Between 1989 and 2016, a total of 317 human rights advocates from 88 countries attended HRAP. In recent years, advocates have ranged from early career advocates who have cut their teeth in very urgent human rights situations to mid-career advocates who have founded organizations.
Below are the biographies of current Advocates and descriptions by select alumni as to why they became human rights advocates.
To see a list of additional past Advocates click here.
To read about more about the work of our Advocates click here .
Executive Director, Greenpeace Brazil
1997 Advocate Fernando Rossetti Ferreira currently works as the Secretary General of the Group of Institutes, Foundations, and Enterprises (GIFE) and Chair of the Board of Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Suppport (WINGS). GIFE is the first South American association of grant makers, uniting privately held organizations that operate social, cultural, and environmental projects in the public interest. WINGS is an organization aiming to strengthen philanthropy and build just societies through mutual learning and support, knowledge sharing, and professional development.
When he was participating in HRAP in 1997, he was a journalist interested in human rights issues. He highlights that the knowledge that he gained by attending HRAP workshops was “very important” for his “professional development.” He states, “After the program, I entered the non-profit sector and have been advocating for strengthening civil society worldwide. The global perspective that the program gave me has been a cornerstone for my strong commitment to human rights. I have devoted myself to human rights in all my activities since then.”
After his participation in HRAP, he became one of the leading Brazilian journalists in social issues. He led the creation of NGOs promoting human rights among youth in Sao Paulo. He states, “I was a consultant at UNICEF working on children and adolescent rights and public policies from 2002 to 2005.” Also, he has been working to address human rights issues in the Brazilian and global philanthropic sectors since 2005.
As one of his accomplishments, he was awarded an honorary medal by the Ayrton Senna Institute for his work as Education Reporter in 1999. He concludes, “The greatest benefit that HRAP offered me was an opportunity to explore human rights issues in a profound way through all activities that I was involved in.”
—Article composed by Junghwa Lee, Program Coordinator, August 2011
January 2014 update: Fernando is currently the Executive Director of Greenpeace Brazil.
Deputy Program Director, Human Rights Watch
“The program opened a few doors for me… it came at the right time in my career.”
Looking back on his experience in HRAP in 1997, Tunde Olugboji recalls making good use of the networking opportunities offered through the program. During HRAP, Tunde was working with the Constitutional Rights Project, an NGO devoted to ensuring that legislation relating to the rights of citizens in Nigeria complies with international human rights standards. His participation in the program connected him with donors that would become important to his future work.
In fact, it was during this experience that he met his “wonderful mentor, Paul Martin,” who at the time served as executive director at the Center for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. Martin’s course was also one of the few that Tunde had the opportunity to audit, including a Law School lecture by Michael Posner and a seminar with the highly regarded father of human rights law, Louis Henkin. Attending these courses provided Olugboji with a new set of skills that aided him both immediately after the program and throughout his career.
Tunde went on to complete further training programs in Denmark, empowering him to co-establish Nigeria’s first free expression group: Centre for Free Speech. Tunde’s unyielding passion for human rights advocacy led him to continue taking on larger projects, and today he serves as Deputy Program Director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), a multinational NGO. He currently oversees several programs including the HRW arm in Africa–which is HRW’s largest program–Health and Human Rights, Disability Rights, and Business and Human Rights. His aim to create a new sub-program focusing on environmental human rights. When Tunde is not devoting his time to advocating for international rights, he shares his valuable insights from years of experience as an adjunct professor at Hunter College in New York.
Written by Gabrielle Isabelle Hernaiz-De Jesus in 2016.
Masters in Sociology of Law Candidate, International Institute of Sociology of Law
In 2013, 1996 Advocate Chitra Balakrishnan received a Masters in the Sociology of Law from the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Onati, Spain. She serves as a consultant on human rights issues to numerous non-governmental organizations and academic institutions.
