Last week, March 22, the Human Rights Centre celebrated its 40th anniversary in Geneva in an event that welcomed back many alumni from the past decades. For more than 40 Human Rights Professionals this was an opportunity to reconnect and share stories from their time at the University of Essex and learn about what’s on the horizon for the HRC in the future.
Geneva was chosen because many of our former HRC students went on to follow successful careers in the UN offices and other organisations based in the city. Held in the birthplace of the philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the event included a talk by the current Director of the HRC, Dr Andrew Fagan, on the past, present, and planned future contributions of the HRC to the global Human Rights project. It was followed by a drinks and hors d’oeuvres reception.
Michele Buteau from the class of ‘93 was already a trained lawyer from New York when she came to Essex but said the HRC helped her expand her geographical approach to cover a broader promotion of the protection of the rights of individuals. She stated that the event was a long time coming: “I’m very happy to be here, and I couldn’t think of a better place for this event to happen.”
From the class of ‘92, Mohammad Abu Harthieh is now Michele’s work colleague in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). He said the Human Rights Centre, since its establishment, has been doing a great job in supporting Human Rights defenders and lawyers to create a global community.
For Magdalena Sepulveda and her husband, from the class of ‘99, the Human Rights Centre has transformed their lives in more than one way. They both met in Essex when they were studying in the LLM and have been together ever since. “Not only we met there, but we have based our careers on what we studied”. She is now the Executive Director of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR).
Since its establishment in 1982/83, the HRC has built up a global reputation for its outstanding and continuing contributions to the Human Rights project. We are celebrating our 40th anniversary with a number of events and initiatives throughout the year. Stay tuned for more opportunities to stay connected.
School of Law
We are The School of Law Events and Communications Team. At Essex, we teach the law that matters. We are freer, more daring and more experimental than many traditional law schools, and our Human Rights Centre is a recognised international leader. Here to share news and information about our students and our events.