© Life in Pixels, Fearless Girl on Wall Street in New York City by sculptor Kristen Visbal

all about the people

Team

The Vienna Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights builds on years-long experience in the field of national and international university education and training in human rights.

The people behind the Vienna Master came together from various academic, professional and personal backgrounds enriching the program with different experiences and perspectives. What unites us is our dedication to the promotion of human rights values and standards. Driven by compassion, empathy, critical and innovative thinking, the team sees its mission to accompany its students in becoming the change-makers they aspire to be.

Manfred Nowak

Program Director

(c) Rueda Studio

Manfred Nowak

Program Director

Manfred Nowak is co-founder and director of the Vienna Master. Manfred is a world-renowned professor of international law and human rights, who taught at many prestigious universities, such as the University of Vienna, Stanford University, Utrecht University, Lund University, Graduate Institute of Geneva, University of Auckland and Washington College of Law.

Manfred is Secretary General of the Global Campus of Human Rights, which unites 100 universities across all world regions working on and teaching human rights. He is co-founder of one of the biggest human rights research institutes in Europe, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights.

Manfred was one of the judges of the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina between March 1996 and December 2003. From 2004 to 2010 Manfred was appointed to United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, where he undertook 18 field missions around the world, including countries like China, Paraguay, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea amongst others. Recently, Manfred was selected by the United Nations as Independent Expert leading the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, which he presented in New York and Geneva in autumn 2019. Manfred is a holder of many prestigious human rights awards, such as Otto Hahn Peace Medal and the UNESCO Price for the Teaching of Human Rights.

On a personal note, Manfred is inspired by the interplay of human rights and arts and has thus followed his passion and co-edited the book Imagine Human Rights – Artists celebrate the Universal Declaration, contrasting the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a multitude of international artworks.

Verena Benedict-Orlicek

Cooperations

(c) Rueda Studio

Verena Benedict-Orlicek

Cooperations

Verena is responsible for the management of partner cooperations and fundraising. Verena makes sure that the Vienna Master provides equal opportunities regarding access to higher education.

Verena has a law degree from the University of Vienna, studied at the Faculty of Commerce at the University of New South Wales and lived many years in Rome and Portugal.

She was co-founder of the non-governmental refugee organisation at the Vienna airport in 1989. With her legal expertise and field experience in refugee and human rights law, she continued her work at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Vienna, at Amnesty International and in several specialised law firms.

The legal and social issues of female unemployment became an additional field of expertise when Verena worked with Sozial Global AG, where she developed and managed a socio-economic enterprise.

Verena was a member of the Executive Board of the American International School in Vienna from 2014-2018 where she discovered her passion for the interdisciplinary approach in school and university education. With her communications and collaborations skills as well as her diversified professional life, Verena has long lived experience in promoting the intersection of various academic fields.

Marijana Grandits

Sen. Academic Advisor

(c) Rueda Studio

Marijana Grandits

Sen. Academic Advisor

Marijana Grandits is co-founder of the Vienna Master and Senior Academic Advisor. Marijana is responsible for the student selection, the study trips as well as holding several specialised lectures throughout the program.

Marijana studied International Relations at the Johns Hopkins University and Slavistics at the University of Vienna and started her engagement for human rights very early on. Already as a student, she was fighting for minority rights and the right to development for the Global South, which led her to eventually become a member of the Austrian Parliament as well as member of a regional commission at the Ombudsman Board in Vienna.

As former director of the Working Table on Democratisation and Human Rights, Marijana was involved in the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. She was one of the founders of the “Verona Forum”, an initiative for peace and reconciliation in the former Yougoslavia and is until now supporting a peace project in Srebrenica with the Alexander Langer Foundation. Marijana is a dedicated international human rights consultant and has an immense network of contacts, especially to Kosovo, where the students of our programme travel each year for a field trip. 

Besides her expertise in former Yougoslavia and the Balkans, Marijana has been involved in gender equality issues for decades. In 2010, she was senior co-ordinator of the AIDS2010 conference, which welcomed 30.000 participants from all over the world. In that same framework, Marijana organised the “Vienna Human Rights March” with international stars like Annie Lennox (Eurythmics).

For her restless engagements, Marijana was awarded the prestigious Bruno Kreisky Prize for Services to Human Rights in 2015. 

Marijana Grandits has also been involved in human rights through documentary film-making and is famously known for her work on the three-part documentary “the Jewish Margerite”. She truly brings in the experience of where human rights and cinematography intersect.

Russel Altamirano

Academic Coordinator

(c) Rueda Studio

Russel Altamirano

Academic Coordinator

Russel Altamirano is responsible for academic coordination, student enrolment, and the Vienna Master’s online learning platforms.

She is passionate about supporting students’ learning journeys in the Vienna Master as they engage in interdisciplinary critical dialogue and action to address global issues.

After completing her Art History degree at the University of California, Riverside, she worked as an educator in art museums and non-profits. Her dedication to expanding educational access, experiential learning opportunities, and intercultural exchange for learners of all ages led her to pursue a U.S. Fulbright Student Community-Based Combined Grant in Vienna, Austria in 2019-2020. During her grant year, Russel worked in secondary schools in Vienna, Kunsthalle Wien, and enrolled in university courses to support her independent research on social justice art education initiatives in museums.

