Hermann and Marianne Straniak Scholarship 2017

(C) Martin Ruiz Rueda


This academic year´s Hermann and Marianne Straniak Full Scholarship 2017 for the Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights was awarded to Adelaida Ingrid Rivera Pena from Colombia.

Adelaida obtained her Bachelor of Anthropology and Political Sciences at the Universidad de los Andes, in Bogotá, Colombia and is an exceptional individual who has wholeheartedly promoted the value of academia through working with the International Association for Political Sciences. Whilst residing in Amsterdam she also volunteered with Amnesty International to deliver Human Rights lectures.

Later, she settled in Spain, in order to join a Masters in Criminalistics and Forensic Sciences at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. The application of Archaeology and Forensic Anthropology in the investigation of Human Rights violations has been one of the central interests in her career.

For this reason, Adelaida travelled to Northern Somalia to participate in the Somaliland Field School, organized by the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team (EPAF), in cooperation with the Somaliland War Crimes Investigation Commission. She was part of the excavation team responsible for the collection of ante-mortem data, research of mass graves, exhumation and forensic identification of victims from the massacres committed during the regime of Mohammed Siad Barre. Part of the work accomplished during that excavation season was presented at the European Academy of Forensic Science Conference.

Her experience in the field of human rights also includes working at the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) in Egypt, where she assisted the activities related to the processing of refugee claims in the operation in Cairo. She also worked at the Senate of the Republic of Colombia, being involved in the organization of parliamentarian forums and events which, amongst other topics, focused on the protection of Human Rights as a core element in the formulation of sustainable development policies. She serves as an inspiration for women from all walks of life who wish to end violence against women in conflict zones.

Adelaida hopes that this master program will further develop her enthusiasm for Human Rights and enable her to contribute to the advancement of Human Rights in order to attain gender equality in her home country.

We hope that Adelaida realizes her core ambitions she expressed in her speech at the graduation “to promote the abolition of impunity, discrimination and inequality around the world to guarantee the common welfare and peaceful coexistence of all individuals”. The multicultural tolerant environment that the Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights has successfully established for six generations is the ideal environment for her to do so.

We would once again like to express our deepest gratitude to the Hermann and Marianne Straniak Foundation for their continued support of our programme.