In July and August, academics from the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law had the pleasure of returning to Vietnam as part of our multi-year cooperative project with VNU School of Law to strengthen human rights education in Vietnam.

Our Director, Sarah Joseph, along with Deputy Director Joanna Kyriakis and Castan Centre Associates Heli Askola and Jean Allain, had the opportunity to travel to Hanoi to teach students undertaking a Masters in Human Rights at VNU School of Law. 

Working closely with our esteemed colleagues from VNU, Dr Ngo Minh Huong, Dr La Khanh Tung and Assoc Prof Giao Cong Vu, our academics developed engaging units that covered human rights, international humanitarian law, human rights and terrorism, humanitarian intervention, international criminal law, and regional human rights laws and mechanisms. Each class was designed to incorporate important gender equality, disability and social inclusion considerations, and encouraged critical analysis of current human rights frameworks and real-world cases.

Our academics adopted the innovative ‘flipped classroom’ approach which gave students the opportunity to actively discuss important contemporary human rights issues and collaborate on tasks, encouraged peer learning. VNU students adapted to and embraced the learning model throughout the units, showcasing an impressive understanding of human rights both within the context of the Asia-Pacific and further abroad. 

Both academics and students were fortunate to be able to learn from one another, exchanging expertise, ideas, and discussing possible solutions to some of the world’s most pressing human rights challenges. This included a lively discussion of a range of issues such as freedom of religion, the protection of refugees and asylum seekers, and human rights centric responses to terrorism. 

Our Castan Centre colleagues enjoyed the hospitality of the VNU academics and students. The usual social lunch with their VNU academic counterparts and the VNU students gave them all an opportunity to connect outside of the classroom. 

The delivery of these units brought to a conclusion the Human Rights Collaboration undertaken by the Castan Centre and VNU, a program which was made possible through the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs ‘Aus4Skills’ initiative.

The collaboration has been a great success, enabling the support of students’ learning and knowledge of human rights, the strengthening of VNU-SL’s Masters of Human Rights course, and the exchange of ideas and expertise between human rights professionals from Australia and Vietnam. Most importantly, the program has seen the development of a strong and enduring relationship with our overseas partner, as we all continue to advocate for the importance of human rights into the future. 

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