Plönlein framed by the Siebers and Kobolzeller towers. Foto: Olha Kuzmyn
The calendar says it’s April, the uni-website says it’s the beginning of summer semester… I say it’s time to travel! There are a lot of places nearby suitable for a one-day-trip, even if your budget is limited. With our Basiskarte you can travel within the whole VGN area on the weekends absolutely free of charge. If you’ve already been to Nuremberg, Weißenburg or Bamberg and know of no other place worth your attention, here is an idea – Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This small and cozy medieval city can be truly proud of its almost 1.000 year history, authentic architecture, and real Franconian atmosphere. The name of the city means “Red Fort on the River Tauber” and you can still visit this fort, which is located within a ten-minute walk of the railway station. The old part of the city is surrounded by old city walls (open for walking!) and contains dozens of mini-treasures from the previous centuries, for example:
The Town Hall
The Town Hall is situated on the Market Square, in the heart of the old town. Through its main entrance you can reach the Town Hall Tower and climb 220 steps to its viewing platform. The whole trip costs only 2 euros and guarantees beautiful cityscapes with old red-tiled rooftops.
„I had an opportunity to move to Germany and was interested in human rights.“ Gretel Mejía from Guatemala. Photo: Olha Kuzmyn
Students from the Master’s program in Human Rights are as diverse as it can get, and this is one of their biggest strengths. Each of them had own reasons for coming here and has brought rich experience from different fields to share it with others. Today, let me introduce Gretel Mejía, a student from Guatemala who began her Master’s degree in 2015/16.
Hi, Gretel! We’ve already heard some thoughts about human rights, but what does this concept mean to you?
Gretel: Apart from the general meaning of the entitled rights that we have as human beings, for me it’s a valuable tool that you can use to battle oppression, injustice, and inequality, especially in the countries with a diverse population. It is a right to dignity that you have as a person irrespectively of your age, race, gender, legal status, or other conditions. These are not only tools useful for scholars or lawyers and political scientists but also for common citizens. Altogether, human rights are the empowerment mechanism to achieve your goals.
P. Blaise Bess from the USA is one of the many international students in the Master’s program Human Rights at FAU. Photo: Olha Kuzmyn
You could probably write a whole book consisting only of stories about students from the Master’s program in Human Rights. Each of them has brought their own unique experience, knowledge from different fields and inspiring ideas for their future careers and society in general. Today let me introduce P. Blaise Bess, an Attorney at Law and a Juris Doctor from the USA, who began his Master’s degree in WS 2015/16.
Hello, Blaise! What brought you to the field of human rights?
Blaise: Back in college I had a mentor, Prof. Felice, who was an expert in international global human rights and who got me interested in the whole field. Originally I started with a major in political science, but further concentrated on international human rights, and in the end received a major in International Global Affairs.
After the college I knew that the best way to get into the human rights field would be through law. In law school it was more difficult to focus on human rights, because the Union of Lawyers in the United States mainly focuses on your accreditation by the Bar Association to be able to practice in any legal field, human rights being just one of many. After the law school I could do public service work or, quite ironically, go into military law. At that time the US Army was recruiting general officers, so I applied for it. As a part of this program, I was trained to become a lawyer for the military, including studying laws of an armed conflict, which is most often associated with human rights law. So after the training, the US Armed Forces assigned me to Germany, where I’ve spent about 4 years with the US army working on different cases starting with the law of an armed conflict and training to investigation up to the prosecution of war crimes. The training and experience I received were very valuable for me, but I still wanted to work more in the field of human rights.
First impressions of the evening. Photo: Olha Kuzmyn
If the deadline for your term paper is yesterday; if you think that “tomorrow will be another day” or “I can simply skip one night of sleep”; if your thesis statement says “People read books/eat food”, you probably should visit The Long Night of Postponed Papers. The Long Night of Postponed Papers (Lange Nacht der aufgeschobenen Hausarbeiten) was initiated by the Writing Center of the Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) on March 18, 2010. What at first looked rather like a small workshop with around 25 participants turned into a new trend among German universities. On March 2, 2017, our university took part in this movement as well and invited all students to the main library for a number of mini-lectures, workshops, personal advice, and a few snacks 😉
The idea of such an event is to provide students with general information about writing process (how do I start writing and what to do next), citing rules (how to use Citavi), editing (how to proofread my work and what to do with grammar), and style (how to find and stick to the main theme of the paper). For international students there were workshops about writing a paper in German as well as personal advice on papers written in English. The doors of our library were open from 4 p.m. till 1 a.m., and I must say that at 8 p.m. there were still many students queueing for a personal advice. Every now and then an “active break” with yoga or “power nap” was organized. Of course, no one can be productive without any ‘fuel’, which was provided by the cafeteria on the third floor and the café-bar. Finally, and most importantly, you could start writing your paper right away after getting the advice or workshop because you still were in the library full of books and computers!