Since 1992, the outbreak of the violent conflict related to the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia created a large number of refugee students and severe destruction of academic institutions in the Austrian proximity – the Slovenian border is only some 50 km south of Graz – which demanded our priority attention. The first challenge was the quickly increasing influx into Austria of students from the war areas for whom WUS Austria successfully raised funds for scholarships to continue their studies.
Support to refugee students from the Balkans
WUS also supported the establishment of clubs of students from Bosnia-Herzegovina and from Kosovo, which were provided with a space and some funds to organise self-help activities. It raised international awareness of the situation of these students with the Council of Europe and other actors by a meeting in Graz in 1993, which led to several international activities. Of crucial importance was the “Supplementary Grants Programme for Students from the Former Yugoslavia” started by the Open Society Institute/Soros Foundation in 1994, which provided hundreds of refugee students with scholarships, some 250 in Austria alone to which some 100 Austrian scholarships could be added. The announcement, selection and counselling were done by WUS Austria, which also organised orientation meetings and regular summer schools for Soros grantees in German-speaking countries. The feelings of the students and the whole process is best described in a book published in 1995 by the Central European University: Children of Atlantis, Voices from the Former Yugoslavia. Furthermore, an emergency fund for students was established to address specific needs, to which also WUS UK which joined the academic lifeline raised a contribution. The university of Graz showed its welcoming attitude by providing its magna aula for an annual welcome party for the refugee students who showed their rich cultural heritage. There was broad public support in Austria for refugees from the Balkans as people were closely following the war through the media. In September 1995 WUS Austria organised an International Congress of Students from Bosnia-Herzegovina studying abroad to jointly explore “Perspectives of the Future”.
With the end of the war in Croatia and the establishment of the new state in 1992 some 600 mainly Muslim students from Bosnia-Herzegovina became foreigners and lost their student benefits. While the ethnically Croatian students from Bosnia-Herzegovina were treated like domestic students, the others were asked to pay high study fees. With the help of the European Union, Dutch and German funds, WUS Austria in 1993 opened an Information and Counselling Centre in Zagreb and raised funds to help these students to continue their studies. WUS also raised awareness at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on the situation of these students which helped improve their legal situation. It also closely co-operated with the US-based Fellowship of Reconciliation, which organised study places for many students at US universities.
Academic lifeline for Bosnia and Herzegovina
The students from the Balkan war areas also brought information on the dramatic situation of their colleagues left behind, for example in besieged Sarajevo where students and teachers were studying and teaching under the shelling with many facilities inaccessible or destroyed. In addition, the former rector of University of Sarajevo visited in 1993 bringing detailed information on the situation of his university characterised by scarcity of everything, from food to books, from shoes to equipment. WUS Austria together with the student clubs initiated a collection at the Graz universities and a solidarty fund, which resulted in a truck-load of goods delivered to the university in early 1994, the first of its kind. It also started a national and international mobilisation under the slogan “Academic Lifeline for Sarajevo”, which soon was also extended to other universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Direct contacts were established with the university to identify priority needs.
In summer 1994, when it became possible to leave Sarajevo for a short period of time a group of students from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Sarajevo were hosted with their teachers from the respective faculty of the Technical University of Graz to allow them to organise their laboratory work as they had no access to their laboratories in Sarajevo, which were in the Serb-controlled part of the city. When they returned with many donated materials, they had to use the tunnel under the airport as the roads were closed again.
In August 1994, when there was a temporary ceasefire, together with Adi Kovacevic originating from Sarajevo I undertook a first fact-finding mission to Sarajevo using the so-called “Maybe Airline” operated by UNHCR, “maybe” because one could never be sure whether it would be able to fly. We had to carry bullet-proof vests and were brought into the city from the airport in armoured vehicles. It was very moving to meet the university and student representatives, who had endured so many hardships, but still were carrying on with their work under most difficult conditions. The report on their situation and needs led to a new appeal to national and international partners and further stimulated the support action, which was discussed at an “International Coordination Meeting to Support B-H Universities” in December 1994 in Graz.
