NCHR's Master Programme in Human Rights: Reflections from former Vietnamese students

Chuyen Nguyen Duc and Nga Hong Nguyen graduated from the Master Programme in the Theory and Practice of Human Rights at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights in 2013 and 2014, respectively. They both received a scholarship from the Vietnam Programme which is provided to promising Vietnamese students.

Chuyen and Nga have now returned to Vietnam, and share some reflections from their studies in Norway.

Chuyen Nguyen Duc. Photo: Solveig Marie Igesund/ NCHR

Why did you want to study human rights in Oslo?

- I wanted to know what human rights really is from the perspective of different countries and also whether those perspectives are the same or if they differ from the common viewpoints in my country.

- I also wanted to take the program to advance my career in the field of human rights education, says Chuyen Nguyen Duc.

Chuyen was part of the class of 2011-2013 at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, and wrote his master thesis on the human rights due diligence process under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Today, Chuyen works at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Law (HCMCUL) Center for Legal Research on Human and Citizen Rights.

-  Knowledge obtained from the master program in Oslo has been applied effectively in my current job for doing research and teaching. I have also been involved in projects that work to promote human rights education inside and outside the university.

As regards future students coming to Norway to do a master's program, Chuyen has two recommendations:

- Get actively involved in activities, including participating in international student activities. Travelling around Norway to enjoy its magnificent landscapes and culture are the things you shouldn’t miss out when staying there.

-  I see the things that happen in my country in a different way

Nga Hong Nguyen. Photo: Private

Nga Hong Nguyen graduated from the NCHR in 2014, and now works as a researcher at the Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences (VASS), Institute of World Economics and Politics, Centre for International security and strategies.

According to Nga, the quality of universities in Vietnam is still not good enough, and it was her boss - who previously had visited the NCHR - who encouraged her to go to Oslo to do the master's program.

- In the first semester I found the program difficult because of the language. I also did not have a human rights or law background and I was therefore nervous for the subjects. However, in the second semester my English improved, and there were a lot of good electives to choose, says Nga.

- When I came to Norway I did not know much about human rights. I now know what human rights are and how to integrate it into my personal life. I also see the things that happen in my country in a different way. The program is also very relevant to my current job, where I, among other assignments, have assisted GASS (under VASS) with their master's program in human rights.

Business and Human Rights

Both Chuyen and Nga specialised in business and human rights while in Oslo, and have continued working on this subject.

Nga wrote her master thesis on the role of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the industrial zone in Vietnam, specifically, why and how CSOs engage in addressing human rights in foreign-invested companies. She is now contributing with a chapter in Bård Anders Andreassens' (professor at NCHR) book on business and human rights.

Chuyen will also work as a team member in a forthcoming research project with Bård Anders Andreassen - gathering data, analysing and writing - on the issue of business and human rights, with a particular focus on Norwegian companies in Vietnam.

By Solveig Marie Igesund
Published Feb. 24, 2015 3:09 PM - Last modified Mar. 27, 2015 1:48 PM