Gretel Alexandra Mejía Bonifazi

Guatemala | Graduated in 2017

Thoughts on the programme: What first drew my attention to this programme was its interdisciplinary approach that focuses on legal, political and philosophical aspects of human rights. Due to my training as a lawyer, my knowledge of human rights was strictly normative. But after studying the MA, I now have a multidimensional view of human rights which has impacted my current academic and professional path.

Moreover, the professors are highly qualified, approachable and friendly. They are always open to listen to different views and engage in thought-provoking debate. Because of its international focus, the student body is formed by people from all over the world, which allowed me to learn from their different cultural and professional backgrounds. This exchange resulted in an enriching and unique learning experience.

Finally, during the programme, we benefited from study visits to Geneva and Strasbourg. We had the chance not only to meet with practitioners working at universal and European human rights institutions but also to attend sessions and hearings of institutions such as the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the European Court of Human Rights.

Professional background: I am a lawyer who graduated from the University of San Carlos, Guatemala. Before enrolling in the M.A., I worked on issues about environmental law, human rights and alternative dispute resolution. During the M.A., I had the chance to do several traineeships in Nuremberg and Berlin, where I focused on transitional justice and international criminal law.

I am currently a PhD research fellow at the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University, Belgium. I am part of the ERC funded project Justice Visions, where I conduct socio-legal research on the topic of victim participation in transitional justice, with a particular focus on truth-telling and accountability processes in Guatemala.