The Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (IDHR) is a major new venture at the University of Sydney. It was launched in mid-2012 and aims to develop pioneering research, postgraduate training and public outreach initiatives that will have a long-term positive impact on academic and public life in Australia, the wider Asia and Pacific region and beyond. Building on the University’s scholarly reputation and public profile for excellence in the social sciences, IDHR aspires to recognised leadership in research, postgraduate training and public policy discussion and intervention in all matters concerning the past, present and future of democracy and human rights, generously defined.
The Institute for Democracy and Human Rights aims to foster new partnerships with universities, NGOs and networks, at home and abroad, including University of Western Sydney (UWS), The Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. IDHR will give priority to developing imaginative cross-disciplinary projects in a wide variety of subjects, including environmental politics; human rights and conceptions of the non-human; the representation of indigenous peoples; the growth of cross-border governing institutions; post-colonialism; communications media and journalism; gender and politics; changing conceptions of freedom; social injustice and citizenship; religion and public and private ethics; violence and authoritarian regimes; democratic theory and the future of democratic institutions. In these and other fields, the working life of IDHR is to be guided by a distinctive ethos: the conviction that in the early years of the 21st-century the study of human rights and democracy faces steep learning curves and requires fresh thinking that names, explains and constructively engages with contemporary global realities in bold and creative ways.