In November 1994 WUS Austria established an office in Sarajevo to better co-ordinate the support activities for Bosnia-Herzegovina through a “Clearing House” for potential supporters of all kinds and to operate an “Information and Counselling Centre” for students and academics. The first head of office was Vesna Besirevic, whose family also provided the first office space.
In March 1995, Vesna’s daughter Nina Besirevic produced a video on “How to be a Student in Sarajevo”, which she and Vesna showed to various audiences in Austria, Germany and France to draw attention to the needs of Sarajevo students. The office was moved to the law faculty at the University of Sarajevo, where it soon received the first volunteers from the Austrian Peace Services (Österreichische Friedensdienste), which played an important role in the assistance activities.
The main elements of the “academic lifeline” were establishing links for the reintegration of B-H universities in the international academic network, short-term upgradings for teachers at European universities, visiting lecturers for B-H universities, provision and printing of textbooks, office material, all kinds of equipment, assistance to curriculum reform, support to university staff to reduce the brain drain, scholarships for students and repairs of devastated university buildings, heating systems and so on.
From 1994 till 2002, WUS Austria issued a quarterly newsletter in English on its activities, in particular, the academic lifeline called “WUS News”. When at the end of the war in autumn of 1995 it became possible to leave Sarajevo again, there was a high risk that many remaining staff members in view of the insufficient salaries would feel forced to leave, to which WUS Austria responded with funds from Austria, Germany and the Netherlands by providing the whole staff of the universities of Sarajevo, Tuzla and Mostar-East with salary support for a period of several months to prevent the brain drain. This was continued as the “Teaching Support Programme” providing some extra remuneration for teachers based on courses given.
Re-establishment and intensification of support of universities in Bosnia-Herzegovina
In March 1996, WUS Austria together with the Austrian Academic Exchange Service (ÖAD) organised the first meeting of Austrian and B-H universities to discuss the re-establishment and intensification of contacts and co-operation with B-H universities under the title of “bridge-building”. For this purpose, manuals were produced to facilitate co-operation with these universities. Following this, more than 60 professors were hosted at Austrian universities for research visits. Still in 1995, the University of Graz signed a partnership agreement with the University of Sarajevo at the occasion of a visit of the Graz rector Helmut Konrad. In 1996, when the Graz law faculty moved to its new building a large quantity of furniture became available which was transported with the help of Austrian IFOR/SFOR to Sarajevo. Later SFOR also transported various equipment like computers and copy machines for universities in the whole of B-H, for example 60 copy machines in one transport alone in December 1998. WUS Austria also established a “Brain Gain Programme” to assist the return of teachers to their former universities starting with giving lectures as visiting professors. There was also a return program for students who had graduated in Austria, but many decided to stay in Austria after their studies as jobs in B-H were very difficult to obtain. The Austrian University Teachers Social Assistance Association provided valuable support to Bosnian professors with health problems, until long after the war. A Centre of Excellence-project assisted the efforts of faculties to establish innovative teaching and research activities. For the academic year 1997/98, the support to the University of Sarajevo alone amounted to one million German marks.
For the support of students, the program “Ideas for Action” provided scholarships to some 1500 students, who usually worked in teams. Special scholarships assisted some 350 students particularly affected by the war. Counselling services, seminars and summer schools were offered and activities of the student unions like a “Network on managing a sustainable student union in B-H” supported. There were also language and computer courses offered and because of the lack of equipment Walk-in Internet Centres opened. Special support was offered for post-graduate studies. New programs were started like the “Inter-Community Relations Programme”, which helped teachers and students to restore contacts existing before the war through common projects and thus contributed to confidence-building in the divided university landscape of B-H. Academic co-operation was supported by workshops on opportunities and project management organised at all B-H universities, by the travel support and the Visiting Professors Programme as well as by the Clearing House. One highlight was the regular Summer University in Tuzla, supported together with Dutch and German partners. However, as a WUS appeal to the donor’s community of 1997 shows there was a constant struggle for attention to the educational needs as security, economic and other interests were often given priority.