Walter Suntinger

Academic Program Manager

(c) Rueda Studio

Walter Suntinger

Academic Program Manager

Walter Suntinger is the Academic Program Manager of the Vienna Master and the primary liaison person to all lecturers. Walter accompanies and steers the curriculum development process, coordinates the inputs from experts in the fields of human rights and the arts and ensures that teaching is upheld to its highest standards.

Walter is an independent human rights consultant, with a background in (international) law and systemic change management. His speciality is the practical application of human rights in a variety of contexts. His training and consulting journey took him to South Africa, Kosovo, Armenia, Brazil, Turkey, Tunisia, Mauritania, Morocco and other countries. His human rights work benefits from the fact that Walter works professionally in several languages (German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, French).

Walter’s main working areas are: monitoring places of detention, human rights reform and training in the police and the criminal justice system, consulting activities for business. He has produced academic work (on torture, asylum law, monitoring, training, systemic approaches to human rights) and several practical tools, e.g. police training manuals and guidance documents for preventive human rights monitoring. He was a member of the Austrian Human Rights Advisory Board (1999-2012) and of a visiting commission of the National Preventive Mechanism in Austria (2012-2015). Currently he is part of the Advisory Board to the Austrian NPM. Furthermore, as a Managing Partner at HumanRightsConsulting Vienna (HRCV), he advises business enterprises on how to integrate human rights in their policies and operations.

Walter taught for many years at the predecessor program at the University of Vienna (Vienna Master on Human Rights) as well as in other university contexts, including the Bologna Center of the Johns Hopkins University and in a US study abroad program in Vienna.

Within the program, Walter introduces human rights students to the interdisciplinarity of human rights studies, he teaches basic legal knowledge for non-lawyers and coordinates a “thematic cluster on torture“, which draws on different disciplines in order to understand and help eradicate this phenomenon.

Georges Younes

Head of Office

(c) Rueda Studio

Georges Younes

Head of Office

Georges Younes is co-founder of the Vienna Master and the Head of Office responsible for staff management, administrative processes, student selection and coaching, external relations and cooperations with national as well as international organisations, NGOs, social enterprises and initiatives.

Georges was always fascinated by the interplay of human rights, education, (inter-) cultural practices, peace and conflict studies. He deeply believes in the power that lies within synergies between these fields. Georges therefore undertook a Master degree in Conflict Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he specialised in the role of education in peace processes. Georges is also a certified mediator (Sigmund Freud University) and works in the areas of intercultural, inter- and intra-organisational as well as business mediation.

Before joining the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Georges was the Program Manager of the predecessor programme at the University of Vienna from 2014 – 2020. Before committing to higher human rights education, Georges was independently engaged in advocacy-work for cases of human rights violations in the Middle East. He was also working for the international Secretariat of Amnesty International in London coordinating various regional human rights education sections across all world regions. Georges held several positions at Amnesty International, both in London and Vienna, where his most recent position was that of Director of the Amnesty Academy, the educational institution of Amnesty International Austria. 

Georges also sees human rights professionals as “human rights entrepreneurs” who instrinctly create change where change is needed and is thus engaged in several human rights projects. Georges was the Study Manager of the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, which united over 100 researchers across the world working towards the betterment of children’s rights worldwide. Today, Georges is still involved in several advising roles for the follow-up initiation of the Global Study at the Global Campus of Human Rights. 

Marilyn Volkman

Artistic Program Manager

(c) Rueda Studio

Marilyn Volkman

Artistic Program Manager

Marilyn Volkman is Artistic Program Manager of the Vienna Master. She develops and coordinates the artistic orientation of the curriculum, nourishing connective threads between arts-based practices and Human Rights. Marilyn is responsible for teaching, mentoring, as well as engaging students with change-driven methods rooted in actual art practice and experimentation.

Marilyn is an artist and curator, currently pursuing a doctorate at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, and has an MFA in Visual Arts from the University of Chicago, an MA in Art and Design from the Sandberg Institute, and a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Arizona. Her early work involved interviewing soldiers to explore abstract questions amidst daily work activities on military bases, while subsequent projects were aimed at repurposing art infrastructures to create intimacy across political divides, specifically between artists based in the United States and Cuba. Currently, her research investigates artistic developments in Cuba after the passing of Decree 349, a law that has criminalised independent artistic activity on the island.

Marilyn is the co-creator of the United States/Cuba exchange project ARTE NO ES FÁCIL (2008-2016), and the director of ENTRE, an independent project space in Vienna dedicated to fostering social and political understanding through artistic exchange. Her curatorial and artistic work has been featured internationally at the New Centre for Fashion & Design (Shanghai, China), Het Hem (Zaandam, the Netherlands), Bergen Assembly (Bergen, Norway), Sometimes Art Space (Havana, Cuba), The Centre for the Development of Visual Arts (Havana, Cuba), The New Gallery (Calgary, Canada), College Art Association (New York, NY), Renaissance Society, Hyde Park Art Centre, and Weinberg/Newton Gallery in Chicago, among others.

