Exciting Book Discussion: The question ‘Why” – an exploration of the foundation of human rights

 Ubuchindami: Book Discussion

23rd September 2006

At Mamba Village Langata – Nairobi


THEME: The question ‘why”? – An exploration of the foundation of human rights.



Training of young people is among the World Youth Alliance’s core priorities. The training takes various forms. Ubuchindami is the title for book discussions by the World Youth Alliance members .Ubuchindami is a Zambian word that means “joining our thoughts”.


The World Youth Alliance – Africa is pleased to invite you for a day of fun and book discussion on September 23rd at Mamba Village Nairobi.

The book to be discussed is Man and the State By Jacques Maritain. The book examines the place and role of the state, the development of the idea of human rights, the limits of these rights, and the need for the recognition of what they truly represent.


The theme of the discussion will be: The question ‘Why” – an exploration of the foundation of human rights


“This question of the why remains the area in which new developments and discussions continue to be held, and this question of the why is the continuous question of ‘who is man’? Is man an entity to which the state grants rights and the protection of those rights, or is man a being with intrinsic dignity, already in possession of those rights, which must simply be recognized and respected by the state? This question, which was at the heart of the debate of the drafting committee of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was at the heart of the dissident and resistance movements under Communism continues to be at the heart of all major debates at the United Nations and in each of our nation states.”


“How we answer this question will determine the direction of both our policy and our culture, and ultimately the vision of humanity which we will place upon the world today and for the next generation. Most clearly, however, this question must first be decided in the hearts of individual people who then make a commitment to live in a manner expressive of these convictions. From here, these ideas will take root and flourish in the culture, and only from there can we legitimately and effectively hope to impact policy and the debates of the state” – from Anna Halpine’s speech on Human Dignity and Totalitarianism


Questions for discussions



  • How is it possible for persons of different cultures, backgrounds and/or faiths agree on basic human rights but not on why these exist?

  • How or why is this important (especially in relation to government, the UN and leaders of world politics)

  • Is the recognition of the intrinsic dignity necessary to sustain efforts to protect human rights?

We encourage members from other countries to discuss the book.


Please register with Hezbon or the Africa office by 22nd September 2006


Hezbon@gmail.com or Africa@wya.net