The UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Human Security was established at the University of Graz in 2016 to strengthen interdisciplinary teaching, research, academic cooperation and outreach in human rights and human security. After successful evaluation, the Chair was renewed by UNESCO in 2020 for the period 2020-2024. The UNESCO Chair is located at the European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy at the University of Graz and cooperates closely with the International Centre for Human Rights at the Local and Regional Levels under the auspices of UNESCO, established 2020 in Graz. The Chair supports UNESCO’s objectives of life-long learning and human rights education as a means to promote global citizenship, create inclusive societies and foster peace and stability. The Chair is active in teaching human rights and strengthens the University’s capacity in interdisciplinary research in human rights and human security within the research areas of the University of Graz. Its establishment expresses the commitment of the University of Graz to human rights, advances international academic cooperation and supports the activities of the city of Graz, the first European human rights city.
Gerd Oberleitner is Professor of International Law and Director of the European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy at the University of Graz. He served as Legal Adviser in the Human Rights Department of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, was Executive Director of the European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Graz and Lecturer in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He was Visiting Fellow at the LSE’s Centre for the Study of Human Rights, at the European Inter-University Centre in Venice and the Université du Quebéc à Montréal, Visiting Professor at Rutgers University and the Universities of Prishtina and Ljubljana and DAAD Visiting Professor at the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict at the University of Bochum. He is National Director of the European Master's Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation and teaches in the Global Campus of Regional Human Rights Master Programmes. He is co-editor of the European Yearbook of Human Rights and co-editor of the publication series Human Rights Go Local. Publications include Global Human Rights Institutions: between Remedy and Ritual (Polity 2007), Human Rights in Armed Conflict: Law, Practice, Policy (Cambridge University Press 2015), Blurring Boundaries: Human Security and Forced Migration (as co-editor, Brill 2017) and (as editor) Human Rights Institutions, Tribunals and Courts (Springer 2018).
The University Twinning and Networking (UNITWIN)/UNESCO Chairs Programme is a network of 800 higher education institutions in 116 countries. It promotes international inter-university cooperation and networking to enhance institutional capacities through knowledge sharing and collaborative work. Through the programme, higher education and research institutions worldwide pool their resources to address pressing challenges and contribute to the development of their societies. The network represents the combined power of brilliant minds from around the world to create sustainable solutions for today’s challenges and to think ahead of the future. The programme plays a key role by offering ideas, innovation, knowledge, information and support for achieving all of the Sustainable Development Goals which are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.