Thaís Ferreira de Souza

Brazil | Graduated in 2020

Thoughts on the programme: I opted for the FAU Master of Arts in Human Rights programme looking for getting insight into the international mechanisms of protection of human rights and to delve into specific areas of human rights. The multidisciplinary approach based on the three pillars (law, philosophy and politics) is an important differential in the program’s proposal given the complexities of human rights issues, that cannot be solely addressed by the legal aspect, for instance. The multi and interdisciplinary approach allowed students to develop an intersectional view on the issues and to build synergies between different topics and areas of human rights. As someone with a legal background but fascinated by philosophy and social sciences, I was very happy with this mixed and complementary approach.

Moreover, the idea to attract students from all over the world and having classes made up of different nationalities makes the diversity of cultures and backgrounds in class an experience in itself, proportioning rich exchanges of views throughout the discussions, which gave us a little taste of what is like to work in international and multicultural human rights organizations.

In addition, the possibility of having classes with some professors with first-hand experience in the topics they were teaching was also unique. Apart from having the theoretical approach, we could develop pragmatical discussions of real cases, which was extra-motivational.

Professional background: I graduated in Law from the Universidade Federal de Rondônia in Brazil, where I worked with scientific research at the Research Group ‘Ethics and Human Rights’ focusing in the areas of Human Rights and Criminology. Between 2013-2017 I worked for the State Court of Justice of Rondônia State in Brazil, initially as a legal clerk and posteriorly as legal advisor and in 2016 I served as the regional coordinator of the Brazilian Institute of Criminal Procedural Law in Rondônia. In 2020, concomitantly with the development of my master’s thesis, I worked as a Visiting Professional at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, providing legal advice on issues of international human rights law and international criminal law to the Pre-Trial Chamber I of the Court.

Where are they now? Working as a Senior Legal Assistant for PGMBM, an international law firm specialised in seeking justice for the victims of wrongdoing by large corporations, providing legal support in transnational disputes arising from environmental pollution
cases originating in Brazil and other Latin-American countries.

How did the M.A. Human Rights help them get there? “Having a legal background associated with a M.A. in Human Rights from FAU was crucial in my recruitment process, further demonstrating my passion for defending human rights and extensive knowledge of protection mechanisms. In addition, the M.A. expanded my views to a social-philosophical dimension, enhancing my understanding on the complexity of human rights