If you would like to know more about her work, check out her website: www.marilynvolkman.com

Teaching Staff

The teaching facutly is made up of academics and experts from various fields of human rights such as torture prevention, women’s rights, children’s rights, LGBTI rights, rights of persons with disabilities as well as professional artists and academics in the fields of visual arts, cinematography, music, dance, design and architecture

The program truly cares for the individual’s growth but also the class’ exploring and learning experiences. This can only be achieved through the dynamic exchange of diverse academic, professional and personal experiences amongst staff, faculty and students. The unique learning experience we offer to our students enables the inspiring, powerful and motivated group of students to form a strong, creative and fruitful network of change-makers.

The list of lecturers below is not exhaustive and keeps on growing.

Djamila Grandits

Cinema & Human Rights

(c) Djamila Grandits

Djamila Grandits

Cinema & Human Rights

Djamila Grandits is a Vienna based curator, film programmer and cultural worker. As part of CineCollective she’s responsible for the artistic direction and management of Kaleidoskop Film und Freiluft am Karlsplatz. Currently she is part of the selection committees of DOK Leipzig, frameout – digital summer screenings, sixpackfilm and tricky women | tricky realities. Member of the non-fiction commission of Zürcher Filmstiftung. Former artistic director of this human world – International Human Rights Film Festival. Works as moderator and host of various panels, events and interviews.

Centering queer-feminist, intersectional and decolonial perspectives Djamila cares about entanglements and the exploration of collective spaces. She is inquisitive about the intersection and deconstruction of theoretical concepts, artistic-, political- as well as activist forms and expressions.

Djamila coordinates the artform-cluster on Cinema and Human Rights and will together with the students be exploring connections, frictions and entanglements of cinematic expressions and human rights practice.

Vedran Džihić

Politics & Human Rights

(c) Vedran Džihić

Vedran Džihić

Politics & Human Rights

Vedran Džihić is Senior Researcher at OIIP – the Austrian Institute for International Affairs, Co-Director of the Center for Advanced Studies, South East Europe and Assistant Professor at the Institute for Political Sciences, University of Vienna.

He has been an Austrian Marshall Plan Fellow and is currently non-resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University, Washington D.C. Vedran has been teaching for many years at the predecessor program at the University of Vienna.

Vedran’s fields of research are related to democracy and transition processes, foreign policy, and nationalism with regional focus on Eastern and Southeastern Europe, and the USA.

Vedran’s classes in the program address human rights issues from the perspective of political science and foreign policy.

Nora Ramirez Castillo

Psychology & Human Rights

(c) Nora Ramirez Castillo

Nora Ramirez Castillo

Psychology & Human Rights

Nora Ramirez Castillo holds a doctorate in psychology and is a member of the visiting commission of the Austrian Ombudsman Institution and regularly checks on the human rights conformity in places of deprivation of liberty.

Nora is also one of the main psychologists at Hemayat, where she is responsible for the first interviews of patients and for the coordination with therapists and translators. In Arabic, “Hemayat” means protection and support. Hemayat is a politically independent and non-profit organisation based in Vienna, where interpreter-mediated psychotherapy, psychological consulting and medical support for survivors of war and torture is provided.

Nora will explore with the students the intersection of human rights and psychology.

 

 

Iketina Danso

Anti-discrimination, Equality & Intersectionality

(c) Iketina Danso

Iketina Danso

Anti-discrimination, Equality & Intersectionality

Iketina Danso (she/her) brings the energy of a social entrepreneur to human rights. She has an MA in International Human Resources Development and Social Policy from the College of Europe; and an MSc in International Human Resources Management from Manchester Metropolitan Business School.

For over 20 years she has focussed on dismantling structural and institutionalised inequality through changing national policies, organisational processes, equality practices, and ultimately; individual mindsets. She started her career as a policy officer for the former Chair of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (then EUMC) and later worked for the UK body responsible for anti-racism, equalities and human rights (EHRC); before going on to join the Secretariat of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Anti-Discrimination Section in Geneva. Following a period as a start-up entrepreneur; she returned to international administration. This led to UN consultancies as an international expert on gender mainstreaming and the empowerment of women; learning and development; and workplace mental health projects.

A Black, British, intersectional feminist of West African descent; Iketina is an active community poet. As Chair of the association hint.wien; she works to support mental health in LGBTQIA+ communities through highly intersectional storytelling initiatives. She is also board member of the association ‘Schwarze Frauen Community.’

Iketina will join the programme as lecturer for the module Anti-discrimination and Equalities. In addition, she will advise on processes to safeguard the consistent integration of anti-discrimination and equality principles across the The Vienna Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights programme.

Julia Hölzl

Scientific Skills

(c) Julia Hölzl

Julia Hölzl

Scientific Skills

Julia Hölzl taught, researched, and studied at more than a dozen academic institutions worldwide and has a wide experience in supervising students with diverse academic backgrounds.

For the past 10 years, Julia has been teaching and doing research at universities such as Central European University (Budapest), Ramkhamhaeng University (Bangkok), University of Aberdeen, and Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Since 2014, she has been Advising Fellow at the European Graduate School (Saas-Fee/Switzerland; Valletta/Malta). Simultaneously, for over 15 years, Julia has done work as a freelance academic editor.