After HRAP, Chitra co-founded the Alternative Law Forum, a pro-bono human rights law practice based in Bangalore with a group of lawyers to respond to issues of social and economic injustice.
Shortly after, she was named a “Scholar of Peace fellow” by the Women in Security Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP). This prestigious fellowship encourages innovative research on gender, security and conflict issues. The Foundation of Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama provided her with financial support to publish a monograph entitled, “Research to Evolve Gender-Sensitive and Culture-Specific Models of Alternative Dispute Resolution” in the WISCOMP Perspectives in 2003.
In 2004, she was named a mid-career Chevening scholar in Peace and Conflict Studies by the British Council at the University in Ulster in Northern Ireland.
She writes that the opportunity to meet a diverse group of committed individuals in the field of human rights is one of the greatest benefits of HRAP. Chitra still remains in touch with her fellow advocates in the program such as Dr. Aurora Parong, Philippines, Maria Beatriz Sinisgalli, Brazil, Shiva Hari Dahal, Nepal.
—Article composed by Allison Tamer, Program Assistant, April 2013
February 2017 Update: Chitra is currently working with the Centre for Social Justice in Ahmedabad.
Founder and Executive Director, Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project
Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, a 1996 graduate of the Human Rights Advocates Program, began his advocacy work with the organization, Human Rights Concern (HURICO), located in his home country, Uganda. Twesigye co-founded HURICO to help victims of human rights violations in Uganda and to educate the public about their rights. Reflecting on the impact of HRAP to his work, Twesigye says, “Without skills and knowledge from the Advocates Program, I would not have continued with HURICO.”
HRAP provides its participants with a greater understanding of human rights tools and methods as well as the confidence and leadership skills to enhance their individual pursuits. In addition, many participants take advantage of the courses available at Columbia University and the infinite resources available in New York City. Twesigye recalls that during the program, “I started using a computer for the first time and never stopped.”
Since leaving HRAP, Twesigye has made a number of professional and personal accomplishments. He served as a Program Assistant for People’s Decade for Human Rights Education (PDHRE) after having met the founder and director during his participation in HRAP. He also completed a second bachelor’s degree, specializing in fundraising and management, from Indiana University as well as received numerous certificates in various areas of fundraising.
Twesigye currently works with the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project, which he founded and directs. Nyaka builds schools for HIV/AIDS orphans in rural Uganda, using a holistic approach to provide free education, uniforms, books, healthcare, shelter for the children, community water, and a community library. Twesigye has successfully started two schools in the villages of Nyaka and Kutamba, the impacts of which have been profound for the two villages and brought wide praise to Twesigye. He has been named Ugandan of the Year, Ugandan Making a Difference, and Social Entrepreneur by Global Giving. In addition, in June 2010, Twesigye and Nyaka were featured in Time Magazine. He is also the Associate Director of Development at Michigan State University.
Twesigye has also completed publishing a book entitled “The Price of Stones: Building a School for My Village,” released in June 2010 and which details the founding, evolution, and impact of the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project. However, Twesigye still recalls his experience in HRAP as a crucial component of his accomplishments, saying the greatest benefit had been “networking with fellow professionals and other organizations all over the world.” He concludes, “Without this program, I would not have accomplished what I have accomplished. Our children, their grannies, and communities Nyaka serves would not have anything if not for the exposure I got while at Columbia University.”
Novermber 2016 update: Kaguri has been awarded the 2015 Waislitz Global Citizen Award, named a 2012 CNN Hero, a Heifer International Hero, recognized in Time Magazine’s ‘Power of One’ Series, and spoken to the UN about his work. In 2016 Kaguri received an honarory PhD in Humanities from Shenandoah University recognizing his work with Nyaka. Kaguri divides his time between Uganda and Michigan where he lives with his wife Tabitha, their two sons and two twin girls.
