Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation
The 2023 Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation is fully booked.
The Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation is a worldwide 2-week programme of coursework and hands-on learning for law students and legal practitioners held in the heart of Europe at the University of Lucerne, Faculty of Law, in Switzerland, in partnership with several distinguished international law schools. The main topic of this year’s Summer School is “Business and Human Rights”.
Participants are given the chance to learn the theoretical and trial skills necessary to prepare for a career in defending human rights. Students will not only learn about the field of human rights, but also about how to incorporate that knowledge into the actual work of defending human rights. Special focus will be placed on advocacy skills such as case assessment and oral argumentation.
The participants attend different classes focused exclusively on human rights law of the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Covenants on Human Rights, in which they gain necessary theoretical knowledge. The classes are taught by distinguished professors and practitioners from around the globe.
During Lunch Seminars the participants have the chance to learn from distinguished practitioners how to work with and implement human rights. The students will receive first-hand knowledge of current human rights issues and discuss possible solutions.
In Geneva, the participants will visit the European Headquarters of the United Nations, as well as various NGOs. In Strasbourg the participants will visit the seat of the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe. During the excursions, the participants interact with important NGO’s and officials and acquire insight into the practice of human rights implementation.
Participants can earn seven (7) ECTS credits for the successful completion of the courses and lunch seminars. There will be written exams at the end of the course. All successful participants will be awarded Certificates of Completion.
If you are interested in participating please do not hesitate to contact Diana Graf. (The 2023 Lucerne Academy is fully booked)
On the following website you will also find information about our summer school: www.summerschoolsineurope.eu
Hermann & Marianne Straniak Stiftung
Embassy of Switzerland in the USA - ThinkSwiss Summer School Travel Grants
SOL - Studierendenorganisation der Universität Luzern
Toni Hagen Stiftung
We have travel grants from ThinkSwiss and the Embassy of Switzerland in the USA for US or Canadian students.
Law students and law practitioners can apply to the Lucerne Academy.
Applicants must generally satisfy the following requirements:
- You must either be a practitioner or a law student.
- Good command of English. The Lucerne Academy is conducted in English and students are required to actively participate, both orally and in writing.
For questions concerning admission, please contact lucerne-academy . @ unilu.ch
The Lucerne Academy tuition fee (CHF 1'200) includes:
- Welcome Reception
- Welcome Apéro
- 8 classes with each different subjects (participants choose three courses to attend and take their written exams in those three courses )
- Excursion to Geneva (travel expenses, all tour, entrance fees)
- Excursion to Strasbourg (travel expenses, all tour, entrance fees)
- Lucerne city tour
- Lunch seminars
- 8 lunches
- Lavish Closing Ceremony Dinner
Please note that our accomodation is fully booked.
The fee for the accommodation in Lucerne is CHF 400 (from Sunday, 2 July 2023 to Saturday, 15 July 2023).
We do offer a small number of merit based scholarships for students from developing countries or students who can show financial hardship. If you are interested, please inquire by e-mail: lucerne-academy@ unilu.ch
Housing (fully booked!)
For participants who need housing in Lucerne to attend the program, we will offer moderately priced accommodation (generally the same as what is offered to incoming students for exchange semesters) in Lucerne for the duration of the program (2-15 July 2023). The accomodation provided will be a 10 minute ride to school by public transport and will come this year exceptionally at a cost of CHF 400.
Housing will only be provided starting the day before the program begins until the day after its conclusion.
Although it is ultimately the responsibility of the students to find housing, we will provide a limited number of rooms, which will be allocated at a first come, first served basis.
If you wish to apply, please fill in the housing application form.
If you have questions regarding the accommodation, please contact us lucerne-academy. @ unilu.ch
Director Professor Dr. iur. Sebastian Heselhaus, M.A.
Prof. Dr. Sebastian Heselhaus is a specialist in Human Rights Law. He is co-editor of one of the first commentaries on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. He teaches Comparative Human Rights Law and is supervisor of prominent moot courts such as the René Cassin Moot Court on the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Law Moot Court. Further fields of expertise of Prof. Heselhaus are Environmental Law and Energy Law. He is co-founder and Managing Director of the Center for Law and Sustainability at the University of Lucerne and Task Coordinator in the Swiss Competence Center on Energy Research (SCCER) CREST. Prof. Heselhaus has taught various courses in the UK, the USA and Lithuania. In October 2015 Prof. Heselhaus was appointed a Director of the Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation. In the Lucerne Academy he will be teaching an introductory class on human rights protection comparing major international human rights treaties.
Associate Director Mag. iur. Diana Graf
Diana Graf studied law at University of Vienna in Austria and at University of Lucerne in Switzerland. During her exchange semester at University of Lucerne she focused on Human Rights Law, European Law and European Business Law. During her studies, she worked at a law firm in Vaduz in the Principality of Liechtenstein and at a Swiss district court in the Canton of Thurgau. After obtaining her Master's degree, Diana worked as a Corporate Tax Consultant on a Swiss as well as international level at a "Big Four"-company in the Canton of Zug in Switzerland. Diana is not only interested in cross-border areas of law, but also in the resulting challenges in the concrete application of the law, for example in the areas of International Law, European Law and Human Rights Law.