Julia will be accompanying our students with scientific research and writing methods.

Rafał Morusiewicz

Artistic Research

(c) Rafał Morusiewicz

Rafał Morusiewicz

Artistic Research

Dr. Rafał Morusiewicz, PhD (they/them),  is a Vienna-based researching visual artist, curator, and writer. A holder of two PhD degrees, they have completed a few mid-length and short artistic-research films, screened in and outside Vienna (Belvedere 21 Museum of Contemporary Art, Venice Biennale’s Research Pavilion, and multiple film festivals).

For over two decades, they have taught courses in artistic research, film studies, academic writing, and ESL at Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Webster Vienna Private University, and Warsaw’s SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities. Since 2020, Morusiewicz has collaborated with Guilherme Maggessi as Maggessi/Morusiewicz. By employing tools and strategies stemming from their diverse backgrounds (design, found-footage film, performance, sampling, stitching, silkscreening), the artistic duo explores modes of creating archives and fabulating futures in expanded and intimate ways. They are currently conducting a three-year FWF | PEEK artistic research project, “W/ri/gh/ting Archives through Artistic Research,” at the Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (starting Oct 2022).

Marissa Gutierrez-Vicario

Arts & Education

(c) Marissa Gutiérrez-Vicario

Marissa Gutierrez-Vicario

Arts & Education

Marissa Gutiérrez-Vicario is the Founder and Executive Director of Art and Resistance Through Education (ARTE), based out of New York City. As a committed human rights activist, artist, educator, and advocate for youth, Marissa launched ARTE in 2013 to help young people amplify their voices and organize for human rights change in their communities through the arts.

Currently, Marissa serves as an Adjunct Lecturer at the City College of New York in the Art Education Department. In spring 2021, Marissa served as the Soros Visiting Practitioner Chair at the School of Public Policy at Central European University in Vienna, Austria.

Marissa holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations, from the University of Southern California, an M.P.A. from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, and an M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Andrea Strasser-Camagni

Anthropology & Human Rights

(c) Andrea Strasser-Camagni

Andrea Strasser-Camagni

Anthropology & Human Rights

Andrea Strasser-Camagni holds a PhD degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology from Vienna University and has been working in the field of human rights for many years: for the OSCE field office in Yerevan (Armenia) from 2002-2004, for Amnesty International from 2008-2019, first as a researcher in the Eurasia team of the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, then as an Individuals at Risk Coordinator and Advocacy and Policy Officer in the Austrian Section.

Since September 2019 she is working for International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR, Brussels/Tbilisi). She conducts research (mainly on Tajikistan and other Central Asian countries) and produces publications together with the organization’s local partner groups.

Andrea is interested in the “social life of rights”, with a particular focus on women’s human rights.

Andrea has carried out extensive field research in the South Caucasus and Central Asia on topics including women’s rights, domestic violence, torture, persecution of human rights defenders and the death penalty. Other professional involvements have included lectureships at the National University of Maynooth/Ireland and the University of Vienna, and a research fellowship at the Academy of Sciences/Institute of Social Anthropology.

Andrea also holds a diploma in Psychological Counselling and was working as a psychological counsellor in a women’s advice centre near Vienna.

Rita Isiba

Teambuilding & Empowerment

(c) Rita Isiba

Rita Isiba

Teambuilding & Empowerment

Rita Isiba is a Management Consultant specializing in communication and engagement of diverse groups. Before establishing Aphropean Partners, Rita worked for several years in the marketing, communication and knowledge management field across Africa and Europe. Today, she helps organizations devise customized strategies that address the specific engagement needs between interdisciplinary and intercultural groups.

Rita has extensive experience working with Professionals and Executives to champion group dynamics and frequently facilitates interactions with audiences, employees and teams. With her deep interest in the scientific study of groups, Rita’s engaging style and passion for the work have made her a sought-after consultant, trainer and moderator. Her clients include the Federal Chancellery of Austria, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, the Austrian Federation of Trade Unions, Global Responsibility, Great Place To Work, Horizont3000, International Finance Corporation, UNIDO, and more. Along with multiple presentations Rita delivers for clients worldwide, she is also in demand as a speaker for various organizations and associations such as the Austrian Development Agency, Nigeria-Austria Business Forum and WoMentor.

Rita founded Frontiers of Dialogue Forum, an association that promotes social and economic activities between Africa and Europe. She also established Women Go International, an initiative to equip female entrepreneurs with the skills and know-how to internationalize their business activities.

Rita is a certified Facilitator and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Edinburgh Business School, a BSc in Business and European Studies from the University of Hertfordshire, and diplomas in Equality & Diversity, Gender Mainstreaming, and System Thinking.

René Urueña

The Inter-American Human Rights Systems

(c) René Urueña

René Urueña

The Inter-American Human Rights Systems

René Urueña is a Professor of International Law at Universidad de Los Andes (Colombia).

He is a Max Planck Fellow in Law (2021-2026), holds a WTO Chair 2022-2025, has been counsel and several times an expert witness before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and served as an adviser of the Selection Committee of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (Colombia).