—Article composed by Andrew Richardson, Program Assistant, June 2010
Director, Amnesty International - Philippines
Aurora Parong, from the Philippines, began her career as a medical doctor by training community health workers in marginalized villages, then later by joining the Medical Action Group in Quezon City. An alumna of the 1996 Human Rights Advocates Program, Aurora became one of the early advocates for economic, social, and cultural rights in the Philippines by contributing to the development of human rights modules on the right to health, the right to housing, the right to water, and the right to food. “HRAP helped me better understand the broader human rights work,” she says, “to include promotion, protection, and fulfillment of economic, social, and cultural rights by deepening my knowledge about the universality and indivisibility of various human rights.”
Aurora has attended trainings, conferences, and seminars where she has been trainer or resource person in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe in addition to her home country. The array of human rights topics Aurora has addressed include rights-based approaches to development, gender justice, indigenous peoples’ rights, UN and ASEAN human rights mechanisms, and human rights in the Philippines, among others. Aurora is repeatedly referred to on human rights topics because of her experience, professional work, and education. When asked how the education from HRAP has assisted her, Aurora says, “It was at HRAP that I got a clearer idea on the work of UN human rights bodies as well as truth and reconciliation bodies,” and “HRAP enhanced and strengthened my human rights advocacy work.”
HRAP acts as a multi-dimensional training program bringing together human rights advocates from around the world. For Aurora, “The debates about various human rights concepts (in the books we read and in the class sessions) encouraged me to further read and study human rights principles and practice in various contexts. The sharing on the human rights situations of various countries by my colleagues (co-students) widened my world.” Since HRAP, she has gone on to receive special certificates, some of which include a Diploma on International Humanitarian Law, Certificate on Forensic Sciences in Human Rights Investigations, Gender Justice at the International Criminal Court, and Human Rights and Elections. She also co-wrote and/or co-edited “Breaking the Silence, Seeking Justice for Victims of Violence in Intimate Relationships” with Women Working Together to Stop Violence Against Women, “Uphold the Sanctity of Life, Enhancing Remedies for Victims of Extrajudicial Executions and Enforced Disappearances” with the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court, and “Women Strategizing Justice, Women’s Resource Book on Gender Justice” with Philippine Coalition on the International Criminal Court in 2009 alone.
After receiving special recognition in 2005 from Task Force Detainees of the Philippines for her service as Executive Director for nine years, Aurora moved on to her current position as Director of Amnesty International Philippines for which she serves as spokesperson and manages all aspects of Amnesty International’s operations in her country, ensuring that strategic plans, priorities, and projects create positive changes in human rights in various parts of the world. Aside from her already prestigious work, Aurora serves as Board member of PhilRights and Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court.
December 2016 Update written by Aurora:"After serving as Director of Amnesty International Philippines for almost 7 years, I was appointed by the Philippine President as one of the nine (9) members of the Human Rights Victims' Claims Board (HRVCB), a quasi-judicial body created in 2014 which is tasked to evaluate claims and provide recognition and reparation to victims of human rights violations during martial law in the Philippines.
We are currently evaluating 75, 730 claims. The HRVCB is playing a key role in transitional justice within the Philippines, but may have an impact on other countries faced with transitional justice issues in the future. The HRVCB was created by Republic Act (RA) 10368 (or the Reparation and Recognition Act for Victims of Martial Law) to recognize and provide reparations to victims of human rights violations during martial law. Through RA 10368, it is State policy to recognize the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos during martial law, the people who had key contributions to achieve the democratic reforms that we now enjoy in the country.
I head the Working Group on Non-monetary reparations, within the Claims Board. Non-monetary reparations, which include among others health, psychosocial and training programs for victims of abuses and their families, will be provided by various agencies of the Philippine government.
Aside from my regular work, I continue to disseminate information and take action on various human rights concerns affecting my country and some other countries.
I will be a recipient of the Outstanding in Community Service and Public Health Award for 2016 on December 21, 2016 from the University of the Philippines Medical Alumni Society. (I went to the University of the Philippines College of Medicine for my medical education)."
