Thoughts on the program: I have decided to study the M.A Human Rights at FAU primarily due to its interdisciplinary approach (legal, philosophical, and political) to the fundamental challenges as well as constantly evolving human rights issues. Besides, the program is taught by the finest and devoted academics with firsthand experience in leading human rights organizations, institutions, and worked with the United Nations (UN).
As a generalist social worker who has been practising human rights protection, the interdisciplinary approach of the program perfectly suits my expectation in terms of broadening the legal and philosophical understanding of human rights. The lecture courses which are supported with extensive seminars provide students with a space to engage and deeply investigate contested human rights subjects aided by experiences from their home regions. Mandatory but also important seminar papers are an opportunity for students to further explore the area of their expertise which eventually can also help identify research areas. The educational excursion to the UN and international humanitarian organizations provides an opportunity to examine theories against practices and connect with senior human rights practitioners and leading organizations. In general, I am more than satisfied with the course content and structure of the program as well as the supportive learning environment provided by professors and program staff.
Professional background: I hold about six years of experience in refugee human rights protection and humanitarian assistance. I have worked as a Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Expert with the regional NGO Africa Humanitarian Action (AHA), and with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) first as a Resettlement Associate and later as a Protection Associate. In addition, from 2017 to 2019, I was a member of the United Nations Youth Advisory Board in Ethiopia (UNYABE) on a voluntary basis. Regarding the future professional trajectory, the program has prepared me to confidently analyze and grasp the complex, contested, sensitive, and constantly evolving human rights issues, and confront the worryingly growing human rights violence by states, non-state actors, and individuals be it at the national, regional, and global level. I am well equipped to continue discomforting perpetrators of human rights violence and defend human rights through activism, philosophical justification, and legal frameworks. My home country, Ethiopia, has been experiencing a growing human rights violence in which displaced people including refugees are the most vulnerable.