Special Program in Human Rights

In this post I provide an example of the interdisciplinary studies that Stanford has to offer for an Aalto student, and tell my feelings about the program. (Sorry, it’s a bit long text, but that’s only cos of my enthusiasm; next time shorter :))

Last Sunday, in the welcoming session, I met the Associate Dean Patricia Brandt who is the Director of the international honors program. She told me that there are no other students in the Human Rights program, and that unfortunately they couldn’t organize the courses that were supposed to be organized in the program this year (Human rights and education, Liberation technology, Citizenship, Human rights in Iran). And she also explained that the Human Rights program will be well established next year (so no worries if you decide to apply for it ;D).

Then we decided to meet on Monday to arrange an individual special program in human rights just for me. I was extremely grateful for the Dean’s helpfulness in organizing my study program; she really gave a huge effort in building it. And, what is more, she even has a remarkable role during the program having weekly discussions with me about my development in human rights issues, and, she is even gonna take me to meet immigrant workers etc. I have to say: Wau! What an amazing person! She is the dean of the whole International honors program, and at the same time she wants the individual experiences to be as rich as possible!

Finally, the Human Rights program resulted to be the following:

• A Course in Introduction to International Relations (5 units = 8 to 10 ECTS). The course discusses reasons for war & peace, international trade issues, international environmental questions and poverty questions. The course is highly related to human rights issues on many points. In addition, I really enjoy the mandatory discussion sessions about the lecture topics; they really demand you to think about the subjects.

• A directed reading course on human rights (2 units = 3 to 4 ECTS). This course seems to be amazingly interesting! The ourse will discuss human rights issues profoundly and from two important angles (ethics & practice). Specially, I’m waiting for the discussion sessions with the professor – it is so great that there is going to be only me and the professor (and maybe 1 other student) pondering the human rights issues 😀

• An athletic course in tennis (1 unit = 1-2 ECTS). This course provides a nice balance to other studies, and with a sport I truly enjoy to play 🙂 In addition, Stanford is famous on educating a huge portion of the US Olympic winners, so it’s really interesting to see what the athletics courses are like!

• A journal of my experiences on pursuing a better understanding in Human rights. This journal works for self development and as a background for weekly discussions with the Dean. I bet these discussions are fruitful as well!

• Three seminars
• Dinner with Abbas Malani, expert on Human Rights
• Small public service project (10 hours)
• Serving a meal at Glide Memorial
• Meeting migrant workers in Salinas with the Dean

I’m full of enthusiasm about the study program we planned for me! It’s just so great to study something totally different for a while!

Sunny greets,
Miika