After several fact-finding visits since May 1996, WUS Austria in 1998 opened another office at the University of Banja Luka, capital of the Republika Srpska, where a local team provided various services like two Walk-In Internet Centres (“Unilink”), an Information and Counselling Centre and access to the other WUS programs for B-H including the “Networking Infrastructure Projects” designed to improve the Internet infrastructure at the universities.
WUS Austria also contributed to the revitalisation of the Rector’s Conference of B-H as well as the introduction of quality assurance at B-H universities. It further assisted the establishment and networking of student’s unions, bringing all unions from B-H together by a seminar in 2000 for the first time.
A workshop in co-operation with the newly created EU-Stability Pact with its Task Force Education and Youth in Neum in 2000 explored “Strategies for Higher Education in South-East-Europe”. WUS Austria was able to realise several “quick start projects” in this new framework.
Balkan Case Challenge
A regional flagship project was the “Balkan Case Challenge”, a case study competition for students from the whole Balkans divided into a law challenge and a business challenge, first organised in 2000 in Sarajevo, where from 2001 also a Model United Nations competition was added. Later the finals were transferred to Vienna, where students also benefitted from a job fair. The project also helped to strengthen the reintegration of the Balkan region, suffering from the divisions brought by the wars.
A major project was the reconstruction of one devastated building in the Tito barracks, a large area which had been given to the university, as an “Academic Cooperation Centre for Students in Sarajevo (ACCESS)”. The project was implemented under the responsibility of WUS collaborator and architect Nihad Cengiz, who created a perfect environment for working and meeting in the multi-purpose centre. It was opened by the High Representative for B-H at the time, Wolfgang Petritsch in November 2000. It hosted WUS B-H and WUS Austria as well as the Human Rights Centre, a library and the Student Radio. It provided multi-purpose spaces for seminars and workshops as well as cultural events serving also as an Internet Café to gain some income. The building which the university provided for ten years soon became a centre for activities of all kinds.
From emergency support to rehabilitation and capacity-building
Over time, the emphasis shifted from emergency to rehabilitation and to capacity-building and reform programs. One-Month Grants, mobility and post-graduate and doctoral support programs helped to gain access to European universities which often resulted in new partnerships and co-operation. The Brain Gain Programme brought professors who had established themselves abroad back to share their experiences. The Curriculum and Course Development Programmes supported new creative curricula and courses to improve the teaching, while other projects also supported the neglected research. Several of these programs were implemented on the basis of TEMPUS-projects of the European Union. These efforts were also necessary to counter the increasing brain drain of students who left the region for better study opportunities abroad.
For a number of years, WUS became a main actor in support to the universities in B-H. In 1995, WUS Austria received the renowned Bruno-Kreisky prize for its role in support to the academic community in B-H. However, this would not have been possible without the co-operation of a number of institutions and organisations as partners like the Council of Europe, European Union, UNESCO, IOM, the Academic Task Force of the Association of European Universities (CRE), European and Austrian Rector’s Conferences and individual universities, Austrian government, Province of Styria, City of Graz, Austrian Federal Chancellery and Ministries of Science and Foreign Affairs, Austrian Development Cooperation, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), Austrian and German Academic Exchange Service, CEEPUS, Open Society Institute/Soros Foundation, Austrian Student’s Union, HOPE 87, Caritas, German student organisation Pro Humanitarian, Dutch University Assistance Fund, YSY Netherlands, British Council, and others. The Tyrolian government provided several cars for WUS Austria to be used for transporting equipment and other supplies, but also for the universities of Sarajevo and Pristina, which were very much needed after the war.
Co-operation and support came also from the WUS family, like the Secretariat of WUS International, WUS Germany, WUS UK and WUS Canada. There were many good efforts and intentions. However, WUS International was being confronted with an existential crisis itself so could only assist in a limited way.