Director of Public Communications, Escuela Nacional Sindical
A 1996 graduate of the Human Rights Advocates Program, Juan Bernardo Rosado Duque describes his experience at HRAP as “an extraordinary, intensive and enriching experience of immersion in the globalization of human rights”. Furthermore, he states, “besides the technical formation, in 1996, HRAP meant for me the entrance to the global world of politics, organizations and the theoretical development of human rights”.
Since he finished the program, Juan Bernardo has gone on to achieve notable professional and academic accomplishments. Since 2007, he has been a part-time professor in the city of Medellín and, recently this year, he earned the Master in Humanities. In 2004, he was invited as a professor to the Winter School of the Canadian Labor Congress and, the same year, he participated in the First Human Rights Symposium in the city of Sao Paulo. In 2005, he was co-author of the book Trade Unions and New Social Movements for the Latin American Council of Human Rights. Additionally, between 2008 and 2010, he was General Coordinator of Campaña Colombiana por Trabajo Decente.
Juan Bernardo continues to advocate for human rights. He is the Director of Public Communications at Escuela Nacional Sindical (ENS), a Medellin-based NGO committed to the promotion of labor rights by strengthening Colombian trade unions. Through his work, he seeks to expand the presence of the trade unions and the ENS’ points of view within the public debate about the labor agenda in Colombia.
When reflecting on the benefits of HRAP, Juan Bernardo points out how it allowed him to “know about and feel part of a global struggle, the struggle for defending human rights”. He asserts, “HRAP gave me the opportunity to live in New York City, attend one of the best universities in the world and get in contact with multiple organizations and human rights initiatives in North America and around the globe.”
—Article composed by Marta Garnelo Caamano, ISHR Intern, June 2011
International Committee Member, World March of Women
For Yıldız Temürtürkan, human rights advocacy is a profoundly personal experience. In many ways, it is “a school where [activists] get to know who [they] are” and gain “awareness of reality.” When Yildiz joined HRAP in 1996, that reality consisted of a fight against the violation of fundamental human rights in Turkey.
During her HRAP experience, Yildiz was working with the Human Rights Association (IHD), which was founded in 1986 after a military coup that left Turkey in a dark period. As a part of this organization, she was dedicated to the abolishment of the deaath penalty, an end to the use of torture in prisons, a fight for the release of political executives from prison and a search for missing persons. While participating in HRAP, Yildiz found that her advocacy skills were cemented and her passions for activism were strengthened even more. She writes: “Inarguably, it helped to develop my capacity in advocacy work… [and] I started being very proactive at an international level.” In fact, shortly after completing the program she was inspired to help create World March of Women, an international feminist movement.
Yildiz states that the greatest benefit of her participation in HRAP was that it made her more confident in international activism, whatever the cause or issue. As of 2017, Yildiz continues to be involved in World March of Women and is committed to working with other groups in the hopes of eradicating poverty and violence against women.
Democratic Republic Of Congo, 1996
Senior Reintegration Officer, UNHCR
“[My participation in HRAP] opened up new horizons of contacts at national and international levels and set an example for local activists to continue the meaningful work of human rights advocacy close to their homes in small villages and towns.”
Aimé Wata, a member of the class of 1996, began his human rights career with AJUV, a group dedicated to advocating on behalf of vulnerable populations in Uvira, which is a town located in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Specifically, Aimé helped provide legal advice to rural, uneducated families and aimed to bring the plight of detainees in local prisons to the attention of decision makers.
It was during his time with AJUV that Aimé joined HRAP, where he gained a deeper understanding of human rights and improved his English language skills. He also found himself gaining notoriety within his community–he writes: “the organizations I met and the contacts I established lifted my… credibility as a human rights activist in my town. I quickly became a resource… for all activists in my region, as well as a [primary contact] for international missions travelling to my area.” It is because of this increased visibility that, “despite continued violence in East Congo, the human rights movement remains resilient in my town.”
