MA Human Rights 2009-10
Rebecca Vincent, MA Human Rights 2009-10.
After working as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. State Department for three and a half years, I decided to pursue a Master’s in Human Rights to broaden and strengthen my knowledge of the field, and to help me transition from government work to the non-profit sector.
I completed the MA Human Rights at UCL from 2009-2010. During that time, I also began working for ARTICLE 19, a London-based freedom of expression organisation. My role there largely focused on Azerbaijan, a country where I had worked with the State Department. In particular, I coordinated the International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan, a coalition of international NGOs working to promote freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.
In 2012, I moved back to Azerbaijan, and later left ARTICLE 19 to work directly with local human rights NGOs, primarily the Human Rights Club. In December 2012, I helped launch Art for Democracy, a vibrant and creative campaign that used all forms of art to promote democracy and human rights in Azerbaijan. The campaign launch led to the illegal revocation of my Azerbaijani residence permit, and I have not been able to return to the country since.
I have continued to work on Azerbaijan from abroad, as the Advocacy Director of the Human Rights Club until 2014, and currently as Coordinator of the Sport for Rights campaign, a coalition of international NGOs working to draw attention to the human rights situation in Azerbaijan in the context of sporting events such as the inaugural European Games, which was held in Baku in June 2015.
At the same time, I have published extensively on human rights issues in Azerbaijan for media outlets such as Al Jazeera English, Index on Censorship, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Foreign Policy Centre, a London-based think tank where I am a Research Associate. I am also a frequent commentator on human rights issues in Azerbaijan on social media networks.
My studies at UCL have proven valuable so many times, both on a practical level and more philosophically, firmly grounding my belief that human rights matter and are worth fighting for everywhere, for everyone. I will continue to draw from this experience throughout my career.