By Marius Smith
Today, a new video is being released detailing our collaboration with the Vietnam National University (VNU) to strengthen human rights education in Vietnam. The program, which commenced early this year, has recently been extended and enlarged due to its success.
Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through its Aus4Skills program, the Castan Centre’s staff is working collaboratively with staff from VNU’s School of Law to develop a world-class human rights masters program.
“Since spending time on the ground in Hanoi, we’ve come to appreciate the commitment of the VNU academics to human rights education, and to improving Vietnam’s human rights situation through education. They are one of the key groups working towards a stronger human rights culture in their country”, said Castan Centre Deputy Director and the project’s team leader, Dr Julie Debeljak.
Using a “global to local” approach, students are able to investigate human rights in the Vietnamese context and compare Vietnam’s record to that of other countries. Meanwhile, the academics exchange ideas not just on human rights but also on innovative teaching methods.
During the project’s first phase, two VNU academics – Dr Vu Cong Giao and Dr La Khanh Tung – spent time in Australia. The two academics met with Monash Law academics and visited a range of human rights and government institutions in Sydney and Melbourne and came away with many ideas for improving human rights. “Twenty years ago, it was so difficult for us to do human rights research and education”, says Dr Vu in the video. “Human rights is a very new area in Vietnam and [the program] improves our capacity in terms of not only teaching methods but also knowledge”.
In the second phase, Monash and VNU staff will collaborate on delivering a further four human rights masters units, and another four VNU staff members will visit Australia to exchange ideas.
The program is part of a wider engagement between Vietnam and Australia on human rights, and our academics will also be attending the annual human rights dialogue between the two nations in Hanoi at the end of this month. “We hope to use the opportunity to showcase how collaboration and coordination can create a human rights culture” said Castan Centre Director, Professor Sarah Joseph, who will also talk at a human rights conference in Da Nang.
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