Experts from the University of Vienna helped establish satellite links to the Universities of Sarajevo and Podgorica to improve their access to the Internet. WUS benefitted from an excellent co-operation with the Austrian ambassadors in Sarajevo starting from Valentin Inzko who later became the long-time High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. But its success was largely due to its committed staff, both in Graz and its offices in the Balkans. For example, Enisa Seleskovic, wife of former rector of the University of Sarajevo organised private accommodations for the visiting professors who thus also got unforgettable personal impressions of the situation. Adi Kovacevic, who came to Graz as a refugee student was in charge of all the transport while later becoming the Director of WUS Austria. The present
Managing Director, Veronika Nitsche, started as a peace volunteer in B-H. Generally, the volunteers of the Austrian Peace Service had a major role in all its activities. Some need particular mentioning like Gerald Knaus, Gerd Wochein, Peter Wolf, Martin Botta, Christoph Bender, Borna Krempler, Michael Jandl, Phillip Dietachmaier, Stefan Ratschan, Günther Schönberger, Heidi Bassin, Thomas Klein, Benedikt Gamharter, Michael Weiner, Christopher Opancar, Gerhard Salzer, Maximilian Hartmuth, David Knapp, Christoph Hinterreiter, Michaela Günther and Florian Gruber. Some of them today have become top experts on the region. The local heads of office like Dino Mujkic in Sarajevo ensured the good co-operation with the universities where WUS offices used to be hosted.
WUS Austria support to the University of Pristina in Kosovo
Kosovo-Albanian students in Graz made WUS aware of the difficult situation of their compatriots at the University of Pristina, where the discriminatory measures of the Milosevic government had forced large parts of the university to operate in private homes as a parallel system. In 1997, the situation further deteriorated. In 1998 WUS Austria undertook two fact-finding missions and also had the visit of the rector of the Kosovo-Albanian university, Prof. Zenel Kelmendi. On his encouragement WUS Austria in October 1998 started a program in Pristina with funds from the Austrian Federal Chancellery with the objective to support the Albanian educational efforts, but also to build bridges to the Serb side overcoming segregation. It started a Walk-in Computer Centre, offered language courses as well as academic travel support and operated a Counselling and Information Centre. The office started by WUS collaborator Borna Krempler was first set up in a private house. However, when NATO started its bombing campaign after the refusal of the Rambouillet agreement by Milosevic in March 1999 the WUS office needed to be evacuated in a hurry leaving everything behind, which was then ransacked as part of the ethnic cleansing which followed. Hundreds of thousands of Albanian Kosovars were driven abroad threatened by Serb forces seeking revenge and looking for safety in neighbouring countries. Therefore, WUS Austria started assistance activities in all its offices in the region and in Graz, but also followed the academic refugees to Macedonia.
Most members of the university fled to Tetovo in the North of Macedonia, where teachers and students were hosted by the Albanian university. WUS Austria quickly reacted by relocating its office to Tetovo and started an Academic Lifeline for Kosovo switching the funds available to support programs for the university members in exile. For some time, it was the only organisation on the ground besides the Soros Foundation. The objective was to help students and staff to stay close to Kosovo and to prepare for the time after the return. For this purpose, it offered “Active Students Projects” and “Active Academics Projects” to activate the creative potential with a view to future needs. It also organised language and computer courses. In Austria, it started an emergency assistance fund to help Kosovar students in need. It also had a key role in supporting academic cooperation, which included assistance to obtain visas.
Already in June, rector Kelmendi, who luckily escaped the persecutions, visited Graz and a major support program for the University of Pristina was developed based on generous funding from the Austrian Ministry of Science and Traffic. After the withdrawal of the Serb forces the Albanian teachers and students quickly returned to Pristina and with them also WUS Austria, which reopened its office already at the end of June 1999. With funds hand-carried by WUS Austria to Pristina as there was no bank transfer possible, the university financed its restart providing the first salaries to its staff. A small car provided by WUS Austria was the first vehicle of the rectorate. Consequently, WUS Austria played a major role in the rehabilitation and development of the University of Pristina and until today with funds from the Austrian Development Agency is running programs in support of higher education there as described in a contribution by Veronika Nitsche. Among the personalities heading the office of WUS Austria in this pioneer time was also Elmar Pichl who later became director of the department in charge of universities in the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Research as well as Enver Hoxhaj, who later became Minister of Education and Minister of Foreign Affairs in Kosovo.
