Testimonial from Master’s Students
These testimonials come from students of the previous editions of the Master in Human Rights and Conflict Management.
Team Leader of the Gulu regional office – United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Hi, my name of Patrick Amihere a Ghanaian national currently working with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR) in Uganda. As the Team Leader of the Gulu regional office, I manage the implementation of OHCHR’s programme in three districts in Northern Uganda. I attended the IV edition of the Master of Arts in human Rights and Conflict Management course at the School of Advance studies, Scuola Superiore Sant Anna in Pisa Italy.
When I took the decision to apply to the programme, I knew I was making one of the best decisions in my life. The quality of teaching offered by the school cannot be questioned by any standards. The academic staffs always demonstrated the highest level of integrity, professionalism and commitment, and were always ready to support students with their course work, research and internship search and placement.
One particular thing I liked most about my programme was the course combination of human rights and conflict management and the way it was structured to strengthen the relationship between Human Rights, Democracy, Development, Rule of Law, Good Governance and Security.
I particularly like the mix of teaching staff drawn from within the university but also visiting lecturers from international organizations including the United Nations, and other renowned universities. The school runs a very good internship placement programme where students are supported with their search and eventual placement.If you are wondering where to go for a postgraduate porgramme in human rights and Conflict management, I will without hesitation recommend the Scuola.
Business Development Manager, British Chamber of Commerce, Denmark
The Master in Human Rights (MAHRCM) at the SSSUP is one of the best investments I have made in myself. It’s six years since I sat through the first class. Everything seemed new while others were distantly familiar. Prof de Guttry paced the aisle talking about international law. I struggled to make the connections at first but soon realised this was the beginning of a great career.
The programme transformed my professional and academic life. Since graduation, I have secured employment with two United Nations agencies and the European Commission. It also helped me gain admissions to the University of Oxford Saïd Business School where I graduated with academic distinction.
The inter-disciplinary nature of the programme makes it uniquely adaptable. Today as Business Development Manager of the British Chamber of Commerce where I sit on the European Public Affairs Committee, I am glad I had classes on the EU institutions at via Cardinale Maffi a few years back.
Associate Human Rights Expert, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) , Geneva
Thanks to the knowledge provided through the Master of Arts in Human Rights and Conflict Management, I have been able to successfully develop my skills in supporting and managing humanitarian programmes for both international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in different conflict-affected areas, such as Yemen, Iraq and Syria.
Thanks to the training in security awareness I was able to cope better with very volatile environments and I became psychologically prepared to cope with high levels of emotions. Through the course in conflict management, I learned to become tactful and skilled in advocacy and negotiation, remaining mindful of organizational principles and objectives in highly politicized conflict environments.
Most recently the notions acquired during the courses were critical in guiding my current work in the Human Rights Treaties Division of the United Nations.
By communicating in different languages and across different cultures with the other students, each day I acquired a deeper understanding of the universal value of the humanitarian principles that surround my work.
Mercy Wilson Brown
Superintendent of Police, Lecturer for Conflict and Crisis Management, Police Academy of the Police Service of Ghana
The Master has enhanced my ability to research and apply rules that empower the discharge of my duties as a Trainer for Police personnel, who as part of their own duties to protect and defend, necessarily derogate from rights of persons in both peace and emergency periods.
In preparing Cadet Officers for Conflict and Crisis management, my lessons also include the study of National laws on internal tensions, tending to emphasise International Laws relevant to their duties as persons with dual responsibilities; to Protect and Defend.
Officers are exposed to the study and application of applicable Human rights and Humanitarian laws when crisis ceases from being internal tensions, and assumes an armed conflict threshold; whether of national or international character as in the case of Nigeria–Bokko Harram.
As mandated persons with Responsibility to Protect, Officers also study the ICC Statute to understand International crimes and avoid committing jus-cogens violations.
Diplomat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italy
The experience at the ITPCM represented a milestone for my professional and personal growth. In fact, at the end of the course, held in a context which was more friendly than competitive, all those attending had the opportunity of being interviewed for posts with different international organisations, both governmental and non-governmental. I was recruited as a Civil Affairs officer for the UN peacekeeping mission to Burundi and my life suddenly changed dramatically. That was just the beginning of a long journey through Africa and other regions of the world, despite the fact that my previous aspirations had involved very different destinations. “Expect the unexpected” was one of the slogans often repeated by several lecturers during the Master’s course, and that was, and is, a great maxim for life.
