Graduation and Inauguration Ceremony 2018

On 28 September 2018, the Graduation and Inauguration Ceremony for students of the Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights took place in the magnificent Small Ceremony Chamber at the University of Vienna. It was a truly memorable celebration of our students’ academic achievement and the cultural diversity characteristic of this graduate program.


The ceremony started in harmonious music played by the Kuskus band as the dignitaries and graduates walked into the Chamber. Julia Wippersberg, the Vice Officer responsible for the implementation of the Study Law, delivered the Opening Address where she congratulated the students for their excellent academic performance. It was our great honor to have Christoph Pinter, the Head of Office of the UNHCR Office in Austria, this year to address the audience on the global refugee situations. Following was our Scientific Director, Manfred Nowak, who delivered a powerful and thought-provoking speech on the development of Human Rights since the First World War and the challenges we are confronted with in today’s new world order. Facing the complexity of Human Rights challenges, he urges the students to “lead by example rather than complain about what’s going wrong.” Acknowledging defending Human Rights is by no means an easy task, Nowak showed his faith in the new generation of Masters of Human Rights and wished them a fascinating journey into the real world of human rights! Click here for the graduation speech of Manfred Nowak.


During the graduation ceremony, twenty students from twelve different countries were awarded their diplomas. Two Student Representatives, Laura Alberti, and Reina-Marie Loader, delivered the most beautiful words that awoke the best memories of their fellow classmates from the past two years. Their studies at the Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights have come to an end, from here on they will embark upon a new phase in their lives as they join forces with other members of the global human rights community. We hope they utilize the values, academic knowledge and practical skills they gained from the past two years and adhere to the core agenda of our program – delivering All Human Rights for All.


The ceremony proceeded with our Academic Coordinator Marijana Grandits’ inspiring speech of “Looking Back and Ahead” that turned the focus of the ceremony to the new generation of students. Led by our Programme Manager Georges Younes, the new students took their oath like their predecessors:
"Respecting, protecting and promoting the universality and indivisibility of all human rights for all; striving for a strong community bonding us together across all backgrounds, borders and time; deeply believing that a true culture of human rights can only be cultivated through mutual respect, tolerance, understanding, and life-long learning."

This year’s “Hermann and Marianne Straniak Scholarship” was awarded to Zaineb Ali from Pakistan and Miroslav Kantek from the Czech Republic. 


We wholheartedly congratulate all graduates and wish them a great future in their academic, professional, and personal endeavors, and we warmly welcome our new generation of students to the family of human rights and wish them wonderful and fruitful two years ahead!