Sunday 23 September, at 16.00 at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice (Italy), theceremony for the awarding of diplomas for the academic year 2011/2012 and the inauguration of the academic year 2012/2013 of the European Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation (E.MA) took place.
Along with the Venice School of Human Rights, the Venice Academy of Human Rights, and the Global Campus of of Master’s Programmes and Diplomas in Human Rights and Democratisation, the E.MA is one of the leading academic programmes carried out by the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC).
The notes of the “Ciaccona” for strings and harpsichord by Tarquino Merula performed by Interpreti Veneziani provided the fitting musical atmosphere to the solemn and impressive procession of the academic authorities (Rectors and Directors of the 41 European participating universities) in their capes and gowns while entering the Sala Superiore of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco.
The more than 450 guests from all over the world were captivated by the beautiful and huge paintings decorating the walls and ceilings of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco that hosts 65 of the most important masterpieces by Jacopo Tintoretto.
In his welcome message EIUC President, Prof. Horst Fischer, recalled the main achievements of EIUC –celebrating this year its 10th anniversary- and outlined some of the future challenges of the human rights profession.
The following senior executives of local government and European institutions also addressed the audience:
- the delegate of the Mayor of Venice Giorgio Orsoni, Councillor Bruno Filippini, who underlined the deep commitment of the City of Venice to the activities of EIUC through the shared objective to substantially develop the flourishing activities of the Human Rights Village, a global platform for events, exchange and interaction on topics of great relevance as issues relating to the linkages between human rights and democratisation;
- the EU Representative at the Council of Europe, Ambassador Luisella Pavan-Woolfe, who explained the links between the EU and the Council of Europe and stressed the need of the international community of disposing of skilled and trained personnel for h uman rights related interventions and projects such as E.MA graduates prove to be;
- the Head of Unit of the Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation (DEVCO) of the European Commission, Mr. Jean-Louis Ville, who underlined the continuous commitment of the EU towards EIUC, its activities and its endeavours, including the development of the EIUC Global Campus of Regional Masters.
Further proof of the ever innovative and collaborative spirit living inside EIUC marked the ceremony in San Rocco: the signature of the Framework Agreement between Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and EIUC for Collaborative Research Aimed at the Implementation of the “Joint Venice Statement on Strengthening Scientific Collaboration” signed on UNESCO World Science Day 2011.
The temperature of the room reached its zenith at the awarding of degrees introduced by the E.MA Programme Director, Dr. Angela Melchiorre, who –in this 15th E.MA anniversary- suggested an alternative interpretation of the delivery of degrees: to consider them less as a simple “award”, but rather more as a “reward” for the hard work of the students, professors, partner institutions and the families of all these prominent graduates entering the human rights job market.
In line with the inter- and multidisciplinary character of the human rights and democratisation activities carried out by EIUC, and of the E.MA Programme in particular, the 2012 Graduation Ceremony offered the international audience the opportunity to view the video reportage Time Lag, produced by the Italian photographer Patrizia Bonanzinga in Mozambique.
Because E.MA is much more than a mere academic programme but encompasses a global and important life-long experience made by human beings with their own cultural, language and social richness, the E.MAlumni Association launched its firstE.MActivism Prize for the student elected by his own colleagues for social relationships and pro-activity during the E.MA 2011/2012.
The Ode an die Freude by Ludwig van Beethoven echoed the official opening of the E.MA academic year 2012/2013 and closed the ceremony.