Aimé’s experience in HRAP allowed him to take advantage of other opportunities and he eventually joined several international organizations, including Amnesty International, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the United Nations. Today, that drive to protect human rights that he felt in 1996 has only grown stronger as he travels between Africa, Europe and Asia for his advocacy work. Most recently, Aimé has dedicated himself to protecting the rights of populations in Central African Republic who are displaced because of their religious affiliations, working to create social cohesion in their communities and ensure basic needs like housing.
Interim Manager of the Gender Justice Program, Oxfam Novib
1995 HRAP participant Carmen Reinoso Becerra currently serves as the Program Coordinator for Knowledge and Innovation Management and Organisational Learning (KIM-OL) at OXFAM Novib, a Dutch organization for international aid and development. Carmen is responsible for providing strategic development and implementation of the KIM-OL framework.
Carmen began working in human rights in Peru, where she advocated for gender justice and human rights. She reflects that HRAP “gave [her] the opportunity to broaden [her] vision and to understand the complex, multilayered context in which human rights practitioners must work.” The training she received in the program gave her the tools to take a rights-based approach in the design and implementation of organizational and policies and strategies.
HRAP allowed her to expand her perspective, gaining the experience and knowledge of other advocates from around the world. It also gave her, she said, “the sense of belonging to a broader community that despite difference on languages and cultures, share a common vision of respect to humanity and protection to fundamental human rights.”
After completing HRAP, Carmen received a Master’s in International and Public Affairs from Columbia’s SIPA in 2000.
—Written by Alexandra Watson
Coordinator, Projeto Trama
Michelle Gueraldi is a 1995 graduate of the Human Rights Advocates Program from Brazil. Inspired by the courses she took at Columbia University as a HRAP participant, she decided to continue her studies in the field of law. Shortly after graduating from HRAP, Michelle received her Masters of Laws from Harvard Law School. She then served as a lawyer for the OAS Human Rights Court in Costa Rica. She also published a book about human trafficking named Em Busca do Éden: Tráfico de Pessoas e direitos humanos, experiência brasileira.
Presently, Michelle is a lawyer for Organização de Direitos Humanos Projeto Legal. In this role, she conducts litigation on exemplary cases of human rights on both local and international jurisdictions. She helped form the National Watch for Human Trafficking, a coalition of Brazilian NGOs that drafted the first state plan against human trafficking in Brazil. In addition to her work as a human rights lawyer, she is a visiting professor at the Instituto de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro (IUPERJ).
HRAP is a four-month program based in New York City that seeks to strengthen Advocates’ expertise in human rights through a series of trainings and skill-building workshops. These activities offered through HRAP provided her with the skills to carry out her work as a human rights lawyer and activist. For example, the trainings offered greatly improved her interviewing and public speaking skills. These trainings proved to be useful several years later as she is frequent guest on television and radio programs.
When asked about the greatest benefit the program, she writes that all aspects of the program were beneficial for her work as a human rights lawyer. She writes, “HRAP gave me the tools to push my career forward as a human rights advocate. If it wasn’t for this program, I may not have been able to continue working in the human rights field. This program helped me discover new ways both globally and locally to continue my work.”
January 2014 update: Michelle is currently a Coordinator of Projeto Trama, a consortium initiated in April 2004 with the objective of confronting the trafficking of persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
Program Coordinator of the Marriage Enrichment Program, Cambodian Association of America
In the words of Chanthol Oung, a 1995 graduate of the Human Rights Advocates Program, the greatest benefits of HRAP included “the knowledge on human rights tools to support me in advocating for human rights, learning many practical programs/initiatives from the visits, fundraising skill, and power of networking.” HRAP impresses these skills on participants during a four month stay in New York City with a short visit to Washington, D.C. Many advocates who take part in the program find that they have adopted a whole new set of professional qualifications.
