SPEAKER: Dr. Rick Erlendson - The Life & Work of Janusz Korczak
"The King of Children: The Life and Work of Janusz Korczak"
SPEAKERS SERIES PRESENTS: Dr. Rick Erlendson
Lecture to be held in Room D208.
If humanity is measured by how society protects its children, speaker Dr. Rick Erlendson wonders about the current state of human affairs given recent events in places such as Chechnya, the Middle East, and Uganda, not to mention disturbing examples in the US and our own country. In a free public lecture in recognition of the International Day of the Child, Dr. Erlendson will discuss the contributions of Janusz Korczak, pre-eminent advocate of the rights of children.
Janusz Korczak was a Polish pediatrician, prolific writer, pre-eminent children’s rights advocate of his time (and perhaps all time), and a tireless surrogate father to hundreds of orphaned Polish children -- both Jewish and Catholic. His contributions to the fields of education, child development, children’s literature, and social work are immeasurable, yet he remains absent from the list of giants in all of these fields.
Korczak died tragically in the gas chambers of Treblinka on August 6, 1942 with all 200 children from his famed Polish orphanage. But his visionary work lives on through his books and manuscripts which formed the basis of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted only 15 years ago. The UN declared 1979 the Year of the Child in commemoration of the centenary of Korczak’s birth – decades after the League of Nations formulated its first Declaration of Children’s Rights in 1924. It was in 1979 that Poland proposed that a convention be drafted based on Korczak’s writings. It specified that all children should be provided with education, social security, health care, and be protected from abuse, exploitation, torture, and the effects of war.
The unprecedented violence unleashed by the Nazis during the Second World War, expressed most brutally in the murder of one and one-half million children guilty only of being born Jewish, spawned in its wake a trail of boundless depravity.
Dr. Erlendson holds a B. Ed., M. Ed., and Ph.D. He is a passionate researcher of Korczak’s many unknown intellectual contributions.