Local Director of Raoul Wallenberg Institute Speaks at AUA2 min read
YEREVAN, Armenia — On November 21, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted Hanna Johnsson, director of the Armenia Programme of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI) of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and its Yerevan office. The event was held within the framework of the undergraduate General Education course Introduction to Human Rights taught by Dr. Arman Tatoyan, professor and interim chair of the AUA Master of Arts in Human Rights and Social Justice (MAHRSJ) program. Special appreciation is extended to Ms. Sharistan Melkonian, assistant professor and dean of AUA General Education, for her assistance in organizing the event.
In his introduction, Dr. Tatoyan highlighted Johnsson’s career, of more than 18 years, elaborating her experience and impact in policy dialogue and development cooperation within the domains of human rights and rule of law. The speaker’s rich international practice has positioned her as a valuable resource for students interested in the field worldwide.
At the start of her presentation, Johnsson engaged the students in a thought-provoking discussion on the significance of human rights and the mechanisms of advocacy. Drawing from her wealth of experience, she shared personal insights that inspired students, while challenging them to contemplate their roles in fostering a world where human rights are not only acknowledged, but also safeguarded. Johnsson then delved into the contemporary challenges that human rights defenders face, expanding on the practical implementations of human rights advocacy on both local and international levels.
Moreover, she explored the integration of human rights principles into legal reforms at the national level, providing specific examples relevant to the socio-political context of Armenia. Her analysis shed light into practical applications of the theoretical knowledge students have gained throughout the course, offering valuable insight into the transformative power of human rights in shaping legal frameworks.
Johnsson also enumerated the opportunities offered by the partnership between RWI and AUA. This information not only broadened the students’ understanding of potential avenues for growth and engagement, but also highlighted the Institute’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of human rights advocates.
The presentation was followed by a Q&A session, during which the students and Johnsson had the opportunity to expand on various points. In addition to reinforcing the key takeaways from the lecture, this segment also facilitated a lively exchange of ideas among the participants.
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.