René has been a Fellow at New York University, a docent at the Institute for Global Law and Policy at the University of Harvard, and a visiting professor at the City University of New York, and at the universities of Tel-Aviv, Utah, and Helsinki.
He received his LL.M. (laudatur) and his Doctor of Law (eximia cum laude) from the University of Helsinki in Finland.

Tshepo Madlingozi

The African Human Rights System

(c) Tshepo Madlingozi

Tshepo Madlingozi

The African Human Rights System

Tshepo Madlingozi teaches the African Human Rights System in our program. He is the Director of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, and an Associate Professor at the School of Law of the same university where he teaches social justice and human rights. His research interests include the following: the constitutional implications of settler colonization, decolonial critiques of transitional justice, African literature and the law, abolitionist social movements.

He holds master’s degrees in both Law and Sociology, and he received his PhD degree from Birkbeck, University of London. He is a Research Associate at the Chair for Critical Studies in Higher Education at Nelson Mandela University, and a Visiting Professor, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam. He is a co-editor of South African Journal on Human Rights. He is a co-editor of Symbol or Substance: Socio-economic Rights in South Africa (Cambridge UP) and a co-editor of Introduction to Law and Legal Skills in South Africa, 2nd Edition (Oxford UP South Africa).

He sits on the boards of the following civil society organizations: the Rural Democracy Trust, Imbiza: Journal of African Writing, and Afrika Ikalafe Spiritual Health Institute, and the Institute for Social Dialogue. He is also a member of the Steering Committee of the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA), and a member of the advisory board of Health Justice Initiative. For thirteen years (2015-2018) he worked with and for Khulumani Support Group, a 120 000-strong social movement of victims and survivors of Apartheid as National Advocacy Coordinator and later the Chairperson.

Monika Halkort

Sustainability & Migration

(c) Monika Halkort

Monika Halkort

Sustainability & Migration

Monika Halkort is a researcher and lecturer with a PhD in Sociology from Queens University, UK. Within the program she is a key contributor to the curriculum and workshop design on issues of sustainability, migration, capitalism and human rights, and will be teaching on these topics herself.

Monika has worked extensively on questions of refugees, migrants and stateless populations in the Mediterranean and the Arab region from an interdisciplinary perspective, bringing together political ecology, feminist STS, and decolonial thought.  Following her PhD thesis on the political and moral ecology of data activism in Palestinian Refugee camps in Lebanon, her more recent work discusses the ways political and ethical commitments towards migrants and refugees are currently renegotiated and re-configured, as real time tracking devices, environmental sensors and Earth observation systems, fundamentally alter our ways of seeing and engaging with human and non-human others across timeframes and scales. The main objective of this research is to reveal new patterns of racialization and erasure at the intersection of social, biological and machine intelligences and to assess how they recalibrate ‘zones of non-being’ that Franz Fanon famously identified as key locus of oppression, de-humanisation and ontological displacement in modern coloniality.

Prior to her involvement in the Applied Human Rights program Monika held a position as Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Social Communication at the Lebanese American University in Beirut (2013 – 2020). Next to her regular teaching and research activities she contributed to several artistic research platforms, including the Home Works Academy at the Lebanese Art Foundation, Ashkal AlwanSharjah Biennale, the Digital Earth Symposium, the School of Dance and Circus (DOCH) at Stockholm University, Tanzquartier Wien and the Ocean Academy of TBA 21,  Vienna.

Next to her academic work Monika is a regular contributor to the Ö1 programs ‘Radiokolleg’ and ‘Diagonal’, where she translates her general research interests into more accessible media formats, producing radio documentaries, interviews and features on science, culture, geo-politics and the arts. Her academic work is published in peer reviewed books and journals such as the International Journal for Communication, The Canadian Journal of Communication, and Tecnoscienza.

Examples of her work can be found here: https://dieangewandte.academia.edu/MonikaHalkort

S()fia Braga

Human Rights in the Digital Age

(c) S()fia Braga

S()fia Braga

Human Rights in the Digital Age

S()fia Braga co-curates our cluster on “Human Rights in the Digital Age”.

 

S()fia is a transdisciplinary artist based in Vienna. She develops her artistic research between Digital and Post-Digital practices, with a strong focus on the social impact of web interfaces and the subversion of centralized social media platforms, dealing with topics such as Interveillance and rediscovering the potential of bodies through the use of new technologies.

 

S()fia’s identity is constantly changing and goes hand in hand with the narratives she creates within her projects: over the last three years she has been an artist, a cyberstalker, a transhumanist entrepreneur and has already mutated into a monstrous creature several times.

 

She graduated in Visual Arts (BA, MA) at the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna (IT) and in Interface Cultures (MA) at the University of Art and Design of Linz. In 2022 she won the Bank Austria Studios Award and the Kunstförderpreise der Stadt Linz for the New Media Art category.

 

Her works have been exhibited at the Ars Electronica Festival (AT), Xie Zilong Photography Museum (CN), XII Video Vortex Conference (MT), WRO Media Art Biennale (PL), Schlossmuseum Linz (AT), Pinacoteca Albertina di Torino (IT) and more.

