Sopiko Shaburishvili

Georgia | Batch 2022-2023

Thoughts on the programme: The M.A. Human Rights programme at Friedrich–Alexander University (FAU) has given me the opportunity to meet human rights activists from all over the world. It is unusual to get out of the narrow social space and see the big picture of the challenges that unite all individuals.

The entire FAU team is endowed with high values and professionalism. From the very first day of the study, I received comprehensive information on theoretical knowledge and practical experience. Within the framework of the programme you learn how to use international mechanisms and tools for the realization of human rights in real life

All my classmates are experienced human rights professionals and contribute so much to my education. I am grateful to be able to learn from and alongside these talented and dedicated human rights defenders. I am excited to develop and deepen my knowledge and understanding of human rights on a practical and theoretical level.

Professional background: After finishing school, I gave up on painting and applied to law school. I knew I needed large-scale resources to make a global impact against inequality. At university, I was one of the top five students and won scholarships to finance my studies. I am glad for the opportunity to participate in different moot courts where I gained research skills and learned to manage various elements of the case according to international standards. I continued my self-development outside the classroom. Being an active member of the youth association “DRONI”, I learned about the mechanisms required to take care of one’s district, city,  and country. I have participated in many Erasmus + exchange programs, where I have met people from different countries, with different cultural backgrounds; contributing to my diversity-centric mindset. Next, I started conducting training and workshops for young people, serving to raise awareness about human rights.

As a practicing lawyer, I have an opportunity to help most marginalized women/ girls through legal consultation, litigation, etc. I had more than 150 pro bono legal consultations/ cases for women who experienced domestic violence, poverty, and injustice. The most common cases are threats of violence from an ex-partner. Since June 2020 I worked as a lawyer for the non-governmental organization, Movement for  Change. Being a board member in such an incredible organization strengthened my beliefs on formatting youth awareness of women’s rights. In this position, I became involved in the amazing project, “Profession Without a Gender”. The project was funded by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Georgia. We were able to set the precedent in Georgia, giving women the opportunity to become car mechanics, furniture craftsmen, programmers, and builders for the first time. As part of the project, I gave lectures on human rights and sexual education, touching on all the topics applicable to a woman in a “masculine” stereotypical work environment. This includes labor rights, sexual harassment, and discrimination. After the completion of the project,  20 women have new professions; they have become an example to other women in Georgia, who are interested in the demanding, high-paying professions mentioned above. Moreover, all major TV  channels in Georgia have covered our project at least once.  I have a deep understanding of international requirements for a harmonious life in society.