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Academy Overview

Key Facts

Theme: Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights as an Answer to Rising Inequalities
Dates: Monday, 3 July - Wednesday, 12 July 2017
Deadline early bird:  15 March 2017
Application Deadline:  14 May 2017
Faculty: Olivier De Schutter, Wilfried Altzinger, Andreas Føllesdal, Dzidek Kędzia, Miloon Kothari, Branko Milanović, Manfred Nowak, Kate Pickett, Heisoo Shin
Academic responsible: Knut Traisbach
Participants: Academics, practitioners, PhD/JSD and master students
Type of courses: Lectures, seminars, discussion sessions and panel presentations
Number of hours: 34 hours
Venue: Monastery of San Nicolò, Venice - Lido, Italy


Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights as an Answer to Rising Inequalities

Instead of “the end of history”, we have lived through a major financial crisis, including a debt crisis in Europe that is far from over, and we are currently witnessing threats to democratic governance both from outside and from within the democratic system. Whether these are only temporary setbacks in the global spread of liberal democracy and neoliberal capitalism has to been seen. However, it is reason to pause and reconsider the prospects for economic and social justice against the background of rising inequalities in the world.

The Venice Academy of Human Rights 2017, in co-operation with PluriCourts – Centre of Excellence for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order, looks at these developments from an interdisciplinary perspective that combines law, economics, politics and sociology. Lectures and seminars by the distinguished faculty discuss the question what role do human rights play in enabling and promoting social justice. Are human rights an effective tool for the promotion of economic and social equality? Do human rights impose limits to privatization of particular goods and services? How do human rights enable a just economic and social order? These are but some of the questions that participants of the Academy will discuss in an intense programme over ten days next summer.


Faculty and Programme

Distinguished Opening Lecture

Branko Milanović, Visiting Presidential Professor at the Graduate Center City University of New York
Milanović’s main area of work is income inequality, in individual countries and globally, as well as historically, among pre-industrial societies (Roman Empire, Byzantium, and France before the Revolution). He has published a number of articles on the methodology and empirics of global income distribution and the effects of globalization (Economic Journal, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Economic Literature, Journal of Political Philosophy, among others). His new book, Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization (2016), addresses economic and political issues of globalization, including the redefinition of the “Kuznets cycles.” 


General Course

Olivier De Schutter, Professor at the University of Louvain (UCL) and at SciencesPo (Paris).
The lectures and the seminar will focus on the question of rising inequalities and economic, social and cultural rights. The sessions will address both social justice and global justice, challenging inequalities within countries and closing the gap between countries.

Wilfried Altzinger is Head of the Research Institute ‘Economics of Inequality’ and Deputy Head of the ‘Institute for Macroeconomics’ at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Wien). His main research topics are European Integration, Economic Policy and in particular on the Distribution of Income and Wealth. In 2014 he was (co-)organizer of the conference “Economics of Inequality”. Altzinger also has initiated the establishment of the “Special Collection of Kurt W. Rothschild and Josef Steindl” at the WU Wien. In 2014 he was visiting researcher at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School (Oxford, UK) by Tony Atkinson. Personal Homepage

Andreas Føllesdal Ph.D., Professor of Political Philosophy, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo. Principal Investigator, European Research Council Advanced Grant MultiRights 2011-16, on the Legitimacy of Multi-Level Human Rights Judiciary and Director of PluriCourts, a Centre of Excellence for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order. Ph.D. 1991 in Philosophy, Harvard University. Føllesdal publishes in the field of political philosophy, mainly on issues of international political theory, globalisation/Europeanisation, Human Rights, and Socially Responsible Investing.

Dzidek Kędzia, EIUC President, teaches International Human Rights law and Constitutional Law at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Poland), he is also the Polish national director for the European Masters in Human Rights and Democratization (E.MA), at the European Inter-University Centre for HumanRights and Democratization EIUC Venice. He is a member of the European Union’s research project “Fostering Human Rights Among European (external and internal) policies” FP7-Frame, a collaborative research project funded under the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Kate Pickett is Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York, and the University’s Champion for Research on Justice and equality; her research focuses on the social determinants of wellbeing.
She was a UK NIHR Career Scientist from 2007-2012 and is a Fellow of the RSA and of the UK Faculty of Public Health.  She is co-author, with Richard Wilkinson, of the bestselling The Spirit Level, winner of the 2012 Publication of the Year from the Political Studies Association, winner of the 2010 Bristol Festival of Ideas Book Prize, and translated into 24 languages.  Richard and Kate were awarded a 2013 Silver Rose Award from Solidar for championing equality and the 2014 Charles Cully Medal of the Irish Cancer Society.

Kate is also a co-founder and trustee of The Equality Trust. 

Heisoo Shin is member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and adjunct professor at the Graduate School of International Studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. She has been a lifelong advocate of the women’s human rights movement and has substantially contributed to the struggle to end violence against women. A trained sociologist from the Republic of Korea, she served as an expert on the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women from 2001-2008, and as a commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission in Korea from 2005-2008.

Miloon Kothari, former UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council (2000-2008) is an Independent Expert on Human Rights and Social Policy and President of UPR-Info based in New Delhi, India. He was a Vising Scholar with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 2013-2015. During his tenure as Special Rapporteur, Mr. Kothari led the process that resulted in the United Nations Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development based Evictions and Displacement – the current global operational human rights standard on the practice of forced evictions. An architect by training, Mr. Kothari has extensive fact-finding, research and training experience in the areas of housing, land rights and displacement.

Manfred Nowak is EIUC Secretary General, Professor of International Law and Human Rights - University of Vienna, Co-Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann institute of Human Rights (BIM) and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture (2004-2010). Head of the interdisciplinary research centre Human Rights at the University of Vienna since 2014, vice chair of the Management Board of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights in Vienna and Scientific Director of the Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights, University of Vienna, since 2012. During his mandate as E.MA Chairperson (2000-2007) E.MA master was awarded the 2006 UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education (Honourable Mention).


General Description

The Venice Academy of Human Rights is a centre of excellence for human rights education, research and debate. It forms part of the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) which is an internationally leading institution for research and education. The  Venice Academy provides an enriching forum for emerging ideas, practices and policy options in human rights research, education and training. The Academy hosts distinguished experts to promote critical and useful research, innovation and exchange of current knowledge.

The Academy offers international and interdisciplinary thematic programmes open to academics, practitioners, Ph.D./J.S.D. and master students from all over the world who have an advanced knowledge of human rights. Participants attend morning lectures, participate in discussion sessions and workshops and can exchange views, ideas and arguments with leading international scholars and experts. This includes the opportunity for a number of participants to present and discuss their own “work in progress” such as drafts of articles, chapters of books or doctoral theses and receive comments from faculty members and peers.

At the end of the programme, participants receive a Certificate of Attendance issued by the Venice Academy of Human Rights.


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