Website: https://sofiabraga.com/

Onur Olgaç

Human Rights in the Digital Age

(c) onur olgac

Onur Olgaç

Human Rights in the Digital Age

Onur Olgaç co-curates our thematic cluster “Human Rights in the Digital Age”.

 

Sharpening his artistically charged AI and self-hosting skills as a developer and sysadmin at present, Onur Olgaç pursued his BSc. in Computer Science with an extensive involvement in Visual Communication Design.

 

His focus shifted towards human perception and decision making processes in interaction design and the politics surrounding technology within artistic contexts as part of his MA degree at Interface Cultures, while actively working against constantly evolving, oppressive digital trends both in his practice as well as his teaching series “Digital Sovereignty” that aims for the emancipation of the end user.

 

He has participated in various international events such as the Sónar Festival (Barcelona), Ars Electronica Festival (Linz), Yami-Ichi (Madrid, Bologna, Linz), NODE Festival (Frankfurt), Art Meets Radical Openness (Linz), Darbast Platform (Tehran), Amber Festival (Istanbul) through exhibitions as well as collaborations, performances, talks and workshops.

 

https://onurolgac.com

Mathias Thaler

Philosophy & Human Rights

(c) Mathias Thaler

Mathias Thaler

Philosophy & Human Rights

Mathias Thaler is Senior Lecturer in Political Theory and Director of Research in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh. His main research interest is in contemporary political theory. Thaler regularly teaches courses on democratic theory, populism, human rights and the morality of war and violence. He currently serves as Co-Director of Research in the School of Social and Political Science.

His publications have appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as the British Journal of Political Science, Contemporary Political Theory, Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy, European Journal of Political Theory, Philosophy & Social Criticism, Political Studies, Political Theory, Polity and Review of Politics
His recent research has been funded by the European Commission, through a Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (2013–2017), and by the Leverhulme Trust, through a Research Fellowship (2020–2021). Mathias has moreover been the recipient of competitive awards from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Theodor Körner Fonds and the Gulbenkian Foundation, amongst others.

Over the past ten years, Mathias has held visiting fellowships at the University of Oxford, the Université de Montréal, KU Leuven and the University of Sydney. Mathias has been teaching the intersection of philosophy and human rights for many years at the Vienna Master and will explore and question with the students essential ethical considerations.

Anton Lorenz

Project Management

(c) Anton Lorenz

Anton Lorenz

Project Management

Anton Lorenz is a Management Consultant specialized on Project Management and Organizational Development working for Primas CONSULTING GmbH.

He has been doing trainings and consultancy in this field for the last 25 years and teaches Project Management also at other universities like TU Vienna. He holds a Masters degree in international business administration from Vienna University of Economics and Business.

Anton Lorenz is also partner at HumanRightsConsulting Vienna and doing Human Rights related Projects.

As a volunteer he worked within Amnesty International in various functions both on national and international level, from 2011 to 2016 he served as the chair of the Austrian section of AI.

Anton will work with the students on how to successfully use Project Management in projects with an Human Rights and Arts context.

Alumni

The Vienna Master goes beyond the education, training and formation of innovative human rights practitioners. It creates an interconnected and powerful network of change-makers spanning over all continents working on a multitude of projects in the diverse fields of human rights.

Our alumni form a human rights community that actively and tirelessly contribute to making the world a better place.

Manu Krishan

Graduation Year: 2014

Global Study Programme Manager, GLOBAL CAMPUS OF HUMAN RIGHTS

"The Vienna Master continuously checked on my growth and was always there when anything was needed - during the program but also thereafter (...)"

Manu Krishan

Global Study Programme Manager, GLOBAL CAMPUS OF HUMAN RIGHTS

“The individually focused and specialised support I received from the staff of the Vienna Master was unprecedented. They continuously checked on my growth and were always there when anything was needed – during the program but also thereafter.”

Manu Krishan is currently the Programme Manager of the Global Study dissemination and follow-up initiation activities at the Global Campus of Human Rights. Manu’s work took him to Australia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, and many other countries.

During the implementation of the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, Manu was the Coordinator and Assistant to the Independent Expert leading the Study, based first at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights followed by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva.

Before the Global Study, Manu was engaged in CWIN/ECPAT in Kathmandu, Nepal and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Vienna, Austria .

Manu studied philosophy before graduating from the predecessor program “Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights” at the University of Vienna. Manu is a human rights researcher and project manager with proficiency in children’s rights, particularly on ethical considerations when researching with and for children.

Robert Fellner

Graduation Year: 2015

Founder & CEO, HUMAN RIGHTS CAREERS

“The Vienna Master played an important role in helping me to transition into a human rights career. The masters is fast-paced, intense and an excellent preparation to become a human rights professional.”

Robert Fellner

Founder & CEO, HUMAN RIGHTS CAREERS

“The Vienna Master played an important role in helping me to transition into a human rights career. The masters is fast-paced, intense and an excellent preparation to become a human rights professional.”

Following his engagement as a lecturer at Ain Shams University in Cairo during the Egyptian Uprising in 2010-2012, Robert joined the second generation of the predecessor human rights program at the University of Vienna.

