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The Straniak Academy for Democracy and Human Rights is a 14-day summer academy for advanced students and young graduates from EU, Western Balkan and Caucasus countries and has been held five times in Montenegro and once in Albania with two inter-missions since 2013. It was founded by Hannes Tretter in cooperation with Prof. Ivana Jelić (University of Podgorica) and will be continued in cooperation with Prof. Christina Binder (Bundeswehr University Munich) and Prof. Vasilka Sancin (University of Ljubljana) since 2019. The Academy bears the name of its main sponsor, the Hermann and Marianne Straniak Foundation (Sarnen, Switzerland).

The teaching staff of the Academy includes academics from the Vienna Forum for Democracy and Human Rights, teachers from partner universities and selected experts with relevant practical experience. The lecturers teach in tandem, with one lecturer from an EU member state and one from a Western Balkan country lecturing together, providing an exciting mix of lecture and discussion.

The focus of the Academy is on building bridges between university and practical education in the field of human rights, democracy and the rule of law through an interdisciplinary and interactive format. In addition to the basic training, current topics or topics of particular relevance to the region are addressed in each case.

The language of instruction is English. The Academy offers 30 to 35 study places, with a small contribution to the costs by the students.

The program covers a wide range of topics, from the development, significance and concepts of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, the principle of human dignity and the culture of human rights, the main international and European instruments and organizations, the rule of law mechanisms to enforce, guarantee and promote human rights, to current challenges and threats to these fundamental values of democratic societies.Furthermore, the program is devoted to important special topics, such as:

  • prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment,
  • prohibition of slavery and trafficking in human beings,
  • protection of personal freedom and the right to fair trial,
  • the fight against violence and corruption,
  • protection of privacy, individual self-determination and data protection,
  • freedom of expression, information and the media,
  • rights of women and children,
  • protection of ethnic minorities,
  • social, cultural and economic rights,
  • protection of the environment and the climate.

Whether the Corona pandemic will allow the Academy to be held in September 2021 will be decided this April and announced on this website.