WUS Austria support to higher education in Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia
In the spirit of helping to overcome the divisions in the former Yugoslavia created by its dissolution and wars, WUS Austria also established programs to support higher education in Montenegro, North Macedonia and in Serbia. Already in autumn of 1998, it set up an office in Montenegro at the University of Podgorica, which operated an Information and Counselling Centre with Clearing House function, a Walk-in Computer Centre providing free Internet access, computer and English courses, small scale projects and travel support. All measures were to assist the university and its students to re-establish and participate in international academic co-operation. In North Macedonia, WUS did not find the funds to open an office, but it assisted several projects, for example with the faculty of arts of the University of Skopje.
In Serbia, where the Milosevic government had forced critical teachers to leave the university of Belgrade, WUS first supported the “Alternative Academic Network” set up by these teachers. After the democratic turn WUS Austria was invited to establish an office at the University of Belgrade, from which a large assistance program to all Serbian universities was co-ordinated. Overcoming the isolation and re-establishing academic co-operation and assisting the reform process were among the main objectives, for which purpose many Serbian teachers took advantage of the respective WUS programs, in particular its One-Month Visits scheme. Of special nature was the so-called “Dzindzic programme” for young Serbs which was to break the isolation of the Serbian youth that had no chance to obtain travel visas by providing them with internships and travel opportunities in EU countries. The issue of visas remained an important barrier for academic co-operation and exchange for a long time and an important role of the offices of WUS Austria was to assist in overcoming this problem.
Efforts to develop new national committees
WUS Austria also had the ambition to help establish national committees in the region which eventually would take over its work. For this purpose, “WUS Bosnia and Herzegovina (SUS BiH)” was established in February 1999 with an impressive founding ceremony bringing together representatives from all universities in B-H in Sarajevo. It was provided with an excellent office space in the newly reconstructed ACCESS Centre, and assisted with securing the first projects.
However, after a successful start, problems emerged with local ambitions and attitudes, which gave preference to personal interests rather than the common objectives. This also led to frictions with the university authorities. As a result, WUS Austria had to withdraw its support.
In Kosovo a spin-off of WUS named “WUS Kosova” was established by former local staff. However, it never met the conditions for recognition as part of WUS International. Accordingly, both committees were not sustainable. That it was not possible to help establish self-sustainable local WUS committees was perhaps the largest disappointment in the whole support process to higher education in the Balkans.
Inspired by WUS Austria a national WUS committee was also established in Romania by German and Romanian founders and with the assistance of WUS Austria. This committee is still active although on a low scale
Contribution of WUS Austria to education on human rights and democracy
From early on WUS Austria developed a strong human rights focus, first because the right to education was the main concern in all activities, then by contributing to the Lima Declaration on Academic Freedom and WUS solidarity and co-operation programs. In 1993, at the World Conference on Human Rights Education in Vienna, the Bosnian students supported by WUS Austria protested against the massive human rights violations during the war in their country. In the years 1993 till 1997 WUS Austria organised five 4 -6 weeks postgraduate courses on Human Rights of Women for participants from developing countries, mainly Africa, first in Austria and then at the Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, in co-operation with WUS Uganda. These courses presented by Gerd Oberleitner in this publication were also a contribution to the Women’s Action Plan and Programme adopted by the WUS General Assembly in New Delhi in 1992
After the end of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995, the question was how to contribute to the necessary reconciliation and to build local capacities in human rights for the future. For this purpose, WUS Austria initiated the Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo. In December 1996, the Centre was formally opened with its inaugural human rights conference on “Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina after Dayton: From Theory to Practice” published in 1998 under this title, with strong international participation. Another major conference organised at the University of Graz on “Human Rights in B-H: Theory and Practice” was held at the occasion of awarding the human rights prize of the University of Graz to the three ombudsmen of B-H in December 1997. Austria also assisted in the foundation of Human Rights Centres in the divided city of Mostar and in Banja Luka established in October 1999. The Council of Europe provided support to the centres in Sarajevo and Mostar, where it established a human rights library, which for some time also served a WUS presence in Mostar. The centres co-operated for example in the production of a Reader on Human Rights, called Citanka Ljudskih Prava, published in 2001, which helped to fill the gap of material for human rights education. Based on the B-H experience, WUS Austria assisted the establishment of Human Rights Centres at the University of Pristina in Kosovo in 1999 and at the University of Podgorica in Montenegro in 2000 as well as a Human Rights focal point at the South-East-European University in Tetovo, North Macedonia.
