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The Annual Oxford Human Rights Consortium

Utah-Oxford Student Forum

The Oxford Human Rights Consortium is a partnership between Oxford University and several US universities, three of which are PAC-12 schools, including the University of Utah. Each year a select group of Utah students participates in the week-long workshop at Oxford University in March on topics of peace, conflict, and human rights. Students stay at Hertford College and the workshop takes place at Merton College, which is one of the three oldest of Oxford colleges. To supplement their study, some evening sessions feature representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross, OXFAM, and Doctors without Borders to learn from them about their current efforts to protect civilians from violent conflict.

Deen Chatterjee of the S.J. Quinney College of Law who is a faculty director at the Oxford Consortium meets with the Utah students for study sessions for several weeks prior to the workshops and travels with the students as a member of the Consortium teaching team.

Each workshop concludes with a formal banquet, in which students get certificates of completion with Oxford logo. After coming back, students participate in a Public Forum on campus in which they share their experiences with the university community.

The University of Utah has plans for an expanded engagement with Oxford via the Consortium. Through the unique opportunity made available to the students in the Oxford workshops, the University is well-placed, thanks to the support of its faculty, administrators, and various units, in helping students in understanding and developing constructive solutions to today’s problems in such areas as human rights, global conflict, humanitarian aid, and peace building.

Co-sponsors of the U students for the Oxford Consortium are the Office for Global Engagement, Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at the David Eccles School of Business, Hinckley Institute of Politics, Honors College, S.J. Quinney College of Law, Tanner Center for Human Rights, and Tanner Humanities Center. One student sponsored by Westminster College is also invited to join the Utah group each year for the March seminar.

Students Experiences from Oxford Programs

Law students explore human rights after conflict at Oxford University

The world is integrating with accelerating speed–social, political and economic problems we once thought were thousands of miles away are beginning to affect each of us. Local problems are becoming global and global problems are haunting us on the local front.

With this backdrop, I was honored to participate in the week-long workshop of the 2018 Oxford Human Rights Consortium in March at Oxford University. Not only did it educate and inform us on the transnational concepts of justice and human rights, it also specifically offered space for participants to engage with local problems and local solutions in a manner which offered potential answers to shared global challenges.

I was one of four S.J. Quinney College of Law students selected to participate in this year’s workshop on Human Rights in Conflict and Peace Building. The others were 3L Walter Mason, 2L Clancey Henderson, and 1L Tim Nielsen. We stayed at Hertford College and the workshop took place at Magdalen College, which is one of the oldest of 37 Oxford colleges. The workshop concluded with—what felt like—a   regal medieval banquet where each participant was recognized and received a certificate of completion with the Oxford logo.

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Oxford Human Rights Consortium

The refugee crisis may seem far from the shores of our Great Salt Lake, but six Utes are about to travel to Thessaloniki to spend ten days working with refugees, staff and stakeholders to do their part in this humanitarian disaster. The “Refugee Policy and Global Ethics” work/study visit will be preceded by lectures and meetings in Geneva with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the International Organization for Migrants, among others, as part of a two-and-a-half week summer seminar organized by the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights.

The International Rescue Committee estimates that 62,000 refugees are stranded in Greece today, though more than a million refugees crossed into Europe in 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis. Many are housed in overflowing refugee camps with squalid conditions,  but one camp named Elpida, which means hope in Greek, has set out to create a new model; it is here where the summer Consortium cohort will conduct their service-learning.

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Comments from past participants (University of Utah):

"The Oxford workshop was a transformative experience that has dramatically impacted our perspectives on peace building and violent conflict."

- Nubia Pena (Law)

"This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend an intensive week with both passionate, bright and committed students, and some of the true luminaries in the field of human rights. I came home awed and inspired by the experience."

- Cheri Daily (MIAGE)

"The Consortium helped me to build a foundation of understanding of complex human rights issues that are generally avoided in the American classrooms."

- Catherine Marie Houser (International Studies and Health, Society, and Policy)

"The Consortium helped me critically think through the problems we face today and examine best practices in alleviating the suffering of others. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

- Kaitie Jowers (Political Science and Russian)

"Today I proudly carry the memories of this event as one of the best chapters of my life!"

- Milena Margaryan (Political Science and Finance)

"The Oxford Consortium has made a profound impact on my life. This opportunity has clarified my research, influenced me to take action, and opened my mind to a world of possibilities."

- Anastasia Najarian (Psychology and Public Relations)

"I came back with an expanded vision of human rights and peace-building in conflict."

- Alexis Jones (Law)

"Oxford is a magical place to learn, and gave us exposure to some of the preeminent voices in the human rights field. Discussing the intersection between business and human rights with the director of policy of the Red Cross is a learning experience I will never forget."

- Mackenzie Hales (Business)

Oxford Seminar Photo Galleries


March 2018
Photos of the Oxford Seminar, March 19-25, 2016
Photos of the Oxford-Belfast Workshops, June 24-July 6, 2016