Robert worked as Global Education Technology Project Manager at the International Headquarters of Amnesty International in London until 2020. In this position, Robert led Amnesty’s global instructional design team delivering human rights education experiences across various online channels including Amnesty International’s Human Rights Academy and Harvard’s MOOC platform edX.

Robert is founder and CEO of the social enterprise Human Rights Careers (HRC), which aims to make human rights careers more accessible to everyone. Today Human Rights Careers reaches more than 250,000 readers every month.

 

Elisa Klein Diaz

Graduation Year: 2017

Project Manager, FIAN

"The Vienna Master enables a space for exchange between students and alumni, which was very helpful for me as a recent graduate.”

Elisa Klein Diaz

Project Manager, FIAN

“Learning human rights from multiple disciplines has enriched my perspective and my work. The Vienna Master enables a space for exchange between students and alumni, which was very helpful for me as a recent graduate.”

Elisa studied International Relations before concluding her Master at the predecessor program in Human Rights at the University of Vienna.

Currently Elisa works at FIAN Austria (Food First Information and Action Network) as a Project Manager on Social Rights in Europe. Her work focuses on the implementation of the Right to Food and Nutrition (RtFN) in Austria. As part of this work, she coordinates the National Parallel Report to the Austrian State Report to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Together with other stakeholders from civil society this report is presented to the ESC Committee every five years.

Furthermore, Elisa works with five other european project partners from other FIAN sections, with the University of Coventry and the network Urgency, on a handbook called “Responses to Hunger”. Together with her project partners she researches the existing responses for the implementation of the RtFN in Austria. For this purpose she conducts interviews with soup kitchen workers, persons with poverty experience or social supermarket volunteers and employees. She also regularly write articles for the FOOD FIRST Magazine which you can find on FIANs website.

In addition, Elisa works for the Global Campus of Human Rights as part of the Global Study Team with a focus on migration and communication. In this role, Elisa works on the development of the Global Study Toolkit on non-custodial measures as an alternative to migration-related detention and is responsible for the Global Study Newsletter. She further supports in the coordination of other projects and conferences and has worked as editor on the Executive Summary of the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty.

Before joining FIAN, Elisa worked in the Press and Communications Department of the Austrian Ombudsman Board, as consultant at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights as well as for UNHCR Austria.

Reina-Marie Loader

Graduation Year: 2018

Founder & Cinematographer, CINEMA HUMAIN

"It was refreshing to be part of a community that advocates that everyone can contribute to shaping the human rights movement regardless from which discipline they come (...)"

Reina-Marie Loader

Founder & Cinematographer, CINEMA HUMAIN

“Coming from a filmmaking background, it was important to me to find a MA programme that embraces interdisciplinary thinking. I found that with the team in Vienna. Studying with people from all sorts of backgrounds was hugely enriching and represented what human rights is to me – an area that celebrates inclusivity and diversity. It sometimes feels as if the legal discipline dominates the human rights field, and it was refreshing to be part of a community that advocates that everyone can contribute to shaping the human rights movement regardless from which discipline they come. This was hugely important to me both as a film practitioner and a researcher.”

Over the last decade, Reina has extensively studied the potential of film to effect change. She completed a PhD in film practice at the University of Reading in 2011, with a focus on the representation of real events on screen. From her motivation to center her interest in the transformative power of film, she then graduated from the interdisciplinary Masters in Human Rights at the University of Vienna.

Reina founded Cinéma Humain, with which she hopes to contribute meaningfully to the establishment of an active community that places value on the exchange of ideas for the betterment of society and the environment. Her work is situated at the intersection between practical filmmaking, academic research, social engagement and human rights. Reina’s research interests include war and conflict, the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment, women and children rights, and conservation.

Her first film about female genital mutilation in Africa won ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa. A few years later, her practice-based research film ‘Sarajevo: Shelved Memories’ was nominated for the prestigious Learning on Screen Award (British Universities Film and Video Council). The most recent documentary produced and directed by Reina-Marie, entitled ‘Horn’ received several awards and nominations. It was awarded Best Conservation Film at the WCFF in New York, while Reina-Marie was also nominated for a Rhino Conservation Award for her work on the film.

Reina is also the co-author of the ‘Socially Responsible Filmmaking Manifesto’, which is published on the Cinéma Humain website. In addition to her filmmaking, she has also lectured on film at the University of Exeter and worked as a practitioner on creative projects developed by The University of Reading.  Additionally, she taught a course on ‘War and Conflict Films’ at the University of Vienna, while securing a position as Research Associate at the University of Pretoria.

Funders a.k.a Companions

At the Vienna Master we believe in equal access to education and self-realization. Our funders, whom we see as our companions in the strife for bettering the human rights situation worldwide, know and value the access to higher education and the transformative change it brings to an individual’s life and the society as a whole. Our scholarships empower inspiring people, who otherwise would not have been able to undertake the Vienna Master due to financial challenges. 

The tuition-fee waivers are funded by generous donations of our companions. We want to wholeheartedly thank them for not only believing in the program and our students, but also in change through human rights education. 

