Our Key Areas of Focus

The Four Pillars of the Edelstam Institute

The responsibilities of all citizens in a democratic society are inseparable from the responsibility to promote human rights. To flourish, both democracy and human rights require people’s active participation. Human rights education includes learning the skills of advocacy- to speak and act every day in the name of human rights.

Human rights education also provides a basis for conflict resolution and the promotion of social order. Rights themselves often clash, such as when one person’s commitment to public safety conflicts with another’s freedom of expression. As a value system based on respect on the equality and dignity of all people, human rights can create a framework for analyzing and resolving such differences. Human rights education also teaches the skills of negotiation, mediation and sustainable agreement building.

Human Rights

The principle of universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law. This principle, as first emphasized in UN’s Universal Declaration on Human Rights (defined in 30 articles) in 1948, has been reiterated in numerous international human rights conventions, declarations, and resolutions. The 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, for example, noted that it is the duty of States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems.

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally endowed to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. The Edelstam Institute aims to teach these principals as pillar stone in an effectively protective global world.

Human rights entail both rights and obligations. States with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights. The obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses. The obligation to fulfill means assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and to ensure human rights. The obligation to ensure means that States must refrain from interfering that States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights, to prevent abuses, and when those are committed to provide remedy. At the individual level, while we are entitled our human rights, we should also respect the human rights of others.

Responsibility to Protect

According to international law, the primary responsibility of the State is to protect its own citizens, and it incorporates the various humanitarian, security and human rights dimensions. ”Responsibility to Protect” is a political/legal term created at the turn of the century to define the duty of the international community to act in prevention of genocide and other egregious abuses when domestic authorities collapse or fail to respect and ensure fundamental human rights. In humanitarian emergencies, passivity is not an option.

Action in the field in hostile environments, however, is a privilege of a few, because exceptional courage is required. In extreme situations of widespread human suffering and persecution, those who are willing to risk themselves on behalf of others, not only save lives, but most importantly preserve for all of us the essential value of human dignity, indispensable for our lives being worth living.

A reference for our collective duty to act in protection of defenseless people who are the victims of serious abuses.

International Affairs

The courses are internationally focused and study and discuss relationships among countries, the roles of sovereign states and comprehends the benefit of democracies. Further, the program addresses the scope of international relations including globalization, diplomatic relations, international security, human protection and security, terrorism, organized crime and corruption, and tolerance for different religions, cultures and gender.

The Importance of Civil Society

The Nordic foundation has emerged from democratic popular movements, from individuals and society at large. By creating different forums for the civil society and human rights and educate stakeholders we will prevent crimes and violations of human rights, and thereby, contribute to establish peace and security. Effective conflict prevention depends on disparate actors working together strategically.

“Civil society … refers to a wide array of organizations: community groups, non-governmental organizations [NGOs], labour unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, and foundations,” according to the World Bank.

Today, the need for a massive mobilization of civil society in terms of development and education of human rights and democracy – a collaboration between different stakeholders, between the public and the civil society, as well as an established commercial and industrial life-, has become even greater. Hence the role of the civil society as a critical scrutinizer of the power is largely emphasized in the Nordic legacy, as the capacity to conduct preventive diplomacy ultimately relies on the international ability to coordinate multilateral initiatives.