» Archive for category: ‘Alumni Updates


On Human Rights Day, 10th December we may spare a thought for those Alumni working in Conflict areas.

10 December is also National Victims Day in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, not all our Alumni go on to have an easy life, or can focus on their careers. Those who live in conflict zones may have more pressing priorities. When he was studying at ISS, Hadi Marifat was a TEDx speaker in The Hague Peace Palace in 2013.  He sends this report from Afghanistan:

HadiAs US and international troops reduce their direct military role in Afghanistan, and remain behind for some more years to ‘ assist and advise’ the national forces, alumni, Hadi Marifat (Human Rights, Gender and Conflict Studies, 2012-2013) reports on how some NGOs have tried to work to protect civilians in Afghanistan.  As reported in the media, suicide attacks have increased in Kabul in recent months. Though no-one was hurt this time, windows in the offices where Hadi works were recently shattered. More

ShubhraWe are pleased to announce that Shubhra Pachouri (ISS alumna in Human Rights, Development and Social Justice, HDS 2007-08) was  appointed as an Additional District Judge by the High court of Chhattisgarh.

We warmly congratulate Shubra on this wonderful accomplishment!

It has been almost a year and a half after ISS. Life after ISS has been busy but exciting.

While at ISS, 2010 – 2011, I pursued a Masters of Arts degree in Development Studies, specializing in Human Rights, Development and Social Justice (HDS). My thesis was titled: Safe motherhood in Kiteto district, what does it mean in the umbrella of women’s reproductive rights?

All along my career path, my interests have been in the health and human rights issues, and particularly in maternal health issues. After ISS, I joined a research project, which is carried out by Harvard School of Public Health here in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I am currently a research coordinator for the Program on the Health Rights of Women and Children (HRWC). I am responsible for coordinating a study titled Impact of Maternal Deaths on Living Children.

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Interview with Samuel Kofi Woods, alumnus of the ISS diploma programme in International Law and Organization for Development (ILOD)

= = =

“I do not accept gifts”

Translated from the original, Dutch version published in One World March 2013, Vol. 2

Samuel Kofi Woods is a minister in the cabinet of the Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. But his past is as an activist. Africa correspondent Bram Posthumus speaks with his old friend, who is tipped to be Liberia’s new president.

Text: Bram Posthumus

Photos: Martin Waalboer

Samuel Kofi Woods is neither a member of a political party nor does he come from a well-off background. These are normally the two things one needs in order to become a minister. He was born in a poverty-stricken, seemingly hopeless neighbourhood in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. One naturally becomes an activist there. I met him for the first time in 1998, in a small, very hot and stuffy office in the centre of the heavily-damaged Liberian capital of Monrovia. The civil war had just ended. Charles Taylor, the leader of the largest group of fighters in that war, had become president. There was no electricity, nowhere in the country was there electricity.

The office where we met belonged to the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, which Woods (48) had helped to establish. His team documented the atrocities of the war. But they also politely asked for clarifications of the massacres that kept on taking place during the presidency of Taylor. This was what our conversation was about at the time. Fast forward fourteen years, and Woods is Minister of Public Works. In that position, he is responsible for the reconstruction of Liberia, which slowly but steadily continues.

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Suharto (HDS Alumni 2010) received an Australia Leadership Award Scholarship, funded by AusAID (Australian Agency for International Development) that has given him the opportunity to continue his studies in Australia and maintain his leadership activities. He has just commenced his program towards a doctoral degree at Griffith University Logan Campus, Queensland in Australia, supported by Pat Dorsett and Pim Kuipers. In this path he will continue to focus on civic-state interactions. In this research, he will examine interactions between NGO’s, community-based rehabilitation programmes and local government policies.

Politics of the Vote “Yes” Campaign: Prognosis of Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Referendum (Edited Version)

Gift Mwonzora

Democratic constitution making is critical to the strength, acceptability, and legitimacy of the final product.” (Julius Ivonhbere).

The Constitution Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC), the body responsible for authoring the Zimbabwean constitution, took close to 4 years to produce a consolidated draft constitution. The draft charter came at a total cost of USD 50 million.  In justifying such huge sums of money from both the government and the donor world, the politicians argued that democracy is expensive. It took many years of political haggling and intense debate over the contents and wording of the text to be included in the constitutional draft.

The three political parties in the Government of National Unity (GNU) in Zimbabwe, namely ZANU PF, MDC-T and MDC-N, recently agreed on a constitutional draft. This means that the draft charter with all its imperfections will now go for a Referendum slated on the 16th of March 2013. However, some have viewed the constitution draft as resembling the ‘good, bad and the ugly’. The referendum will give citizens the opportunity to endorse or reject the draft by voting for or against it. It seems from the look of things that Zimbabweans will turn out in their numbers to vote for an overwhelming ‘YES’ Vote. However, there are a number of possible scenarios as Zimbabweans go for the referendum.

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Constitution Making Process in Zimbabwe: A Human Rights Perspective (Personal Reflections)

By Gift Mwonzora (HDS Alumnus 2010/11)

In October 2009, Zimbabwe found itself preparing for a nation-wide constitution outreach consultation process in a bid to come up with a new ‘people driven constitution’. This came as a result of the fact that Zimbabwe had entered into a coalition (inclusive government) which was brokered by the then South African President Thabo Mbeki as the mediator. In accordance with the transitional agreement that was signed between the three political parties involved – namely ZANU PF,MDC-T and MDC – the need was expressed for  a ‘new home grown  people driven’ constitution ‘by the people’ ‘for the people’. Like the South African model, a Select Committee known as (COPAC)[1] composed of an equal number of legislators drawn from all the political parties represented in parliament was established and tasked to lead the constitution review process.

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International Institute of Social Studies

Human Rights is a specialization within the Human Rights, Conflict and Gender Studies MA Major in Development Studies. This blog provides a platform for discussion for researchers, students and others interested in this field of studies. The blog is administered by the Human Rights teaching team.