Laura Alejandra Barreto Navarro

Colombia | Graduated in 2021

Thoughts on the programme: I chose the M.A. Human Rights at FAU because I find the interdisciplinary approach to contemporaneous issues regarding human rights worldwide very interesting and necessary to face today’s challenges. The division of the programme in seminar and lecture classes allows both the learning and application of law, philosophy and politics of human rights in an integral way. This makes it possible to see the consequences of the theory in actual empirical phase; this –along with the tools the professors and the classes themselves give– makes it easier to identify the gaps and flaws in the protection of human rights and to come up with solutions for them. Also, during the second semester of the program, students have the chance to choose specific lectures from a pool of options that fit their interests and career paths better. This allowed me to perform highly in an internship I carried at the Mirovni Institut (The Peace Institute) in Ljubljana, Slovenia in said specific topics.

The university offers several opportunities to students such as various language courses, seminars, and the chance to participate in international academic competitions. I was a part of the Human Rights Talks 2019 which allowed me to analyze, compare and deeply discuss fundamental issues regarding freedom of expression and press in the three regional systems of protection, this seminar counted with the participation of judges and members of the Inter-American, European and African Courts and Commissions and the outcome is a public podcast that serves as a source of information and research for academics, civil society and human rights advocates around the world. I had the honor to represent the University at the 11th Nelson Mandela Human Rights MOOT Court Competition organized by the University of Pretoria and celebrated in Geneva, we passed to the oral rounds and were awarded as one of the best memorials of the competition. All of these experiences contributed greatly to my development and growth as a professional and academic and they were all greatly supported by the University and the program.

My internship at the Mirovni Institute in Slovenia was funded by the ERASMUS program of the University and by the end of my Masters, I was awarded with one of the scholarships the International Department of the University and the state of Bavaria offer to international students with excellent records who are soon to graduate. These financial sponsorships allow migrant students like myself to embark on learning experiences that would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible, to do. Choosing the M.A. Human Rights at FAU has been one of the best decisions I have made in my career, the program has allowed me to exchange experiences with people from all around the world that are as impassioned as myself and learn from them and their background. FAU is an outstanding university with very qualified professors that genuinely care about their students and their development which I could feel from day one.

Professional background: My professional experience has developed mostly as a lawyer, and human rights defender, working in a local NGO in Colombia called Comisión Colombiana de Juristas. During this period, I had the chance to grow immensely personally and professionally and helped me figure out what I am passionate about.

I am from a country with a history of civil conflict that has had many official and unofficial actors. The civil conflict itself lasted for over half a century, and we are now facing post-conflict challenges after the signing of the Peace Agreement in 2016. My goals are focused mainly on the reconstruction of the Colombian and Latin American societies and the search for the truth as opposed to impunity. I am also interested in the protection of vulnerable individuals and communities in their defence of dignity, sovereignty and self-determination.

The M.A. Human Rights, the various and aggregated experiences I lived through it and the capacities and skills I earned and enhanced with it allowed me to work at the Internationale Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte in Frankfurt am Main, working on behalf of political persecuted people and prisoners.