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Postgraduate Studies in Human Rights
Postgraduate Studies in Human Rights, Peace and Development Using An Interdisciplinary Approach.
               "Human rights are fundamental and are the birthright of all humans. These rights, however, must be gained through struggle. Regardless of the universality of international declarations and covenants…. the full observance of human rights is not yet guaranteed to all human beings. The ultimate aim of these declarations cannot be achieved until people become aware of their rights as humans."
From the Mission Statement, Office of Human Rights and Social Development, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Mahidol University
     There is a misperception that human rights issues are mainly about laws, because most human rights studies programs throughout the world are offered under law schools, and taught by lawyers. But if we look carefully at human rights, we realize that human rights cover more than legal rights as human rights are rooted in the concrete political, economic, social and cultural reality of a given society. Therefore, human rights are not only about legal technicalities, but they concern the totality of the dignity of human beings, which must be perceived from different perspectives.

We cannot study the dignity of human beings from the viewpoint of a single discipline. This has compelled the Office of Human Rights Studies to research and study human
rights, peace, and development from all perspectives, requiring study using many disciplines. Our Master’s and Doctoral Degree programs are one of the few such interdisciplinary programs in the world. The interdisciplinary nature of human rights studies programs at Mahidol University is reflected in the program design where students must cover political, legal, philosophical, economic, social and cultural aspects of human rights. Human rights are seen from social, medical and natural sciences viewpoints.
     Study and research in our program occurs in a highly internationalized context. The course content is international, for students are expected to emerge with a view of human rights and peace from a variety of different cultures and beliefs. Further, students are recruited from many countries of the world (and nationals from more than 25 countries have graduated from our programs). Lecturers also come from all continents, again, with different disciplines and experiences. We use a team teaching approach and have invited guest speakers since such as Prof. Walden Bello (Economics), Dr. Ariel Heryanto (Sociology), Prof. Vitit Muntarbhorn (Law), Assoc.Prof. Peter Rosenblum (Law), Prof. Michelo Hansugule (Law), Prof. Morton Winston (Philosophy), Prof. Raj Kumar (Physics), and Ravi Nair (Literature).
     What is very important to us is that the students, lecturers, and research in the programs will put their knowledge into action. Many graduate students from the programs are activists for human rights and peace, for it is only through action that human rights are realized, and that peace is ensured.
     The interdisciplinary and international nature of the program offers a value-added not only to lecturers and students, but also to society at large. It enriches the learning and helps to create a wealth of knowledge which is not limited by field of expertise and specialization. It opens minds, which are usually fixed only on one’s own interest. It puts people into action in the struggle, advocacy, and understanding of human rights and peace.
     The Office of Human Rights and Social Development also arranges regular training courses, such as the Asian Thematic Workshop and the South East Asian Advanced Program on Human Rights, for government officials, academics, representatives of national human rights institutions and NGOs, especially those from the countries within Asia. The Office has also recently released the very first “Human Rights in Asia” monograph series comprising of 6 volumes, resulting mainly from the field research of students and colleagues.
For further information, contact: grspe@mahidol.ac.th or grsbc@mahidol.ac.th


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