“The Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation was an extremely valuable learning experience for me. My gratitude extends to the opportunities that have allowed me to grow as a member of the legal community, and as a human rights advocate. Also, I am very grateful for the lifelong international friendships I have built.” 2022 Lucerne Academy participant
“The Lucerne Summer Academy for Human Rights Implementation is the perfect possibility to enrichen the knowledge of Human Rights. Not only the courses itself are highly beneficiary for the participants, as they are held by experts in the field of Human Rights, also discussions as additional experiences provide a deeper understanding and new approaches within the implementation of Human Rights. The international group of participants offer further a new point of view, as do the lunch-seminars and the excursions. For everyone who is interested in Human Rights, the program is highly recommended and I am grateful that I had the possibility to take part in 2022.” 2022 Lucerne Academy participant
“My time at the Academy was absolutely amazing. The experience was entirely enriching, enlightening and fulfilling. I particularly appreciated the diversity of the group. It enabled a deeper appreciation for the different backgrounds the participants hailed from and made for a wholesome perspective during the discussions of the human rights issues and implementation within those different backgrounds. The deliberations were thus, enriched by this fact. Not to mention that the participants were brilliant and brought with them a lot of experience and a wealth of knowledge to draw from which I truly appreciated because of the diverse perspectives that manifested." 2022 Lucerne Academy participant
“Participating in the Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation was a truly unique learning experience: Gathering knowledge in the field of business and human rights, being taught by distinct professors and exposed to diverse views on human rights. I would not want to miss the Academy, the people I met and experiences I made there.” 2022 Lucerne Academy participant
“Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation summer school 2022 has been an enriching experience on both professional aspect and personal. The multidiversity from the participants teaches you many different perspectives on human rights." 2022 Lucerne Academy participant
“It was truly enlightening to be part of the Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation and to learn so much about Business and Human Rights. We had a very complete and intense program, which included a great variety of courses, all taught by distinguished scholars. I am very grateful to the Lucerne Academy for designing the program and planning all the events we attended.” 2022 Lucerne Academy participant
“The Academy offered tailored courses on contemporary and critical subjects which were tutored by prominent Professors. The Academy provided me with an opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions with Professors and participants. The teaching was not concentrated only on theoretical/international law frameworks but also included group discussions and activities - which helped me gain practical, applied and situated knowledge. Moreover, the study tours to the European Court of Human Rights and Council of Europe in Strasbourg; and to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, World Organisation Against Torture and Palais des Nations in Geneva were unique experiences. The first-hand information provided by the Officers on the functioning of these institutions and organisations was both informative and inspiring. At Lucerne Academy, I met people from all over the world and made some friends for life.” 2022 Lucerne Academy participant
“As a participant of the Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation I have learnt in greater depth current issues related to human rights from both a practical and theoretical perspective. There is no doubt all participants have concluded the program with a renewed commitment towards the promotion of human rights in each of our countries with the new acquired experience from the classes and the shared knowledge from other participants.” 2022 Lucerne Academy participant
“I had a very pleasant experience at the 2022 Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation. The large diversity amongst the group, both in nationality and legal background, was extremely valuable as it provided different perspectives on what exactly human rights is in different parts of the world, and how these differences require different approaches. The professors that taught during the program were also incredibly knowledgeable in their field of study, and it was interesting to learn about different approaches to understanding and implementing human rights, especially in the business industry. Lastly, the city of Lucerne was incredibly beautiful, and thanks to the amount of free time we had after the classes and on the weekend, I was able to see other parts of Switzerland as well and make amazing memories with the people I met at the program. I will forever remember by experience at the Lucerne Academy and would highly recommend it to anyone else that is interested in this area.” 2022 Lucerne Academy participant
“The Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation was an extraordinary experience for various reasons. First, I got the chance to meet people from all over the world that have the same aspirations and goals as me when it comes to legal studies. Second, I got to learn about the implementation of Human Rights through different lenses, such as business and international law- in a way that is not taught in my own country. Thirdly, I got to explore a different city and culture, which allowed me also to grow as a person and know myself more." 2022 Lucerne Academy participant
“The experience I made during the Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation was astonishing! I loved every single bit." 2022 Lucerne Academy participant
"First of all, the classes were so diverse and interesting. Professors from all over the world teaching us their respective courses was a mind-blowing experience and extremely enriching. My horizon broadened so much! Second of all, the excursions were also from big importance in regards of balancing the time between long days at university and wonderful “free time” in combination with enhancing tours at important Human Rights institutions. Third of all, the diversity of people I got to experience was amazing. People from all over the world - Kenya, Nepal, Columbia, Costa Rica, India, Nigeria, Spain, Italy etc. - sharing the same field of interest - Human Rights Law. This was honestly one of the most wonderful experience I was allowed to have as the conversations we had were so deep and interesting. I am sure, I found friends that I will stay in touch with forever!" 2022 Lucerne Academy participant
"It was one of the most, if not the most, enriching experiences of my whole life and I am so glad I was given this amazing opportunity, so thank you so much! I will definitely recommend this summer school to all of the law students I personally know.” 2022 Lucerne Academy participant