Community Arts Lab

Community Arts Lab

Art can be truly transformative, sparking hope and imagination and taking people on journeys of discovery and change. High quality arts programmes can connect people in unexpected ways, building resilience, restoring dignity and creating a sense of identity and purpose. They can provide safe spaces for individuals to be themselves and to believe in a positive future, especially in times of crisis and conflict. Only when people achieve their full potential will they be able to contribute meaningfully to society and be part of the social change the world needs.

The team at Community Arts Lab (CAL) wants to harness the power of art to build bridges and bring people together. CAL believes that solving the world’s problems takes ensembles, not soloists. CAL works with a diverse range of partners, including artists, educators, prestigious institutions, grassroots organisations and strategic influencers to bring communities together.

One of CAL’s most important roles is to foster the value of art as a tool to empower communities and bring about meaningful social change. We work across borders and in collaboration with other hubs and portfolios, aiming to design, build and grow a global system to enable the development of more just and inclusive societies.

Hermann and Marianne Straniak Foundation

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Hermann and Marianne Straniak Foundation

The Hermann and Marianne Straniak Foundation was established on 12th December 1974 in Sarnen, Switzerland, by Hermann Straniak (Salzburg/Austria). The Foundations’ objective comprises, inter alia, the promotion of the goals, ideas and values as laid down in the European Convention of Human
Rights of the Council of Europe.

 

RD Foundation Vienna

RD Foundation Vienna

The RD Foundation Vienna is a charitable private foundation established by Christian Reder, former professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and Director of the Centre for Art and Knowledge Transfer and by Ingrid Reder, former lecturer in Fashion and Industrial Design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.

RD Foundation Vienna provides funding for projects, interventions and research in order to enable initiatives of socio-political, cultural and/or artistic relevance which are clearly of public interest, but cannot be realized within a free market economy without additional financial support.

The emphasis of RD lies on research, development and human rights. The aim is not conventional sponsorship but project financing to facilitate independent work uninfluenced by unwanted outside influences.

Projects are prioritized which are likely to have positive social and political effects by focusing on topical issues of the present, be they in the areas of human rights, women’s rights, democratic legitimacy, social work, education, development priorities, cultural transfer, the environment, intellectual innovation, artistic and scientific productivity, and quality in the public debate. The aid may take the form of financing infrastructure, events, publications, and help in cases of need.

Public finance is not to be excused from its responsibility by a privatization of its obligations; rather, civic impulses may cause public institutions to rethink the inadequacy of their reaction to obvious deficits.

Projects are selected by the foundation board of directors assisted by a network of recommending personalities. Applications made independently will also be considered. Decisive criteria are the projects contents, their chance of being put into practice, work modes, and a basis of trust to be created in direct conversation. How or whether the support is publicized can be agreed on a case-by-case basis. In order to react with sensitivity to individual situations, needs and emergencies, anonymous support is possible.

Relying on a network of contacts maintained by personal trust, Vienna is regional focus for the foundation and its work – on the content level, however, an international ripple effect is intended.

The RD Foundation Vienna seeks to support projects which are difficult to put into practice. A foundation profile will eventually emerge through its association with supported and published projects which represent a contribution to civil society. The active pursuit of a public image is not deemed necessary.

The experience of the primary foundation representatives is an important factor for the possibility of participatory advice, reaching from aiding refugees, developmental cooperation, social work, publishing and literature to scientific and artistic cooperation and transdisciplinary projects, and professional experience anchored institutionally in the University of the Applied Arts in Vienna.

ERBER Group

ERBER Group

The ERBER Group is a leading group of companies in the field of food and feed safety, focusing on natural feed additives as well as feed and food analysis, and headquarters in Austria.

ERBER Group, commits to social responsibility stemming from its corporate values and the shareholding family’s deep belief in sustainability and building long-term partnerships across the globe for a better future.

“Working for ERBER Group means leaving ‘foodprints’ for making the world a better place. As Pioneers, Partners and Performers we make a noticeable difference with what we do!”

Androsch International Management Consulting

Androsch International Management Consulting

Hannes Androsch held the positions of Austrian Federal Minister of Finance (1970 through 1981), and of Vice Chancellor of the Republic of Austria (1976 through 1981), as well as Director General of the banking institution CA Creditanstalt Bankverein (1981 through 1988). Today he dedicates his time to economic-political, socio-political, and scientific-political matters.

His consultancy Androsch International Management Consulting GmbH (AIC) is a companion of the Vienna Master and provided 2 tuition-fee waivers this year.

Hannes Androsch has received numerous distinctions and awards, as he is an author of a multitude of publications, and has instituted the most significant private Scientific Foundation in Austria.

Lifebrain Group

Lifebrain Group

In February 2013, Lifebrain Group was founded in Vienna by CEO Univ.-Prof. Dr. Michael Havel and CFO Mag. Bernhard Auer and is currently growing into one of the leading laboratory companies in Europe.

Lifebrain has been providing, throught the entire COVID pandemic until today, the analyses of all the „Alles-Gurgelt“ PCR Test, which we all know and appreciate from the city of Vienna.

Co-founder Univ.-Prof. Dr. Michael Havel worked as a cardiac surgeon at the Medical University of Vienna/AKH and we are very grateful to him and Lifebrain for his indispensable support!

Partners

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