Haifa Rashed - Assistant National Officer, Unison

After graduating from the MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights, I worked for Alternatives to Violence Project Britain, a volunteer-run conflict transformation programme. I then spent a year at the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva working on their Human Rights and Refugees programme. I also continued to work with the Human Rights Consortium as a Research Associate, and my work has been published in The International Journal of Human Rights, The Journal of Holy Land and Palestine Studies and Medicine, Conflict and Survival.

When I returned from Geneva, I was a Research Assistant at the London School of Economics (LSE) Gender Institute on the Politics section of the 2015 LSE Commission on Gender Inequality and Power. I am now working as an Assistant National Officer in the Equalities directorate of UNISON, the UK’s second largest trade union.

I am extremely grateful to this MA programme for giving such an interdisciplinary approach and for all the opportunities it has opened up to me since I graduated. Human rights intersects with so many different sectors, and my subsequent peace, academic and equalities work are all heavily grounded in my human rights training gained by completing this unique MA.

Jenny Rosenberg - Head of Campaign Activism, Friends of the Earth

I first heard about the Masters course while working for the Human Rights programme at the Quaker UN Office in Geneva. I was attracted to this course because of its practical nature and the hands-on training that it provides. My Masters dissertation focused on access to healthcare for asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants in the UK, which I was able to continue working on with Doctors of the World UK once the Masters had finished. From there I went on to work with the Race Equality Foundation in their health team looking particularly at how changes to the NHS would impact BME communities and working with the Department of Health to try and promote greater equality in the healthcare system. When this role finished I went out to Brussels to work with Friends of the Earth on corporate justice issues. I am now working for the Friends of the Earth office in London as an Activism Impact Coordinator, focusing primarily on community renewable energy projects across the UK.

Lucy Gregg - Senior Policy Advisor, Freedom from Torture

I lead Freedom from Torture’s advocacy to improve legal and policy protections for torture survivors in the UK as asylum applicants and refugees. I do this by drawing on evidence from Freedom from Torture’s clinical service provision, research and legal and welfare advice service. One of the main aspects of my role is managing important relationships with the Home Office and other government departments responsible for public policy affecting torture survivors. One particularly rewarding element of my role involves working with torture survivors through a survivor-led activist network which Freedom from Torture hosts called 'Survivors Speak Out'. By drawing on their lived experience of torture and seeking protection through asylum, survivors seek to influence decision-makers and raise public awareness of the challenges facing survivors trying to rebuild their lives in the UK. Its been exciting supporting this network to develop up their ideas and provide avenues in parliament and with politicians through which they can have a voice. Without the MA I wouldn’t have been able to demonstrate the social research skills and policy understanding required for the role.

Gabriella Wass - Ethical Trade Executive, Primark

After graduating, I completed another qualification in International Conflict Resolution Skills which, like my MA, I linked to business practice and human rights. I am now in India and about to start a research job focusing on the best and worst practices of the largest infrastructure and real estate companies in India. This will lead to a report outlining the social issues (human rights, pollution etc) that they need to be cognisant of; this report would be for the international funds who enable these projects to take place.

Saiqa Ali - Head of Partnerships, Charity Right and Chief Executive Officer, Southern Women’s Aid Network (SWAN)

Whilst studying at ICwS I worked on a project (Mum’s, Bumps and Babies) during an internship at the Refugee Council and identified the isolation and lack of support available to many women. Although there are many organisations that provide help and support to women; there are few that offer a space in which women can communicate and gain empowerment through effective communication, information and personal development. After completing the MA and building on what I had learnt on the course and at the Refugee Council I decided that I wanted to formalise the work I have been doing in my local community for the last five years. I have helped many marginalised women and families who are vulnerable and marginalised from a variety of different backgrounds. Therefore, in November 2010 I started my own women’s group: Linking Bridges, with a group of my fellow ICwS students and friends. Linking Bridges is committed to empowering women; encouraging diversity and envisaging integration. Thus far Linking Bridges has been funded by the NHS and successfully completed a project to raise awareness in the Urdu speaking community of the HPV vaccination to prevent cervical cancer.  Linking Bridges is now an established community group, working towards being a registered charity by the end of 2012. We are listed on Wandsworth’s Voluntary Organisation directory and are working on projects in the UK and abroad.  We are linked with a women’s group in London and are working with them on a project for a soup kitchen for homeless people in Victoria, London. We are working in conjunction with the Refugee Council on holding ‘Health and Wellbeing’ coffee mornings fortnightly for Refugee women in September 2011. We are also establishing links with a women’s group in Palestine and a women’s group and orphanage in Pakistan. In recognition of the work I have been doing on Linking Bridges and in my community I am in the process of being filmed for a television programme about inspirational Muslim women throughout history and today. 

I also work as a Project Officer for the National Deaf Children’s Society. NDCS is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for all deaf children and young people. In the last 15 years, NDCS has run a number of time-limited projects which have sought to address the information and support needs of families of deaf children from BME communities. Whilst these different projects have been successful and achieved their aims, they have also all identified that BME families continue to face barriers in accessing NDCS’s support services. I am working on a new project across London to overcome the barriers faced by BME families and improve access to the services that NDCS provides.

Angela Huddleston - Deputy Country Director for Programs (Syria), International Rescue Committee

Since I graduated from the MA programme in 2010, my work has taken me around the world, with a focus to humanitarian and development work. I am currently based in Turkey, where I am the Deputy Coordinator for the ‘NGO Forum for NGOs operating in northern Syria.’ My work with the NGO Forum involves developing and implementing a joint advocacy strategy, including coordinating the Advocacy Working Group, as well as engaging with Syrian diaspora and local NGOs to ensure their particular perspective is integrated into any decisions taken by the NGO Forum, UN, Donors, etc.

I moved to Turkey from Kenya, where my work focused on programme development, donor reporting and communications with GOAL, an Irish NGO. Prior to my 18 months in Kenya, I lived for about 2 years in post-earthquake Haiti, working mostly on NGO programme monitoring & evaluation and donor reporting with World Vision and Tearfund.

The MA in Human Rights was an immense benefit to all of the work that I have been doing since 2010, particularly due its inter-disciplinary focus. Theoretical and legal knowledge provided me with a solid foundation of concepts, principles, and laws that I have been able to apply in my work in Turkey, Kenya and Haiti. The practical module, which was what initially attracted me to the MA, was particularly useful in improving my skills and abilities in fundraising, project cycle management, advocacy and the rights-based approach to development. Practical understanding of all of these topics has been essential to any success I have had in my work with humanitarian and development agencies. 

Jacqui Stevenson - Advocacy and Programme Manager, ATHENA Network

I graduated from the MA in 2010, having focussed on HIV throughout the course and in my dissertation, which explored the role of human rights in the global HIV response. I am now the Lead for Research and Analysis at the ATHENA Network, an international organisation working to advance gender equity and human rights in the global response to HIV. I manage the LEARN project, a participatory research and advocacy project promoting effective HIV prevention for adolescent girls and young women, funded under the DREAMS Initiative, as well as working on other research and advocacy projects on gender, sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV. I am also a PhD candidate at the University of Greenwich. My thesis explores the health and social cares needs of older women living with HIV in London, using feminist and assets-based approaches and participatory methods. From 2010 to 2014, I worked for the African Health Policy Network, an organisation campaigning to improve the health of African people in the UK, with a focus on HIV, in roles covering community engagement, policy and research, eventually becoming Head of Policy and Acting CEO. I am a Trustee of the Sophia Forum, a UK organisation promoting the rights of women living with HIV, and for STOPAIDS, the network of UK agencies working since 1986 to secure an effective global response to HIV and AIDS.