Aims and Objectives
The Asia Pacific is the largest and most diverse region in the world. Stretching from the Pacific to the Middle East, and including three of the world’s most populous countries, the region is home to more than half of the world’s population and offers unparalleled cultural richness. However, the region also faces a number of severe human rights challenges, including massive poverty, discrimination against vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, armed conflict and violence, forced internal displacement of people, exploitation of children, people-trafficking, environmental and cultural destruction and corruption. Recognising the pressing demand to build knowledge and expertise to increase awareness of and respect for human rights and democratic principles in a manner that is carefully attuned to regional issues and perspectives, both across the region and within local and national communities, the five-university consortium introduced the Master of Human Rights and Democratisation (Asia Pacific) (MHRD) in July 2010.
The MHRD is the only program of its kind in the Asia Pacific region. The aim of the MHRD is to develop the capacity of people working in the field of human rights and democratisation in the Asia Pacific so that they may be better equipped to advocate for, promote awareness of, and encourage respect for, human rights and democratic principles. The MHRD is tailored to address the particular objectives and perspectives of people working in a number of human rights and democratisation professions:, governmental, non-governmental and international organisations, education, the police or military, business and other fields where human rights perspectives are critical.
Uniquely, the MHRD offers students the opportunity to study both at the internationally renowned University of Sydney and at partner universities in the Asia Pacific with particular expertise in human rights and democratisation.
The MHRD is partially funded by the University of Sydney and the European Commission through the European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights (EIDHR).
The MHRD (Asia Pacific) is an interdisciplinary, intensive one-year postgraduate degree that reflects the inseparable links between human rights, democracy, peace and development in the region.
Designed for mid-career professionals and highly motivated undergraduates, the degree offers students a unique opportunity to engage first-hand with regional and international human rights issues, and to interact with internationally renowned human rights academics, practitioners and experts.
Complemented by funding from the European Commission, this degree provides students with exposure to leading international human rights academics and practitioners.
Many of those coming into the degree will already be working in the field of human rights, democratisation or related areas (humanitarian work, peace work, development) and we anticipate that the research and advocacy skills, as well as the expanded knowledge base that students will acquire through the degree will significantly assist them in further advancing and in some cases refining or shifting to objectives and modalities of the organisations with which they are working. For those who will be looking for positions upon completion of the degree or to change their career, graduates will be qualified to work in policy, advocacy and research positions in a large range of organisations that work in the field of human rights. This includes non-governmental, governmental and inter-governmental organisations.
Given the salience of human rights and democracy in social, economic and political development and life, opportunities will also be available for graduates to take their knowledge and skills into contiguous fields where human rights and democratisation are relevant. We would thus anticipate that some graduates will seek positions in educational institutions, in the media and increasingly in the corporate world.
Finally, as one of the objectives of the degree is to build creativity and leadership skills, we hope that some graduates will create new organisations or play a leading role in the creation of such organisations at the local, national or regional level. Perhaps most importantly in relation to all of these possibilities, graduates will be part of a vibrant regional and international community and it is hoped that over the years to come, you and graduates from other years will form a powerful network of actors supporting developments across the region.