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Symposium "Current Challenges for European Human Rights Protection" - 17 July 2018

Celebrating the 20th annual Summer Course "The European System of Human Rights Protection"


      • Prof Carmen Thiele, Vice Dean, Faculty of Law, Viadrina European University, Co-Director Summer Course
      • Niels Helle-Meyer, Chancellor, Viadrina European University Frankfurt (Oder)
      • Prof Gerard C Rowe, Em Prof of Public Law, Viadrina European University, Co-Director Summer Course 

Keynote Lecture

      • Prof Krzysztof Wojtyczek, Judge of the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg

Panel Discussion

      • Dr Therese Comodini Cachia, University of Malta
      • Em Prof Leo Zwaak, Netherlands Institute of Human Rights, University of Utrecht, Netherlands
      • Dr Anikó Szalai, University of Szeged, Hungary
      • Prof Pablo Pareja Alcaraz, University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
      • Prof Jernej Letnar Černič, Graduate School of Government & European Studies, Kranj, Slovenia

Summer Course "The European System of Human Rights Protection"

Every year, since 1999, the Viadrina European University Frankfurt (Oder) has conducted the international Summer Course, The European System of Human Rights Protection. This annual, two-week, English-language course has been regularly attended by 60-70 students from more than thirty countries, particularly from across Europe and Central Asia, but also from other countries and regions around the world.

The Summer Course emerged from a cooperative programme, the ‘European Module’, supported by the European Commission in the late 1990s. The teaching faculty consists of human rights scholars from the Viadrina and its partner universities around Europe, who volunteer their time, year for year, to introduce advanced students and young graduates to this important topic.

The programme of the Summer Course addresses the major European institutional and legal structures for human rights protection: the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) of the Council of Europe, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU), and ‘Human Dimension‘ documents of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Instruction is provided through lectures, tutorials and moot court exercises. Participants reside in Słubice, while academic activities take place in Frankfurt (Oder), providing a daily experience of crossing a peaceful international border.

The Summer Course has benefitted variously from the financial assistance of the European Commission, the German Red Cross, the German Foreign Service, the Viadrina European University, and especially the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). This financial assistance has enabled scholarships for participants who would otherwise not have been able to attend, often from countries where understanding of the importance of human rights protection needs to be significantly strengthened.

This symposium celebrates twenty years of the Summer Course by looking at the present condition of human rights protection in Europe, noting the many current political, economic, cultural, environmental, and institutional factors now challenging human rights both in Europe and globally.

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