Press Release

Illinois HS Students to Put Heads Together About Human Rights

NORMAL, IL- March 28, 2014— Students from thirteen Illinois high schools have spent all year learning about human rights and international relations, and are coming together this April to share their thoughts with experts and each other, while making plans for what they can do to make real change in their communities.   

The Capitol Forum on America’s Future, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council, will take place Thursday, April 10, 2014 at the Bone Student Center, Illinois State University, Normal.  

Since 1999, the program, produced in partnership with Brown University’s Choices Program, Illinois State University, and participating social studies teachers, has educated and inspired students to act about issues such as freedom of expression, right to health, rights of children, and military intervention for human rights. Through media, case studies and readings, they learn about these issues throughout the year, and design an outreach project to inform or address human rights issues taking place in their own communites. 

“U.S policy issues are complex no matter what age,” mentioned IHC executive director Angel Ysaguirre. “This program is a chance for us to empower Illinois students to learn the issues and act on them in a smart, fun way.”   

The thirteen Illinois schools taking part in this year’s Capitol Forum are: 

Normal Community High School, Normal

Maine East High School, Park Ridge

Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Flossmoor

Newark Community High School, Newark

East Peoria Community High School, East Peoria

Maine West High School, Des Plaines

Bloomington High School, Bloomington

Eureka High School, Eureka

Egyptian Community Unit School, Tamms

Normal Community West High School, Normal

Quincy Junior High School, Quincy

Streamwood High School, Streamwood

Pontiac Township High School, Pontiac 

“The Capitol Forum experience not only exposes our students to thought-provoking topics and experts but a variety of viewpoints from their peers from around the state,” mentioned Marty Green, a teacher at East Peoria High School. 

Angel Ysaguirre, executive director of the Illinois Humanities Council, agreed, saying, “U.S foreign policy issues are complex no matter what age. This program is a chance for us to empower Illinois students to learn about them in a way that is both fun and meaningful.” 

The Capitol Forum is the culmination of the program, where each school sends delegates to deliberate case studies, meet with University professors and other experts on the issues, and engage in a human rights simulation with their peers from across the state. 

A student from last year’s Capitol Forum mentioned that, “It was exhilarating to have the chance to interact with my peers and have intelligent discussions and debates about issues that actually matter.” 

The Illinois Capitol Forum on America’s Future takes place Thursday, April 10, 2014, 8:30-3:30pm, at the Bone Student Center, Illinois State University, (100 N. University St.) in Normal.  For more information on Capitol Forum, please call Carole Cosimano at 312.422.5580 or visit The Illinois Capitol Forum on America’s Future is funded by a generous grant from the McCormick Foundation. 

About the Illinois Humanities Council 

The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. The IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.  

Media Contact:
Carlos Velázquez
(312) 422-5580, x233