In 1946, barely a year after the end to the most murderous, savage, and inhumane war the world had ever known, the newly-formed United Nations commissioned a respected Canadian legal scholar and jurist, John Peters Humphrey, to draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This declaration, adopted by the UN in 1948, became the most resonant expression of the shared values, dreams, and aspirations of all men and women throughout the world.
The very first sentence of the Declaration's Preamble states that the "recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world" whilst the Preamble's last paragraph affirms that the Declaration represents a " common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance".
AST believes that we, Canadians, have a unique responsibility to ensure that these words, drafted by one of our own, is honored not just in breach, but in actual practice - and not just in North America and Europe, but throughout the world. In order to make a small, but meaningful contribution to the achievement of the Declaration's vision, AST has chosen to focus on one particular region - the Levant, and one particular article of this document - namely, Article 26, which states that " Everyone has the right to education."
The key role of education, and in particular higher education, for young people who wish to succeed in today's global knowledge society, has been amply demonstrated - as has been the lack of opportunities for many young men and women living in the Greater Middle East to pursue their post-secondary studies. AST is determined to contribute to the actualisation of the promise enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that, through teaching and education, we can achieve "freedom, justice and peace in the world" -and, in particular, for the individuals and communities of the Levant. By helping our students to achieve their shared dream of pursuing their university education in Canada, AST will contribute to bring to life the ideals incorporated almost seven decades ago into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by a fellow Canadian.