Ceremony of the Awarding of Diplomas of the “European Master in Human Rights and Democratisation” of the Academic Year 2022/2023

In a grand celebration of academic excellence and human rights advocacy, the European Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation (EMA, Global Campus Europe) marked the culmination of another successful academic year with its Diploma Awarding Ceremony held on Sunday, September 24, 2023. The prestigious event took place at the historical Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice, serving as a testament to the dedication and passion of 85 graduates from 32 diverse countries . The ceremony also marked a significant moment: the inauguration of the 27th cohort for the academic year 2023/2024, welcoming 86 students from 36 diverse countries.


The ceremony was graced by esteemed personalities including Veronica Gomez , the President of the Global Campus of Human Rights, Manfred Nowak , the Secretary General of the Global Campus, and Maria Laura Picchio Forlati from the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. These leaders extended a warm welcome to the graduating students, their families, professors, and a global network of supporters, including representatives from partner organizations and local guests.


A notable highlight of the event was the presence of the new regional Master’s Programme on Human Rights and Sustainability in Central Asia (MAHRS), coordinated by the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, signifying a broader global collaboration in the pursuit of human rights education. ​​During this event, the MAHRS programme at the OSCE Academy was officially accepted into the 8th Regional Master Programme of the Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice, Italy.


The ceremony featured distinguished keynote speakers as Chiara Adamo , Director of the "Gender, human rights and democratic governance" unit at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnership, a key supporter of the Global Campus. Among the distinguished speakers, was also present Sima Samar, the acclaimed Afghan activist and recipient of the Right Livelihood Award in 2012, who shared her profound insights. "I wish a future filled with great successes for the new graduates, students, professors, and universities," said Sima Samar on the sidelines of the event. "Together, they shoulder significant responsibilities in promoting and protecting human rights, while also advancing a crucial commitment to ensuring democratic societies and the dignity of individuals."


The ambiance was further enriched by the musical prowess of the Venetian ensemble ‘Interpreti Veneziani’.


This event not only celebrated the achievements of the graduating class but also acknowledged the longstanding contribution of the Global Campus of Human Rights , a network comprising 100 universities globally specializing in human rights education . The EMA programme, in particular, stands as a beacon of knowledge and empowerment, having educated new generations of human rights defenders for 26 years.


Among the significant moments of the Ceremony were the EMAlumni Award 2023 , introduced by Mèlina Pele, President of the EMA Alumni Association. The award is a glass sculpture entitled “Collective Memory” generously donated by artist Koen Vanmechelen and Fondazione Berengo - to Charlemagne Gomez for her outstanding work for Afghan human rights defenders during the moment of crisis. In addition, it has been presented the first Joint Annual Engaged Artivist Award on Atrocity Prevention and Human Rights that went to the artivist Zahara Gómez Lucini. The year long artistic residency award is symbolized with a Murano glass sculpture created by Venetian designer Eleonora Vaccari in collaboration with our partners from the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (AIPG) and Binghamton University (G-IMAP).


Finally, Global Campus Europe has given the first scholarship in memory of our late colleague Nicola Tonon, IT and web marketing specialist,to an EMA student of the 2023/2024 cohort, José Vladamir Cortes Roshdestvensky from Mexico. José has previous experience as digital security expert and in digital media and communication and has dedicated his EMA research to Technology and Human Rights.


Reflecting on the significance of EMA, Manfred Nowak, the Secretary General of the Global Campus, emphasized the vital role that education plays in nurturing future human rights defenders, especially in times marked by challenges to human rights globally. He underscored the necessity of high-quality education in these turbulent times. « EMA is one of the oldest and most prestigious Master programmes in the field of human rights and democracy. Our graduates work as human rights defenders in all world regions, often in high positions in governments, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations. In times of human rights backsliding and enormous global crises and challenges, high-quality education of future human rights defenders is more needed than ever»



Elisabetta Noli, Administrative Director of the Global Campus, reiterated the importance of the EMA graduation ceremony as a moment for reflection and celebration. It serves as a reminder of the dedication of students and universities, highlighting the mission of the Global Campus to secure a future where human rights are respected and protected. «The EMA graduation ceremony provides always a moment of reflection: it is the time to celebrate students and universities for their hard and professional work during the past year, and to renew our commitment - in front of authorities, students, professors, and colleagues - to continue to pursue the human rights education mission of the Global Campus. Its long-term investment for a future where respect of human rights can be better secured»


The event concluded with a sense of pride and accomplishment, marking not only the end of an academic journey but also the beginning of a new chapter for these human rights advocates. As the graduates embark on their respective paths, armed with knowledge, passion, and a global perspective, they carry with them the legacy of the Global Campus of Human Rights, reaffirming the commitment to a world where human rights are upheld and cherished by all.


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