© 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 Coordinator

(c) Rueda Studio

Verena Benedict-Orlicek

Cooperations Coordinator

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.

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 Strategies & Student Affairs Coordinator

(c) Rueda Studio

Marilyn Volkman

Artistic Strategies & Student Affairs Coordinator

Marilyn Volkman is Artistic Strategies & Student Affairs Coordinator of the Vienna Master and the main contact for students. She develops and coordinates the artistic orientation of the curriculum, nourishing connective threads between arts-based practices and Human Rights. Marilyn is responsible for student selection and mentoring, community building, as well as engaging students with change-driven methods rooted in actual art practice and experimentation.

Marilyn is an artist and curator with 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.

Melinda Tamás

Intercultural Communication

Melinda Tamás

Intercultural Communication

Melinda Tamás studied cultural and social anthropology, human rights and international law.

Since 2001 she has worked as an independent human rights consultant. Furthermore, Melinda works as an educator, translator, author and scientific researcher for various academic institutions worldwide.

In this context, Melinda has designed and been responsible for the development and implementation of numerous participation and integration processes, anti-discrimination workshops, anti-racism workshops, violence- and extremism prevention and numerous educational projects in the field of arts and culture, workshops on intercultural communication, human rights, international law and gender democracy.

Melinda’s main working areas include research activities and publications on forms of social inclusion and exclusion, power relations and democracy education as well as the implementation of research results.

She works professionally in several languages and engages in art performances about what racism, discrimination and exclusion do and why they persistently live on.

Melinda will explore with the students how insights and strategies from different disciplines, including the arts, can be interwoven in order to achieve social change towards a world based on equal dignity of all human beings.

Djamila Grandits

Cinema & Human Rights

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

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.

Dan Paz

Artistic Strategies

Dan Paz

Artistic Strategies

Dan Paz is 2021/22 Artist-in-Residence in Critical Race Studies with Michigan State University. Paz’s work brings a critical and aesthetic lens to the architecture of space, developing projects that build a genealogy of how power articulates itself through image production and access to information. Their research engages the conditions of youth incarceration, image practices and architecture through grassroots activism. Most recently, Paz hosted a series of Live-Mapping Workshops as part of the exhibition “Deliberate Acts: Art and Incarceration,” at Vanderbilt University, University of Washington, and University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2021, Paz guest-edited a forthcoming printed volume of photographs from A New Nothing & Sleeper Studio.

Paz has solo exhibitions with ENTRE gallery in Vienna, Austria, www.twosixteen.net, and Michigan State University in 2022/23. With national and international exhibitions, Paz’s projects and collaborations have been featured in Hayward Gallery London, UK; the 12th Havana Biennial at Fábrica de Arte Cubano, Havana, CU; The Media lab, NYC; The Logan Center for the Arts in Chicago, IL; The Lee Center for the Arts and The Jacob Lawrence Gallery in Seattle, WA; Holding Contemporary in Portland, OR.

Paz received a B.F.A from the Atlanta College of Art (SCAD) and an M.F.A. from The University of Chicago. Paz was a lecturer in the Department of Comparative History of Ideas, Gender Women and Sexuality Studies, and the School of Art at the University of Washington. Previously, Paz was Assistant Professor leading the Photography and New Media Division at Harry S. Truman College in Chicago, IL. In Fall of 2022 Paz will be a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies with an emphasis in Science and Technology at the University of California at Davis.

Nora Ramirez Castillo

Psychology & Human Rights

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.

 

 

Dr. Renée Gadsden

Art History

(c) Maximilian Pramatarov

Dr. Renée Gadsden

Art History

New Yorker Dr. Renée Gadsden is an art and cultural historian who graduated from Brown University (AB Hon.) with a degree in art history. She did advanced studies in art history at the University of Vienna as well as achieving degrees in sculpture (M.F.A.) and cultural and intellectual history (Ph.D.) from the University of Applied Arts Vienna.

Dr. Gadsden is active as a curator, art educator, and author, both freelance and for institutions such as the Vienna Secession, the Museum of Modern Art Foundation Ludwig Vienna and the Jewish Museum Vienna. She is specialized in gender studies and is a lecturer at the Department of Art Theory of the University of Applied Arts Vienna.

Dr. Renée Gadsden is married to the composer Rupert Huber. They have four children.

Noah Arnold

Music & Human Rights

Noah Arnold

Music & Human Rights

Noah Arnold holds a Master’s degree in Jazz Performance Saxophone and is a Vienna Master Alumni.

