“In Our Own Best Interest: How Defending Human Rights Will Help Us All” by William F. Schulz
“In Our Own Best Interest” is a great choice for students concerned about global issues, students who care about what happens to other people and students who are writing or debating on any controversial issue related to these themes—public health and access to it, economic policies, environmental policies and human rights at home and abroad. The author, who was the Executive Director of Amnesty International USA when he wrote the book, obviously believes that people have a moral obligation to care about others. However, the book itself moves beyond this argument to detail the many ‘selfish’ reasons—practical reasons—that working for others’ rights benefits us. Don’t skip the introductions (yes, there are more than one!) because Schulz discusses his interaction with high school students.
In Schulz’s words, here’s what he hopes to achieve with the book:
“I propound here no grand new theory of international relations nor offer revelations about human rights that are unavailable to the avid reader of high-quality newspapers. Rather, this book is intended to reframe the debate about human rights for the intelligent layperson who wants to understand the role of human rights play in the United States and it people. It is designed to take the human rights debate out of the hands of ‘experts’ (on both sides) and make it accessible to the average American. After all, their interests are really at stake here, and it is they who will pay the highest price for American indifference. . . .
“Second, the human rights I treat herein are the traditional civil and political ones, like the right to vote, to express opinions without fear of retaliation, to demand a fair trial, to be free from torture.”
The book includes an appendix that is a directory of human rights organizations.
If you are doing research on human rights, global climate change, foreign policy, economic policy, or the changing business and economic map of the world, other good books to check out (whether you agree with their arguments or wish to refute them!) are “The World is Flat” and “Hot, Flat and Crowed” by Thomas L. Friedman; and “The Post-American World” by Fareed Zakaria. I’m hoping to write a little review of each very soon.