17 December 2021
In this interview, Jean-Paul Nizigiyimana, currently enrolled in our Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ), tells us about his background, the programme and what it will bring to his career.
I am Jean-Paul, and I come from Burundi – a beautiful country of a thousand hills in East Africa. I am married to Claudia Munyengabe, a skilful theatre writer and actress. With her, God blessed us with a now two-month daughter, Selah Ningabe.
Having grown up amid an inter-ethnic crisis in my country, I joined the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the Université du Lac Tanganyika in my country, with the objective to contribute to sustainable peace in Burundi. While studying at the university, I trained more than 500 university students on the topics of ‘Etat-Nation et Démocratie’ for the Ndakunda Uburundi (I love Burundi) movement.
After my studies, I worked as a research assistant on local governance dynamics following a conflict, then as a media hate speech analyst at the La Benevolencija-Burundi, and lastly as a trainer, researcher, and project lead on the bottom-up approaches in transition societies at Impunity Watch in Burundi. During these years, I developed critical skills on consolidated theories of conflict and the management of wounded memories.
Currently, and thanks to the scholarship I received to study at the Geneva Academy, I can acquire other tools to accompany transitions while also sharing my experiences with fellow students.
In my life, when time and means allow, I like travelling to learn how our diversity – different beliefs, colours, and cultures – is the most beautiful thing our world can ever have.
The programme coincides perfectly with my knowledge gaps in the fields of transitional justice, human rights, and rule of law. Its multidisciplinary nature and the fact that it brings students from different countries and backgrounds is also a strong asset.
To be honest, it feels like we are travelling to different conflict zones, struggling to resolve difficult legacies while sitting in the classroom.
This is more than a regular class: it is a space where students' experiences – from different countries/regions and cultures – are being shared in the in-depth understanding of each course.
I would highly recommend it: it is a transitional justice programme that challenges and transforms students to become peacebuilders. It prepares students to be strong peaceful leaders, refraining from every form of using violence for a better world.
In my country, the most educated people are not informed about the international legal framework of conflict resolution. To contribute to this, I plan to produce research articles, blogs and give courses in some universities. Later on, I would like to create peace clubs in high schools to constantly share and transmit this knowledge.
For me, the sculptors of the reformation's fathers (interesting history to learn) on this wall, show the humanity of Geneva in valuing the contributions of foreigners in the building and development of the city.
WWHenderson20 via Wikimedia Commons
Dr Yosuke Nagai is the founder and CEO of Accept International, which works on de-radicalization and reintegration for defectors and prisoners formerly involved with violent extremist groups. He just started as Visiting Fellow at the Geneva Academy and will stay with us until the end of March.
The Geneva Academy has been granted leave by the European Court of Human Rights to intervene as a third-party – along with 26 governments – in the Inter-State case Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia
Geneva Cities Hub
This side event at the UN Habitat Assembly in Nairobi will discuss how local and regional governments localize the SDGs and fulfil human rights on the ground and their increased international visibility through the UPR.
This event, co-organized with Amnesty International, will discuss the gains made since the UDHR adoption, challenges to the international normative framework on human rights and what the international community needs to do for a better future.
UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré
This training course will explore the origin and evolution of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and its functioning in Geneva and will focus on the nature of implementation of the UPR recommendations at the national level.
This training course will explore the major international and regional instruments for the promotion of human rights, as well as with their implementation and enforcement mechanisms; and provide practical insights into the different UN human rights mechanisms pertinent to advancing environmental issues and protecting environmental human rights defenders.
Olivier Chamard/Geneva Academy
The GHRP Briefings provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss the results of the United Nations (UN) Treaty Body (TB) 2020 Review and practical ways to implement change.
This project facilitated a multistakeholder consultative process to identify knowledge gaps, generate new evidence and co-design evidence-based tools to support regulatory and policy responses to human rights challenges linked to digital technologies.