgh and spends a lot of time with her 5 grandchildren and taking photographs of wild mushrooms.

Jason Mancini is the Director of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, adjunct professor of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut, and visiting assistant professor of Anthropology at Connecticut College. Dr. Mancini holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Connecticut with expertise in the archaeology and ethnohistory of New England. His current research projects focus on Indian histories after 1700 and involve Indian social networks, Indian mariners, urban Indian communities, race and ethnicity in New England, cultural landscapes, and oral histories.

Chris Newell is Museum Education Supervisor at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, coordinating the public and educational programs for the world’s largest Native American museum.  Chris is a Board of Directors member for the National Association for Multicultural Educators Connecticut chapter, and speaks broadly on the history, current events, and key issues in Indian Country.

Katy Quinn is Indigenous Rights Program Coordinator for KAIROS Canada.  Before that she worked as Projects and Partnerships Coordinator for the Sioux Lookout Anti-Racism Committee. Her current and previous work has focused on fostering reconciliation based on decolonization and justice for Indigenous peoples. She has a BA in Anthropology from Concordia University and an MA in Conflict Studies from Saint Paul University.

endawnis Spears is Diné, Ojibwe, Choctaw and Chickasaw and originally from Camp Verde, Arizona.  Her bachelors and masters work at the University of Denver and University of Massachusetts Amherst have focused on cultural anthropology.  She has worked at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum as an educator and now works with Pequot Museum staff to help facilitate educational programming, institutional collaborations, and visitor experiences that are true to contemporary indigenous lifeways.

UA 2016 Group Photo


  • Time and space for personal and professional reflection
  • New skills for deep listening, student engagement, and document analysis
  • New resources to cultivate upstanders and foster a values-based classroom and museum
  • A supportive community of learners and colleagues



Participants are strongly encouraged to stay on campus during the 5-day immersion experience.


Late Registration Deadline Tuition
Monday, May 29 (11:59pm) $499



Lodging on campus ranges from $37/night (triple occupancy) to $89/night (single occupancy).