Africa University hosts 2017 Winter School on Human Rights
28 July 2017
Africa University (AU), through its College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance hosted the 2017 Winter School on Human Rights. The Winter School stems from the Zimbabwe Human Rights Development Programme - financially supported by Swedish Development Cooperation – which is a collaborative human rights initiative encompassing Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI), Zimbabwean academia, independent research centres, civil society organisations, independent commissions, traditional leaders and government institutions.
The 2017 Winter School on Human Rights is testimony of the partnership that has been established between RWI and its academic cooperation partners, namely Africa University, Great Zimbabwe University, Midlands State University and Lund University. The Winter School aims to build the capacity of participants regarding implementation and enforcement of human rights and fundamental freedoms; increasing knowledge and skills of facilitators to design, deliver and administer high quality education on human rights, including human rights for women.
As he officially opened the Winter School, The Vice Chancellor of Africa University Prof. Munashe Furusa informed that the synergy between AU and RWI creates enormous opportunity to come closer to solving some of the structural human rights challenges in the world as both partners bring diverse expert skills and global competencies to the discourse.
“Those who have knowledge have a responsibility to share it with others.” said Prof. Furusaas he challenged participants of the workshop to apply the knowledge and competencies they will acquire through the workshop to transform and strengthen democratic systems and processes across the entire continent.
The RWI representative, Mr. Timothy Maldoon conveyed optimism for the initiative. Over the years, the initiative developed into a Master’s Degree Programme on Human Rights, Peace and Development offered through the University, since August 2014. Thirty students have enrolled for the August 2017 intake, showing significant growth from the nine students who enrolled in the inaugural class in 2014.
The Winter School ran for two weeks through a series of lectures, seminars and debates aimed to equipping the participants with broad knowledge on international, regional and national human rights institutions, norms and standards. The Winter School generated specialized knowledge on some of the human rights issues, enabling participants to be more relevant in their professional roles.
Great Zimbabwe University respondent
This opportunity deepened my understanding of the intricate realities on global human rights issues and equipped me with more practical approaches to enforce human rights in today’s world. The programme was very broad, providing training for people in the civil society engagement and women-related human rights issues. Moving forward, attaining a Master's degree in human rights is definitely a next for me and join a human rights-focused international civil society organisation.
The winter school exposed me to deeper understanding of issues regarding human rights and the human rights instruments at play in the African and Zimbabwean context. My take away from the workshop is more knowledge and new perspectives especially regarding the implementation of the progressive constitution and new found cultural understanding of the Zimbabwean legal system. In the process, I made new friends with the same interests. In the future, I hope to work in the field of women’s rights and to analyze policy related to social and political development.
Lund University respondent
Africa University respondent
The winter school provided a uniquely interactive platform to liaise with other students with an interest in human rights. I look forward to applying the new insights I acquired from the winter school to furthering humane welfare of prison inmates and advocating for penal reform initiatives in Zimbabwe and the region. I intend to do a degree in human rights and join a human rights-focused international civil society organisation.
The array of resource experts in human rights facilitating at the winter school provided me with valuable insights on international, regional and domestic frameworks on international human rights and how they relate to international law. The presence of Zimbabwe-based students and Sweden-based students from Lund enriched the knowledge base, debates, discussions and role plays. I look forward to developing further as an academic in international human rights, specialising on educating women in underprivileged societies.
Midlands State University respondent
By AU correspondent