He is artistically active as a musician and writer. He teaches at various universities and contributes his expertise in human rights to the photo agency Fairpicture. Music, art, science, human rights, politics, activism: this is the totality he wants to explore and develop further on his way. He describes himself as a “musician at heart, human rights activist in action and optimist in will”.

Noah Arnold is responsible for the area of “music and human rights”.

Julia Hölzl

Scientific Skills

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.

Marissa Gutierrez-Vicario

Artistic Strategies

Marissa Gutierrez-Vicario

Artistic Strategies

Marissa Gutiérrez-Vicario (she/her) 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

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.

Mathias Thaler

Philosophy & Human Rights

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.

Laura Wiesböck

Sociology & Human Rights

Laura Wiesböck

Laura Wiesböck

Sociology & Human Rights

Laura Wiesböck holds a doctorate in Sociology from the University of Vienna with study exchanges throughout her academic career at the UC Louvain La Neuve, CUNY Graduate Center New York City and Oxford University. Her research interest falls mainly in the field of migration and labour market segmentation, intra-European labour mobility, social inequality and social transformation. For her PhD thesis Laura was awarded the Theodor Körner Prize 2016, an Austrian award bestowed by the Theodor Körner Fund in recognition of cultural and scientific advances.

Apart from her academic studies, Laura also works on conceptual art projects. Drawing on sociological theories and elements of satire, she focuses on quantification processes in Western societies, economics of attention and performing selves.

Laura will explore with the students the intersection of Human Rights & Sociology.

Martin Krenn

Arts & Politics

(c) Martin Krenn

Martin Krenn

Arts & Politics

Martin Krenn is an artist, artistic researcher, curator and works as a professor of Art Mediation at the Braunschweig University of Art. Krenn graduated in Electronic Music at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, in 1996 and holds an M.A. (Mag. art.) from the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, since 1997. Martin was awarded a PhD for his project “The Political Space in Social Art Practices” by the Ulster University, Faculty of Art, Design and the Built Environment, in 2016. In 2017, Krenn was awarded the venia docendi in “Art and Communication Practices” at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.

Martin has had numerous international exhibitions, including solo shows e.g. in Vienna (Kunsthalle Exnergasse and Passagegalerie Künstlerhaus), Salzburg (Salzburger Kunstverein and Galerie 5020), Munich (Kunstraum München), Ljubljana (Mala galerija Cankarjev Dom) and Bucharest (Centre for Visual Introspection).

He participated in group shows e.g. in Paris (Apegac/Espace Donguy), Antwerpen (NICC), Amsterdam (W139), Kobe (Videoart Center Tokyo), Berlin (NGBK), Helsingborg (Dunkers Kulturhus), Hong Kong (Hong Kong Art Center), Leipzig (Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst), Toronto (Toronto Free Gallery), Vancouver (Artspeak Gallery), Holon (The Israely Center of Digital Art), Thun (Kunstmuseum Thun), Pori (Pori Art Museum) and Sibiu (The National Brukenthal Museum).

Martin explores with the students what politically engaged art is and its underlying power.

Doris Posch

Cultural & Transcultural Studies

(c) Ina Aydogan

Doris Posch

Cultural & Transcultural Studies

Doris Posch is a film and cultural studies scholar and a lecturer at the University of Vienna, the University of Art and Design Linz and the University of Applied Arts Vienna. She graduated in Theatre, Film and Media Studies and French and Francophone Studies (University of Vienna, Université de Montréal, Université Libre de Bruxelles) and studied Critical Studies (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna). She was a Visiting Scholar at New York University (NYU), at Concordia University Montreal and at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), Amsterdam. She was a fellow of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and a Marietta Blau fellow. In her doctoral thesis, she focused on emerging film cultures in Caribbean cinemas.

Since 2009, Doris has carried out extensive academic research and curatorial practice on postcolonial film cultures (Antananarivo, Atlanta, Berlin, Jacmel, Ottawa, Ouagadougou, Rio de Janeiro). Since 2008, Doris is a moderator, interpreter, panelist and jury member in the film and cultural sector. Numerous international lectures, presentations and chairing on African and Caribbean film cultures and diasporas, gender politics, intersectionality and curatorial practices, and organizer and host of several masterclasses, workshops and panel discussions at the intersection of film theory and practice. Doris is co-founder of CineCollective and since 2019, she is co-director of the open-air Urbanities Film Festival Kaleidoskop in Vienna, Austria.

Doris explores with the students historical and current perspectives of cultural studies, postcolonial and transcultural studies.

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!”

Partners

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