Reflections 2022-10-20

Our Program Assistants

By Rhoda Nakungu and Laura Illa

Patrik, Aemilia, Leire and Rhoda joined for the last six month the Vienna Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights team. During the summer semester, the four of them were immersed in highly professional and international environment, that works to boost, at the utmost, the interconnection between Human Rights and Arts. Among their responsibilities, they assist the teachers at class, expand the master’s database of the learning materials as well as, maintaining the library and support the organisation of events.

Patrik Petrosyan

Patrik Petrosyan comes from Armenia. After completing his Bachelor’s in Law and gaining valuable experiences in legal and administrative intern roles, he found out his interest for the Human Rights system. He is, genuinely, an enthusiastic about human rights, international law, languages, cultures, and social sciences, as well as, travelling. Currently he is enrolled for a master’s in Human Rights and multi-level Governance at the University of Padua Italy.

For him, the internship at the VMAHR fitted was a great opportunity, that fitted in his professional aspirations, as it is a new ambitious program and, therefore, was still shaping. He was also drawn to the VMAHR team because of the incredibly experienced professionals that participated and work together. Further, he views Arts as a perfect way of addressing Human Rights issues and of bringing awareness, and at the same time, believes that Human Rights protection is crucially needed for the Artists to be able to create. Therefore, for him, the two are not just interconnected, but also interdependent.

Patrik’s long-time career plan is to work in the Council of Europe and OSCE, ideally in conflict prevention, peacebuilding and policy making. In the meantime, he plans to continue pursuing more experience and new challenges in the field of Human Rights.

Aemilia Ydyrysova

Aemilia Ydyrysova is from Kyrgyzstan. She holds bachelor’s degree in Comparative Politics in Kyrgyzstan, attained from the American University of Central Asia and she is currently enrolled for a master’s in Human Rights and multi-level governance at the University of Padua Italy.

Aemilia considers this internship as part of her study curriculum, but besides the need, she saw many other reasons why this opportunity was exceptional. She wanted to explore the beautiful city of Vienna, but most importantly, she believed that working with the VMAHR team and holding the position of Program Assistant was a great chance for her professional growth. The young and dynamic team of VMAHR is a perfect opportunity to learn, to improve and to acquire valuable experience for a future career. These were her objectives when she joined the team, and she is now happy to share, that she fulfilled them.

She considers Human Rights as a broad concept, that is interconnected with every aspect of the modern world, and art is a comprehensive instrument to fight, advocate and propagate Human Rights. She is convinced, that the interconnection started a long time ago, since art has always been a language that people understand the best, and the form of communication that people relate the most emotionally and intellectually. This is why, she is sure it is the perfect time to conceptualize and develop the interconnection.

As she finishes the internship, Aemilia wishes to continue her career in the field, more specifically in development cooperation. Despite having specific plans, Aemilia hopes the future will surprise and amaze her, hopefully in Vienna for the next couple of years. She is in love with the city.

Leire Zabala Arrieta

Leire Zabala Arrieta is from Basque Country, and she is currently pursuing a master’s in international public law and Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University of Turku, Finland. Leire considered this internship as a fantastic opportunity to see the other side of the coin when it comes to her studies. She believes that change also starts in a class, and she wanted to gain in-depth knowledge of how programs are designed, organized, and managed.

For Leire the Human Rights are a very abstract concept, because they lay on the very nature of the human being. Therefore, it is not something tangible that can be given or taken. Human Rights are, basically, everything and everywhere. Likewise, she also wanted to explore human rights, concretely, in the field of arts, considering that art goes together with emotions, and are the emotions what moves the world and can spur a change. Hence, she wished to discover how effectively art can be used as a tool for the promotion, protection, and defense of human rights.

After the internship, Leire would love to find a project where she can combine her passion for communication and her mission for human rights. She would love to live in different countries and keep discovering new stories, which in the end, is what inspires her the most.

Rhoda Nakungu

Rhoda Nakungu is a Ugandan by nationality and holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University Uganda. She is enthusiastic about promoting human rights for the vulnerable people such as women, girls, and people with physical challenges. From 2017-2019, she was working for the Public Interest Law Clinic of Makerere University, providing legal aid to exposed and defenceless people in the post conflict district of Bundibugyo in Uganda. She is also an alumnus of the US Department of State exchange program of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, and a member of the Chevening community. She has been awarded with the Chevening scholarship of the UK Commonwealth and Development Office, to pursue a master’s degree in International human rights law and development at the University of Bradford UK (2020-2021).

Rhoda believes that Art and Human Rights are interconnected, because whilst art can be employed as a tool for tackling human rights challenges, it can also serve as a weapon to instigate human rights violations. Therefore, she opted for an internship with the VMAHR because she wanted to gain a broader understanding of the diverse ways in which art could be used for promoting human rights. Further, she wanted to network with the exceptional VMAHR team, which is comprised of professionals from both human rights and artistic backgrounds. More specifically, she is in love with music and art, therefore, it was for her a breath-taking opportunity to experience life in Vienna, a well-known city of art and music.

After the internship, Rhoda envisages, that she will use the knowledge and networks acquired to promote legal literacy in hard-to-reach areas in Africa. However, her long-term career plan is to contribute to the protection of the vulnerable people, especially those who are caught up in situations of armed conflict.

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