JCU and UNICRI Conclude Successful Summer School on Human Rights

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How to mainstream a gender perspective in human rights and accomplish the Millennium Development Goal of gender equality and women’s empowerment? To address these questions, John Cabot University has renewed its cooperation with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and hosted the, Millennium Development Goals Challenges: Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Human Rights from July 15-19, 2013.

Twenty students – graduates and practitioners from diverse backgrounds and eleven different countries – were selected to participate in the week-long intensive course. During the modules, UN officers, academics and NGO specialists led the participants in the analysis of gender mainstreaming and human rights from multiple perspectives, which resulted in a comprehensive outlook on the challenges and implications of this Millennium Development Goal.

The participants started off by examining The Universal Framework for the Protection of Women’s Rights and the effectiveness of international legal instruments in securing gender equality. They then moved onto assessing the socio-economic and cultural implications gender inequality in Islamic countries, the West and developing countries. Finally, the students engaged in designing culturally sensitive policies to tackle real ongoing issues: human trafficking, access to justice, access to food and resources, sexual and reproductive health and rights.

“This was an especially proactive and intuitive group which uncovered sophisticated insights and produced impressive policy responses to the challenges presented,” says Prof. Pamela Harris, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at John Cabot and instructor in the UNICRI Summer School for Human Rights for the past four years. Participants have now returned to their countries of origin. Yet, at John Cabot, we have seen the UNICRI Summer School build a solid international network, committed to take the Summer School’s knowledge and experience out of the classroom. As one of the participants said: “Just sitting in the class, surrounded by such passionate and intelligent people, I felt that a new step towards the Millennium Development Goals has been taken.”