Chanthol returned to her home country, Cambodia, after participating in HRAP and became Executive Director of the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center, which she founded. She led the organization for ten years, and the Center now has more than a hundred full-time staff and thousands of community volunteers who provide legal services, counseling, skills training, and community organizing as well as rescue victims of trafficking and provide loans and scholarships to girls from landless families. When asked about the assistance HRAP may have provided to her to complete her work, Chanthol says, “I always work for the promotion of human rights by using what I learned (International Human Rights Instruments) from Columbia to guide my direct service, to raise awareness for public attitude change toward the respect of human dignity and fundamental rights, and to challenge policy and legal reform for equality between men and women and non-violence.”
The quality and strength of Chanthol as a Human Rights Advocate also shined forth in other areas during her time at the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center. She was elected Chairwoman of the NGOs CEDAW Committee, composed of 67 NGOs. In this role, she spearheaded programs to lobby governments to pass laws on domestic violence as well as advocated for many other governmental policies and programs to advance women and children. This role required her to regularly sit with the Board of Directors of many prominent legal, human rights, adhoc-Committees, and donor agencies.
The achievements Chanthol has made since her participation in HRAP have been recognized from a wide array of prestigious national and international organizations. She received the award for International Women of Courage from the State Department of the United States, the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership from the Philippine President, the Japanese Parliament Award for Human Rights, and was nominated for the 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize.
When reflecting on her experience in HRAP and its effect on her current work, Chanthol concludes, “HRAP has been very instrumental to my human rights work at anywhere I live and work.” Today, Chanthol is living in the United States and pursuing a PhD in Public Policy and Administration, having completed a Master’s Degree in Law in Hong Kong in 2003 with a specialization in International Human Rights Law as well as having completed a MBA in Cambodia. She is also currently working as Program Coordinator of the Marriage Enrichment Program for the Cambodian Association of America where her duties include supervising multi-cultural staff, doing case management, developing training curriculum, increasing public awareness of the program, and reporting to both the Executive Director and grantor, the United States federal government.
- Article composed by Andrew Richardson, Program Assistant, June 2010
January 2014 update: Chanthol is currently working towards a PhD.
Secretary and General Counsel, Media Development Investment Fund, Inc.
1995 Advocate Elena Popovic is currently serving as Secretary and General Counsel at Media Development Investment Fund, Inc. (MDIF) in New York, which is formerly known as the Media Development Loan Fund. MDIF is an investment fund that provides affordable financing and business management training to professional and independent news media companies in emerging democracies. She is responsible for the legal oversight of operations as well as program coordination, evaluation, and analysis of financial and management needs.
When asked about how HRAP assisted in her work of human rights advocacy, she highlights that HRAP provides opportunities to explore academic topics on human rights issues as well as practical skills for human rights advocates. She states, “HRAP helped systemize my knowledge of human rights and international human rights protections. The program also improved my fundraising and report-writing skills.”
After HRAP, she was nominated for the 1995 Reebok Human Rights Award and completed her master’s degree in International Law from New York University School of Law, prior to being admitted to the New York State Bar. When asked about the greatest benefit of HRAP, she replies, “My classmates! Although my classmates lived and worked in very different environments, the pattern of human rights violations proved similar to what I saw in my country, the former Yugoslavia. So we could share experiences and learn from each other.”
—Article composed by Junghwa Lee, Program Coordinator, June 2011
Rector, Academy of Film & Multimedia MARUBI
Describing the benefits of the Human Rights Advocates Program, Kujtim Cashku, a 1993 graduate from Albania, states that HRAP provided him “another angle to see the world.” HRAP gives its participants the chance to spend four months in New York City at the campus of Columbia University to pursue graduate coursework and training in human rights. Participants will also meet with other human rights advocates from around the world as well as network with prominent NGOs, foundations, and financial institutions in New York City and Washington, D.C. Kujtim, a film director and screenwriter, has used his experience with HRAP to expand the importance of human rights through film and in his home country.
