Twelve Zayed University students complete human rights training in Geneva


April 6, 2014

Twelve students from Zayed University (ZU) of the United Arab Emirates have completed their training programme at the Geneva Centre in “Human Rights and Global Dialogue”. As Geneva Centre graduate Maha Al Huseini explains, “The intensive programme involved lectures, debates, and interactive dialogue with a number of United Nations experts and human rights academics” including Professor Jean Ziegler, a Member of the Advisory Committee to the United Nations Human Rights Council, and Kamelia Kemileva, executive manager at the Geneva Academy.

At the closing ceremony, Geneva Centre Chairman Dr Hanif Al Qassim thanked Zayed University for their continuous commitment to promoting and protecting human rights through education, and noted that “investing in the education of young women is one of the most effective ways towards developing of societies.” Obaid Al Zaabi, ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, expressed his admiration for the way in which the Geneva Centre programme had been conducted, and for the responsiveness of the students involved.

The graduation ceremony held to recognize the achievements of the trainees was attended by the permanent representatives of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Palestine, Libya, Morocco, the UAE, and Romania, as well as representatives from non-governmental organizations including Diplo Foundation and the Geneva Welcome Centre, along with University of Geneva and senior Swiss officials and representatives from the Swiss ministry of foreign affairs.

Maria Coibanu, the ambassador of Romania to the United Nations in Geneva, reflected that the programme represented an important step in promoting equal access to education across genders, and offered her assistance and the Geneva network of ambassadors for the delivery of future programmes aimed at advancing the status of women across the world. Anastasia Outkina, a delegate from International Geneva and head of the NGO service, added that the Centre was “very impressive in its delivery of such high calibre programmes within just a few months of its establishment”. 

Sleiman El Sheikh, the ambassador of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to the United Nations in Geneva, commended the Centre for its initiatives in promoting human rights through women’s empowerment, and expressed his hope that “the Middle East can promote its good practices to the world, while promoting human rights and maintaining cultural traditions”.

Abdullah Nasser Al Rahbi, the ambassador of Oman to the United Nations in Geneva, congratulated the Centre on its work and reflected on the importance of “translating the textbook theory of human rights into meaningful practice, by meeting with United Nations practitioners as well as academics and experts”.

Faisal Bin Hassan Trad, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations in Geneva, commented that his government “welcomes the contribution of Zayed University and the UAE to educating and empowering women, and looks forward to future cooperation in the field of human rights with the Centre”.

Several students expressed that the course had placed their academic understanding in a context of practical application, and expressed their desire to return to the Geneva Centre to undertake internships and training in human rights and to acquire further exposure to the interaction of the international arena reiterating their willingness to invest what they have accumulated for the best interest of their society.