Between 1989 and 2017, a total of 324 human rights advocates from 90 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 .
Dean, Professor of Law, Fundação Getulio Vargas School of Law
Oscar Vilhena Vieira is a 1991 graduate of HRAP. He has worked at the Center for the Studies of Violence of the University of São Paulo and the Teotonio Vilela Human Rights Commission, Brazil.
He is now the dean and a professor of law of the School of Law of the Getulio Vargas Foundation where he teaches constitutional law and human rights. He is also a member of the board of several organizations, such as Conectas Human Rights, Pro Bono Institute, Open Society Foundations (Human Rights Initiative) and Arns Human Rights Commission – a recently founded organization that aims to cope with human rights violations in Brazil. He is a columnist at Folha de S. Paulo where he writes on human rights and democracy. Oscar Vilhena Vieira is also a practicing pro-bono lawyer in human rights cases.
Vieira says: “Participation in HRAP was essential to define my carrier as a human rights lawyer and scholar. First, it opened a broader perspective about the human rights movement around the word and the challenges to promote human rights globally. It also contributed to my education as a human rights lawyer about the intricacies of international machinery and allowed me to have a better comparative perspective on the use of domestic law to promote human rights.”
Vieira was able to use the networking opportunities provided by HRAP for forging partnerships and accomplishing his human rights initiatives: “In the last decades, as director of Conectas Human Rights and Pro Bono Institute – and later member of the board of both institutions - I kept in contact and made partnerships with several organizations that I had an initial contact during my period in HRAP. To cite some: Human Rights Watch, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Vera Institute, and funders as Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations. I would like to highlight that the creation of Conectas Human Rights and SUR Journal counted with the contribution of [former ISHR director] Professor J. Paul Martin and HRAP.”
When asked what the greatest benefit was of his participation in HRAP, Oscar Vilhena Vieira responds: “Sense of belonging to a larger, global community of human rights advocates, inspiring tutorial experience with Paul Martin, access to academic resources at Columbia University.”
Oscar Vilhena Vieira holds a B.A. in law from the Catholic University of Sao Paulo, an LL.M. from Columbia University, an M.A. and a Ph.D in political science from the University of Sao Paulo.
- Article compiled by Chiora Taktakishvili, Fulbright Exchange Visitor, July 2019.