After an assignment in Burundi during the transitional elections, which put an end to the long years of civil war, I specialised in election observation missions (EOMs), and again, I was involved with ITPCM for specific dedicated training. Finally, before passing the selection exam for Diplomats at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2014, I participated as an observer in more than 20 EOMs with the EU, OSCE, and Carter Center. As a result, I have great memories of historical moments such as the first (and last) democratic elections in Mauritania; the first (and lasting) free and transparent elections in the cradle of the ‘Arab Spring’, Tunisia; the traditional peaceful change in power in Senegal; the tragic post-election violence in Kenya, an adventurous evacuation from Ivory Coast, but also the smells of the Caucasus, the views over the plains and valleys of Nepal, the volcanoes of Ecuador, and much more.
Throughout my experience, ITPCM and Prof. De Guttry were a great calling card, greatly esteemed in a world of conflict.
Deputy Coordinator, African Union Elections Observation Mission to Nigeria
The novelty of the MAHRCM is its blend of current human rights theories and debates with practical field applications of human rights in contemporary humanitarian situations. As an Elections Specialist, I work mainly with governments, Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) and Political Parties on electoral reforms and electoral dispute/conflict prevention and resolution, and I must say the MAHRCM has adequately prepared me for the challenges of fieldwork. Since leaving the MAHRCM, I have served with the UNDP in Afghanistan and with the African Union in Malawi, Mozambique and currently in Nigeria. I can also say I have gained a better appreciation of the role of human rights and human rights law in elections. I am comfortable now dealing with, and carrying out analysis and assessments of electoral legal frameworks. I have also successfully mediated and negotiated peaceful resolution of disputes between political parties and EMBs.
Human Rights Officer, Human Rights Officer UNMISS, South Sudan
I work as a Human Rights Officer for UNMISS, which was established by Security Council Resolution 1996 on 8 July 2011. Crisis erupted on 15 December 2013, and is still ongoing. Human Rights violations continue to be widespread as civilians continue to flock into UN protected sites.
During the peak of the crisis, I led investigations into alleged mass graves and other serious human rights violations and contributed to the production of two public human rights reports on South Sudan.
Investigation was risky work. I passed through hostile checkpoints and crossfire situations several times. On one occasion we were told to sit on the ground at the checkpoint and hands over head followed by unusual questioning. No boss and no order at the checkpoint, so no complaints but you need to keep a cool head!
I overcame the challenges because of the skills I acquired from ITPCM’s Hostile Environment Awareness Training and it would have been impossible without them.
Senior Education Manager, International Rescue Committee, Lebanon
2008, after two years working in international development in Zambia, holding a Master’s degree in Economics, I felt the need to improve my professionalism and widen my specific competences in the field of humanitarian aid.
How to choose among the variety of Master programmes available in the world? School reputation, location, professors’ panel, curriculum, financial support? All of them! And Pisa won. Master of Arts in Human Rights and Conflict Management at Scuola Sant’Anna.
Probably I already had the spirit of a humanitarian worker for years. The Master programme’s helped me first to understand this important point for my life. Secondly, through extremely qualified lecturers and specialists delivering a strongly field-oriented curriculum I gained practical tools, technical knowledge and a sense of professionalism. And now here I am in Lebanon with the IRC (International Rescue Committee) ensuring access to quality education to 5,000 Syrian children always bearing in mind the “do no harm” principle.
Protection/SGBV Program Manager Relief International, Lebanon
I was eager to complement my expertise in international development with an increased understanding of international human rights law and humanitarian field operations through the MAHRCM Programme at Sant’Anna. The increasing nature of protracted conflicts and subsequent population displacement necessitates that practitioners have a strong grasp of both development and humanitarian principles. I had the opportunity to learn from both academics and field practitioners, combining theory and practice to improve my skills in international protection. The knowledge acquired has guided my most recent endeavour as the Protection/SGBV Program Manager with Relief International in Lebanon. The MAHCRM prepared me for this role by giving me a basis in humanitarian and inter-agency coordination, as well as the tools to undertake a critical and contextual analysis to ensure protection efforts are appropriate and effective in mitigating risks to sexual and gender-based violence among Syrian refugees.
Hans De Block
Programme and M&E Officer North Kivu, Coopi, Democratic Republic of the Congo
I was very happy when I learned that I was selected for the MAHRCM Xth Edition. At the time, I was working in a non-profit organisation in Belgium and wished to evolve to a more internationally oriented aid career. The Master course together with its internship proved to be a very good choice for a successful career change. I’ve been working for over two years now with Cooperazione Internazionale, an international NGO, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The DRC is a very complex country, suffering from protracted armed violence and human rights violations, with the presence of the world’s largest UN peacekeeping mission and one of the poorest populations in the world. The master course provided me with the necessary theoretical insight and skills to feel sufficiently confident in this particular context and I would not hesitate to recommend it to others who are committed to human rights.