The fourth Straniak Academy for Democracy and Human Rights took place from 4 to 17 September 2016 in Ulcinj, Montenegro.
The Straniak Academy was again a great success. The two weeks programme not only offered high quality academic education on human rights, democracy and rule of law but also the chance to meet international experts and students from different countries, create networks and strengthen European values.
Twenty nine students and twenty three lecturers took part in the Academy. Due to the fact that the Academy is based on a cooperation between the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights and the Faculty of Law in Vienna on one side and the Faculties of Law and Political Science in Montenegro, on the other side, the participants came mainly from Austria and Montenegro, or the Western Balkan region in general (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia).
The lectures were given in form of tandem-teaching by lecturers with different academic and regional backgrounds, providing a different perspectives of each topic. The programme was divided into five main parts: I. Introduction including lectures on concepts & standards, strengths & weaknesses of modern democracies or the reality of democracy, rule of law and human rights in Western Balkan States; II. United Nations and the OSCE, III. Council of Europe, IV. European Union, V. Selected Human Rights issues such as freedom of expression, independence and pluralism of the media as preconditions for a living democracy or data protection and access to information, to name just a few.
The Academy dealt also with the current refugee drama in form of a role-play, simulating diplomatic negotiations between several states, the European Commission and the UNHCR. Also a podium-discussion took place on the topic “Are civic movements and social media shaping a new power within contemporary democratic societies?” providing an insight into the recent civic movements in the Western Balkan region, in especially Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Straniak Academy team is looking forward to the next Academy and would like to thank the Straniak Foundation, the Central European Initiative - CEI, the Association for Social Justice (Verein für Soziale Gerechtigkeit) and all sponsors and partners of the Academy!