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Master of Arts in Human Rights



By Manfred Nowak, Professor of International Law and Human Rights at Vienna University, Austria
Co-Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights and former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture





“Being a human rights expert is one of the most fascinating new professions for people with various backgrounds. You need to have an open mind, motivation and empathy, and we provide you with the knowledge and skills you require to work in the challenging world of universal human rights.”

No philosophical idea has had a more profound impact on international relations and world politics than human rights. Within half a century since World War II and the Holocaust, human rights developed into the only universally accepted value system of our times. The recognition of states as democratic, developed and peace-loving nations today depends on their capacity and willingness to protect human rights. Long-term dictators and brutal military rulers are increasingly being ousted and held accountable for gross and systematic violations of human rights before international criminal tribunals. Even business corporations and international organizations are judged by their human rights performance. In post-conflict situations and transitions from totalitarian to democratic rule, human rights constitute an essential element of peace-building, development and good governance. Human rights open the doors to a better world for all.

The implementation of human rights in rich and poor countries, in peace operations, development projects, transition and post-conflict situations requires highly motivated and skilled human rights experts with empathy for human beings.

The Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights

Not only is Vienna well known as the world city with the highest quality of life, but situated in the heart of Europe, it lies at the cross-roads of different cultures. People from all over the world come to Vienna to meet, to enjoy its charm and the sound of music, to study, to dance, to hold peace congresses and attend scientific conferences. Many international organizations and agencies, including the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union, have chosen to be hosted in Vienna. After the end of the Cold War, the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 laid the ground for the current human rights architecture of the United Nations. Combining tradition and modernity, arts and science, work and leisure, Vienna provides the ideal international environment to spend two unforgettable years studying the art of human rights.

We will train you for a career as a human rights expert to be employed by governments, international organizations, development agencies, business corporations, research institutes and civil society organizations. You might work as an election observer, human rights field officer, diplomat, trainer, mediator, consultant, researcher etc.






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