Some of Kujtim’s notable works include Kolonel Bunker, a story about the communist regime in Albania, and Magic Eye, a story about manipulation in the media today. Both feature films have won several international awards and have been recognized at film festivals throughout Europe. Kolonel Bunker was also submitted as the Albanian film to be considered for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Kujtim has also directed the documentaries, The Tears of Kosova and Equinox.
HRAP can offer training in media and human rights advocacy tools that participants can bring back to their home countries and organizations. Many participants also find that they are capable of higher achievements after their time in HRAP. According to Kujtim, HRAP teaches participants a “new perception of time, power of selection and priorities, [and] culture of dialogue.” When not making films, Kujtim serves as Rector of the Academy of Film & Multimedia MARUBI, which he founded in 2004. The school is the first university for film and television education and training in Albania and brings together students from throughout the Balkan region.
Combining his passion for film, education, and human rights, Kujtim acknowledges that through his participation in HRAP has assisted his work by helping to create the first International Film Festival of Human Rights in Albania in 2006, a cultural platform for the dissemination and awareness-raising of the people on human rights issues. The festival, which is held annually at the MARUBI film school, will celebrate its eighth year in September 2013. Kujtim has also founded Cineastes Association “Lumiere” and the First Albanian Forum of Human Rights (Albanian Helsinki Committee). In addition, he holds the tiles of Member of the European Film Academy and Chevalier de L’ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
—Article composed by Andrew Richardson, Program Assistant, July 2010
South Africa, 1993
Advocate / Senior International Consultant, Greg Moran and Associates
A member of the 1993 class, Greg Moran still looks back on HRAP fondly. Not only did he gain exposure to various human rights organizations at the international level, but he also “gained a greater understanding of human rights in a global context.” He states: “In addition to the prestige that comes with having participated in HRAP, the exposure to various aspects of human rights advocacy has helped [my career] immensely.” In fact, the experience helped him to realize a different career path than the one he had originally been pursuing. Moran writes: “In 1995, I was approached by the South African Constitutional Assembly to assist in the management of the extensive public participation process that was an integral part of the process to develop the new South African Constitution. [The role] required me to design and implement mass national education and awareness campaigns on human rights and constitutionalism.”
After working with the South African Constitutional Assembly, Moran became the first Head of the Education, Training and Information Department of the then nascent South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), again designing and overseeing national human rights awareness and education campaigns as well as assisting key role players – including prisons, police and the military – to develop and implement their own human rights programmes. After four and a half years, Moran left the SAHRC at the end of 2000 to embark on a career as a senior international consultant to various international development partners (including the United Nations and European Union). In this role, he has designed, implemented and evaluated a range of human rights and good governance programs (including those focused on access to justice, rule of law, gender equality, democracy and social justice) in various African and Asian countries.
Currently, Moran is involved in a number of projects, including leading the evaluation of the European Union’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, and as a lead technical advisor to the Danish International Development Agency’s ‘Right to Services and Good Governance Programme” in Ghana, focusing on issues such as the Judiciary’s anti-corruption strategy and the establishment of Gender-Based Violence Courts. Moran also recently designed a human rights program in Pakistan on behalf of the European Union.
With extensive experience as a human rights advocate and senior international development consultant, Moran leaves those at the beginning of their careers with the following advice: “…learn as much as you can about human rights at the global level–who are the actors and what are their agendas - and focus on particularly on ‘new’, emerging and evolving issues such as climate change and its effect on human rights and democracy; safety and security concerns and what these mean for human rights and democracy (including how they contribute to the shrinking space for civil society); conflict resolution and transitional justice; and forced migration and the rights of migrants. These are areas that not only include significant human rights challenges in themselves, but also allow for the increasing erosion of human rights in the name of internal security.”
CEO, Polo Consultoria