The AUP Summer Institute For Human Rights

AUP's Summer Institute for Human Rights is an exciting capstone for students in the MA in Diplomacy and International Law (MADIL) and is also an option for those taking the MSc in Human Rights and Data Science (HRDS). The three-week program is dedicated to exploring the intersection between human rights law and other relevant human rights fields. While examining the practical applications of human rights in a variety of careers and industries, students engage directly with experts and practitioners working to address global challenges through human rights.

The program’s guest lecture series brings seasoned practitioners of human rights into the AUP classroom. Internationally renowned experts with diverse specializations speak to students on topics such as religion and human rights, rights-based approaches to digital services, and global plans for eliminating gender-based violence. Following each lecture, students engage directly with guest lecturers in small, informal group-based Q&A sessions.

Ilka Rodriguez, a MADIL student, commented that the guest lecture series was an enriching academic experience that put students in direct contact with experienced professionals in the field of human rights. “Their input undoubtedly helped us see things from new perspectives and discover the multiple ways in which human rights intertwine with other fields,” she said. 

Students work together with AUP faculty members to develop their own team projects.

The institute is a rare opportunity to engage directly with the practical applications of human rights theory.

Student studying, Human Rights Institute

The Summer Institute for Human Rights also offers a foundational course focused on interdisciplinary academic approaches to human rights, which explores the intersections between international human rights law and other fields. Accompanying these lectures is a series of prizewinning documentary film screenings with Dr. Neal Baer, which explore human rights-based issues through contemporary examples.

Two elective courses allow students to specialize in the emerging applications of human rights theory, such as digital technology or humanitarian intervention. Through these courses, students engage with the evolving academic thinking at the forefront of newly developing human rights fields.

Finally, students work together with AUP faculty members to develop their own team projects that demonstrate a practical understanding of the different theoretical concepts they encounter in class. These projects aim to find ways to tackle existing and future global challenges through human rights approaches. Wherever possible, students will be matched with practitioners and academics in the field of their choosing. Each group will present their ideas to their peers over the course of the three-week program. “Coming up with real-life solutions and encountering challenges along the way gave me a glimpse of what my future career could look like,” said Ilka, who designed a project centered on the protection of children’s rights in her home country.

The Summer Institute for Human Rights is a rare opportunity to engage directly with the practical applications of human rights theory, bridging the gap between master’s level academic study and career paths in fields relevant to international human rights issues. AUP’s commitment to engaging with global challenges in an ethical and interdisciplinary manner sets students up to succeed in the exciting, evolving field of human rights law.

    Below is a summary of the Institute's 2022 guest lecture series, written by Rebecca Goldsmith, a student who attended the lectures.

    • Dr. William Schabas, "Decolonizing the History of Human Rights"  
    • Boriša Falatar ‘00, "Facts Matter: OSCE Monitoring of Human Rights in Ukraine"  
    • Dr. Ibrahim Salama, "Reconciling Religion and Human Rights"  
    • Alex Whiting, Esq. "Ukraine as a Justice Moment"  
    • Dr. Kim Seelinger and Dr. Adia Harvey Wingfield, "Intersectionality: Protecting Women’s Rights in International and Domestic Law"  
    • Dr. Bronwen Manby, "Statelessness: the Right to Nationality as the Right to Have Rights"  
    • Ricki Helfer, Esq., "Human Rights and Finance: Are They Compatible?"  
    • Patricia Sellers, Esq. "Sexual Slavery and International Customary Law"  
    • Alex Phuong Nguyen ’11, "Business and human rights"  
    • Dr. David Erikson, "Children’s Rights in America"  
    • Charlotta Blomqvist, Esq. ’17, “Human Rights Litigation in the Context of Aggression in Ukraine.”  
    • Commissaire en Chef Peggy McGregor, "Human Rights on the High Seas"  
    • Caroline Klaeth Eriksen ’08, “Responsible Investment and the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global”