Participant Voices

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Marcel van Maastrigt at work

After having worked in two UN missions, the E.MA was an opportunity for me to sharpen my knowledge of international human rights instruments and practises. The course, through its broad approach, prepared me further for diverse positions, from a temporary post at the UNHCHR office in Geneva to various field functions with UNHCR. The E.MA functions furthermore as a network of people working in HR or IHL-related organisations allowing for a direct connection between academic training and working in the HR ‘field’. (Marcel Van Maastrigt, E.MA Graduate 2000/2001, Head of Office, UNHCR, Kadugli, Sudan)

I cannot think of a better programme that so effectively combined practical experience with theory, that engaged us in workshops, exposed us to the realities of when human rights are violated, through the lens of dedicated practitioners and academics. I am very grateful to all the EIUC/E.MA team not only for the wonderful experience that I had during my E.MA year, but to the many doors that this course has opened for me in the years that followed. (Jean Tomkin, E.MA graduate 2006/2007, Solicitor in one of Ireland’s largest Criminal Law and Human Rights Practices)

I enjoyed every minute of my participation in the Masters: the organisation of the courses by thematic weeks with both academics and professionals sharing with us, rather than teaching us, not only the substance of the rights but also their concrete application; group works; exams based on reflection rather than memorisation; the set of documentation distributed at the beginning of each week to help us deepen our understanding of the theme; the second semester in a different country and environment to focus on the thesis… and of course the wild games of table football at the Monastero! (Gallianne Palayret, E.MA Graduate 2002/2003, Child protection officer for UNICEF in Haiti)

When I applied for E.MA I already held an M.A. from a German University in Political Science and Literature. Offered a place on the programme, I contemplated whether it would be wise and worth it to study for another year or whether it was work experience I needed. I am glad I decided for the former. It is not just for the international degree – the whole experience is something I would not want to have missed. When I arrived in Venice I found a community of highly motivated people from very different backgrounds, with a range of experience and each with their own story. The diversity of the students was also reflected in the variety of lecturers during the first semester – ranging from senior diplomats and academics to recent E.MA graduates who shared their field experience. The Kosovo field trip at the end of the first semester and only weeks before the country declared independence, definitely marked the climax of those moths of hard work and long hours in the Aula Magna.(Lydia Malmedie, E.MA Graduate 2007/2008, Education Officer at a national human rights charity in London)

The European philosophical and political tradition is known for its many liberties, freedoms and rights. The E.MA is no exception – I was more than happy to experience liberty of thought, freedom of expression, and right to creativity all the way through this wonderful intellectual voyage. (Andraz Zidar, E.MA Graduate 1998/1999, Director General for International Law and Protection of Citizens, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia).