The OSCE Academy in Bishkek together with the Global Campus of Human Rights held the opening ceremony for the regional Master Programme in Liberal Arts in Human Rights and Sustainability (MAHRS) in Central Asia. With this programme, the Global Campus launches its eighth regional Master’s programme based in Kyrgyzstan with a focus on the five Central Asian states (Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan), Afghanistan and Mongolia. The programme was officially admitted into the Global Campus at its Assembly meeting in Venice on 22 September, and now formally launched in Kyrgyzstan on this past Friday.
The launch event simultaneously commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights (UDHR). The symposium and opening ceremony of MAHRS brought together international experts and guests from the United Nations (UN), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union (EU), academia, and civil society. They engaged in a discourse on the global and regional impact of the UDHR in Central Asia, reflecting on its achievements and shortcomings, while also exploring pathways for societies and institutions in the region to realise and implement international human rights norms and foster sustainable development.
The ceremony was opened by Indira Satarkulova, Acting Director of the OSCE Academy, and Ambassador Alexey Rogov, Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek. Following the opening, a discussion and debate took place moderated by Anja Mihr, MAHRS Programme Supervisor at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. Manfred Nowak, Secretary General of the Global Campus of Human Rights, Sania Toktogazieva, Associate Professor at the American University in Central Asia (a member of the Global Campus), and Syinat Sultanalieva, Researcher at Human Rights Watch, discussed the achievements and challenges associated with human rights in Central Asia.
The second part of the event was dedicated to the official launch of the MAHRS Programme. The Ceremony was opened by Veronica Gomez, President of the Global Campus of Human Rights. Marilyn Josefson, Ambassador of the EU Delegation in Bishkek, underscored the European Union's commitment to supporting human rights initiatives in the region and emphasized that this programme is an important achievement as the first programme in Central Asia dedicated to the education on human rights and sustainability. The opening was attended by further high level speakers, including Antje Kristin Grawe, UN Resident Coordinator at the UN Regional Office in Central Asia, Olivier Bangerter, Ambassador of Switzerland to Kyrgyzstan, and Mr. Brian Beckman, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek.
The days following the official opening Veronica Gomez, Manfred Nowak and Imke Steimann spend in the classroom with the new MAHRS students, teaching and discussing about international human rights, the United Nations, and the Inter-American system of human rights protection.