Sustainable Human Development and Human Rights: A Gender Perspective

Exciting Winter Break

This field-based study abroad seminar will focus on human rights, particularly women’s and children’s rights.

"By looking at individuals through a human rights framework, I believe that as social workers we can help women like the women we met today, find empowerment in themselves and through their communities. In Costa Rica, empowerment is not a concept of self, but more of your self within a community. I have found this to be a beautiful perspective to have, and have confirmed my feelings that without gender equality, reciprocity cannot exist in the world."

Eryn Clawson, Summer 2013 participant

Other themes of interest in this unique program include sustainable human, social, economic, political, and community development; intra-familial, gender-based, and community violence; poverty; and health and social services. Students will critically examine policies and programs related to these themes and their implementation.

Program Format

The seminar format combines lectures and active learning exercises with reading and writing assignments, videos, individual and panel guest presentations, and site visits to governmental and non-governmental organizations across levels, from community-based grass roots to national and international organizations. Click Here to read more about the program!

Academic Director

The program will be led by Dr. Dennis J. Ritchie, Enochs Chair in Child Welfare and Professor of Social Work at George Mason University and by Dr. Laura Guzman Stein, currently an international consultant in Human Rights, Social Work, and Women's Studies; Dr. Stein is a retired professor of Social Work and Women's Studies and Former Director of the Center for Women's Studies Research at the University of Costa Rica.

Dates: Summer 2014

You should plan to leave the United States at least one day prior to the program start date to arrive in Costa Rica for the first day of the program. You can schedule your return to the United States from Costa Rica for the last day of the program or choose to travel independently.

Do not purchase international airfare until you are advised by your Program Officer.

Program Fee: $TBD

The Center for Global Education Program Fee includes:

  • Tuition

  • Housing - hotel accommodation for the duration of the program

  • Travel insurance

  • Pre-departure orientation

  • Emergency medical insurance, including medical evacuation and repatriation


Scholarships are available to George Mason students through the Center for Global Education as well as through outside resources.

CGE Scholarships

Open to George Mason University students who participate in CGE Winter Break and Summer Programs. CGE Scholarship amounts range from approximately $250 to $1,000 and are both merit- and need-based. Students who are awarded a Global Scholarship may volunteer to assist CGE in the promotion of study abroad upon their return.

CGE Scholarships Information Page

Financial Aid

Mason students may also use financial aid (external link to FAFSA Student Aid) to cover a program's cost. If you are not a George Mason university student check with your study abroad office or office of financial aid to learn more about how to cover the cost of your study abroad.

How to Apply

Consult the How to Apply section for detailed instructions.

  1. Start by completing the online application.

  2. Pay the $150 registration and processing fee ($200 for non-Mason).

Note that all supplemental documents are required by the application deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Contact the Program Officer for further application forms and instructions specific to your program.

*CGE reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, or any other unforeseen circumstances.