Human Rights MA provides innovative pathways to Latin America

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Students wanting to major in human rights in Latin America can now study on an innovative new Master’s pathway designed specifically for them.

This pathway through the MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights is the product of a fresh collaboration between the Institutes of Latin American Studies (ILAS) and Commonwealth Studies (ICwS), two of the institutes that make up the University of London’s School of Advanced Study (SAS), and the School’s Human Rights Consortium (HRC). The MA is the UK's longest-running interdisciplinary, practice-oriented human rights Master’s programme.

The pathway is a UK first and is set to start in October (2014). It will offer a rich variety of options for postgraduate students focusing specifically on the region of Latin America while pursuing their MA qualification.

With increased interest among graduates and others in working in the competitive field of human rights, a postgraduate degree is now a clear advantage, particularly for a career requiring regional understandings of human rights.

‘This new pathway will build on the MA’s strengths in offering specialist, practice-based, interdisciplinary human rights education,' said Dr Damien Short, Director of the Human Rights Consortium and Reader in Human Rights. 'It provides those seeking a career in the field with a more competitive edge.' 

‘We already have a strong core of world-leading academics undertaking research on various human rights issues in Latin America, from forced migration to indigenous people's rights and new social movements. This pathway, in collaboration with the renowned Institute of Latin American Studies, will enable students to take advantage of their knowledge to learn about emerging human rights issues at the forefront of the discipline. We are very much looking forward to welcoming our first cohort of students.’

Dr Malayna Raftopoulos, who will teach the modules on ‘Citizenship and New Social Movements in Latin America’ and ‘Human Rights and Everyday Life in Latin America’, said students will also be introduced to ‘the complexities of human rights issues in an extraordinarily diverse continent whose countries and populations have experienced histories of long and brutal dictatorships, extreme inequality and forced displacement.’

'This pathway offers students the opportunity to understand the power of Latin American social movements and civil society in resisting human rights violations and in reshaping the language of human rights to express and achieve their rights.’

For more information about the degree please contact: Chloë Pieters, (020 7862 8853, Chloë, School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Notes for editors:

1. For further information please contact Dee Burn at the School of Advanced Study, University of London at / 020 7862 8670.

2. The Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) was founded in 1965. Between 2004 and 2013 it formed part of the Institute for the Study of the Americas and occupies a unique position at the core of academic study of the region in the UK. Internationally recognised as a centre of excellence for research facilitation, it serves the wider community through organising academic events, providing online research resources, publishing scholarly writings and hosting visiting fellows. It possesses a world-class library dedicated to the study of Latin America and is the administrative home of the highly respected Journal of Latin American Studies. The Institute supports scholarship across a wide range of subject fields in the humanities and cognate social sciences and actively maintains and builds ties with cultural, diplomatic and business organisations with interests in Latin America.

3. The Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICwS) is the only postgraduate academic institution in the UK devoted to the study of the Commonwealth. Founded in 1949, its purpose is to promote interdisciplinary and inter-regional research on the Commonwealth and its member nations in the fields of history, politics and other social sciences. Its areas of specialism include international development, governance, human rights, north-south relations and conflict and security. It is also home to the longest running interdisciplinary and practice-oriented human rights MA programme in the UK. The Institute of Commonwealth Studies is a member institute of the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

4. The Human Rights Consortium, founded in 2009, brings together the multidisciplinary expertise in human rights found in several institutes of the School of Advanced Study, as well as collaborating with individuals and organisations with an interest in the subject. The main aim of the Consortium is to facilitate, promote and disseminate academic and policy work on human rights by holding conferences and seminars, hosting visiting fellows, coordinating the publication of high quality work in the field, and establishing a network of human rights researchers, policy-makers and practitioners across the UK and internationally, with a view to collaborating on a range of activities.

5. The School of Advanced Study, University of London (SAS) is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and support of research in the humanities. SAS and its member institutes offer unparalleled academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. In 2012-13, SAS: welcomed 833 research fellows and associates; held 2,231 research dissemination events; received 21.7 million visits to its digital research resources and platforms; and received 194,529 visits to its specialist libraries and collections. Find out more at or follow SAS on Twitter at @SASNews.

6. The University of London is a federal University and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the UK. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University is recognised globally as a world leader in Higher Education. It consists of 18 self-governing Colleges of outstanding reputation, together with a number of prestigious central academic bodies and activities. Learn more about the University of London at