On 29 September 2023, the OSCE Academy in Bishkek together with the Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice commemorated the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights (UDHR) and held the opening ceremony for the regional Master Programme in Liberal Arts in Human Rights and Sustainability (MAHRS) in Central Asia.
The symposium and opening ceremony of MAHRS brought together international experts and guests from the United Nations (UN), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union (EU), academia, and civil society. They engaged in a discourse on the global and regional impact of the UDHR in Central Asia, reflecting on its achievements and shortcomings, while also exploring pathways for societies and institutions in the region to realize and implement international human rights norms and foster sustainable development and growth.
Dr. Indira Satarkulova, Acting Director of the OSCE Academy, opened the event by highlighting the role of the UDHR in shaping the human rights landscape in Central Asia since its independence in 1991. Dr. Satarkulova introduced the MAHRS programme indicating its significance in the felid of human rights in Central Asia. H.E. Ambassador Alexey Rogov, Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, emphasized the continued relevance and impact of the UDHR on the region's journey towards a more equitable society. Ambassador also underlined that the new MAHRS programme is special as it highlights the universality and cross-cultural importance of international human rights law and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in the region.
Following the opening, a discussion and debate took place moderated by Prof. Dr. Anja Mihr, MAHRS Programme Supervisor at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. Prof. Dr. Manfred Nowak, Secretary General of the Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice; Prof. Dr. Sania Toktogazieva, Associate Professor at the American University in Central Asia; and Dr. Syinat Sultanalieva, Researcher at Human Rights Watch, discussed the achievements and challenges associated with human rights in Central Asia.
The second part of the event was dedicated to the official launch of the MAHRS Programme. The Ceremony was opened by Prof. Dr. Veronica Gomez, President of the Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice, who also serves as a Professor of Law at the University of San Martin in Buenos Aires, and as a Judge at the Interamerican Court for Human Rights in Costa Rica. Prof. Gomez shared her global insights on human rights. Prof. Gomez also expressed her gratitude for the opening of the 8th MA programme implemented together with the OSCE Academy and co-funded by the European Union in Central Asia. H.E. Marilyn Josefson, Ambassador of the EU Delegation in Bishkek, underscored the European Union's commitment to supporting human rights initiatives in the region. Ambassador Josefson emphasized that this programme is an important achievement in the region, as it is the first programme dedicated to the education of human rights and sustainability. H.E. Antje Kristin Grawe, UN Resident Coordinator at the UN Regional Office in Central Asia, conveyed the United Nations' dedication to promoting human rights and sustainable development in Central Asia. H.E. Manfred Nowak, Secretary General of the Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice, reiterated the global perspective on the significance of human rights education and shared the history of establishment of the Global Campus and all Human Rights programmes. H.E. Olivier Bangerter, Ambassador of Switzerland to Kyrgyzstan underlined the importance of developing of true professionals in in the field of human rights in the region. Mr. Brian Beckman, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek, emphasized the importance of international cooperation in advancing human rights and sustainability.