AUWCL’s Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Celebrates its 20th Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights

June 26, 2019

The Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law hosted its 20th Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law May 28-June 14.
The Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law hosted its 20th Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law May 28-June 14.

American University Washington College of Law’s Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law hosted its 20th Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law May 28-June 14, welcoming participants from over 20 different countries.

The three-week, D.C.-based summer program works to provide scholars, practitioners, and students with the unique opportunity to learn and interact with judges of the International Court of Justice, as well as special rapporteurs and committee members of  the United Nations, members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, experts from prominent NGO’s, and professors from across the globe. The Academy is co-chaired by Dean Emeritus and Professor Claudio Grossman and Professor Robert K. Goldman, and co-directed by Professors Claudia Martin and Diego Rodríguez-Pinzón.

“Our Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is a unique opportunity to expand participants knowledge in specialized topics all while making connections with other students, educators, activists and specialists in human rights,” according to Martin and Rodríguez-Pinzón. “We hope that the classes offered, as well as the Human Rights Month events that we produce, can help spark important conversations and inspire the next generation of human rights leaders.”

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Left to right: Claudia Martin (Professorial Lecturer in-Residence and Academy Co-director), Robert K. Goldman (Professor of law and Academy Co-Chair), Claudio Grossman (Dean Emeritus, Professor of Law, and Academy Co-chair) & Diego Rodríguez-Pinzón (Professorial Lecturer in-Residence and Academy Co-director).

Participants included 80 certificate and diploma students and 34 LL.M. and JD students. Out of those 34 students, 20 were AUWCL students enrolled in the LL.M. in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, which is also offered as a Spanish degree, LL.M. en Derechos Humanos y Derecho Humanitario. The English program is also offered as a full in residence program.

Countries represented at this year’s program included Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Bolivia, El Salvador, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain, India, Burkina Faso, Australia, the United States and Puerto Rico.

“Over the last 20 years the Academy has trained thousands of lawyers, activists and law students, and the impact of such training is seen in many countries today, with many of these alumni holding high ranking positions, in government, NGO’s, Civil society organizations and private practices. They are the ones effecting lasting changes in the human rights field in their countries and we are very proud to know this program was an integral part of their training," Martin and Rodríguez-Pinzón said.

Students participated in intensive courses during the day while using their free time to go on site visits to the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and various historical sites throughout Washington, D.C. During the program, the Academy produces its annual Human Rights Month, which includes screenings of human rights documentaries in both English and Spanish and a number of Human Rights Month panels, some co-sponsored by the American Society of International Law.

Academy LL.M. students with Professor Helen Duffy, Founder of Human Rights in Practice and Professor of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at University of Leiden, center.
Academy LL.M. students with Professor Helen Duffy, Founder of Human Rights in Practice and Professor of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at University of Leiden, center.

Over 40 professors, judges, and invited guests came from around the world to attend the program, including Professor Antonio Cancado Trindade, judge of the International Court of Justice; Laurence Burgorgue-Larson, judge of the Constitutional Court of Andorra; and Eduardo Ferrer Mac-Gregor Poisot, judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Other attendees included Edison Lanza, Special Rapporteur for the Freedom of Expression at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with the Organization of American States; Daniela Kravetz, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea; and Helen Duffy, Founder of the Human Rights in Practice and Professor of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, University of Leiden. AUWCL faculty participating in the program included Professors Juan Mendez and Macarena Saez.

“These professors not only provide our students with crucial knowledge pertaining to their areas of specialization, but also foster irreplaceable networking opportunities for the students who attend the program,” Martin said.

The International Jurist recently recognized AUWCL as one of 25 law schools across the nation to offer the best experience for lawyers from outside the U.S., highlighting the work of the Academy on Human Rights and calling AUWCL "a powerhouse" in the human rights field.