These activities also benefitted from my experience as a consultant to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Banjul, The Gambia in the early 90s, when I assisted the new Commission with fund-raising and other activities which created good contacts with the Council of Europe and the UN Centre for Human Rights in Geneva, which then proved useful also in the Balkans. Based on this experience together with colleagues I established the European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (ETC) in Graz, which took over most of the human rights agenda from WUS Austria. For several years based on funding from the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) WUS and ETC co-ordinated a “Network of Human Rights Centers in South-EastEurope”, which also included the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights as well as the Human Rights Centre at the University of Zagreb, again established with support from WUS Austria. This resulted in a number of joint seminars, summer schools and publications on various human rights concerns across ethnic lines. Details can be found in the eight newsletters of the SEE HRC Network issued between 2001 and 2003. The network was a showcase for the re-establishment of co-operation overcoming ethnic divisions after the wars and helped building the basis for a common future based on human rights and democracy.
In a war and post-war situation, the right to education is under particular pressure and therefore needs special attention ranging from emergency support and assistance to post-war reconstruction. The rehabilitation and development of higher education can gain enormously from international co-operation and solidarity as can be seen from the example of the Balkan region. WUS Austria benefitting from experiences and linkages built as a member of the global WUS community realised the challenge at its doorstep and quickly reacted by mobilising many partners in the academic community and beyond which could not remain silent to the major violations of the right to education and other human rights in the region.
In this process there were several phases, starting from the emergency to the rehabilitation and development phase and from national programs to a regional approach. Important principles were capacity-building, ownership and sustainability, which meant employing mainly local staff and building human resources as well as institution-building like the case of the human rights centres. Not all survived as some universities still consider human rights as an area which should fund itself from external sources. In the context of the inter-ethnic conflicts in the region inter-community and anti-discrimination programs have a particular relevance and therefore should be part of academic co-operation. Aiming at international, in particular European, standards is necessary in order to overcome vested interests and offer quality education, which keeps students in the country.
In following this approach WUS Austria has also experienced difficulties related to local and political interests. After the emergency phase focused on humanitarian assistance and the post-conflict reconstruction phase, it became increasingly more difficult to raise funds for the much-needed continuation of programs developing the sector of education, while the development of human resources and quality education remained key to the sustainable economic and societal development and the attainment of European standards. Therefore, the period described stands out for the strong communality of interest meeting the challenge to secure the right to education in a war and post-war situation.
Zdenko Lesic (ed.), Children of Atlantis, Voices from the Former Yugoslavia, Central European University Press (1995).
WUS News, Quarterly Newsletter of WUS Austria, 1994 – 2002.
Wolfgang Benedek, Heike Alefsen, Michael O’Flaherty and Ermin Sarajlija (eds.), Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina after Dayton: From Theory to Practice, Kluwer Law International (1998).
Universitäre Bildung in Bosnien und Herzegowina, Bedürfnisse und Grundsätze der Kooperation (Higher Education in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Needs and Principles of Cooperation), in: wiener blätter zur friedensforschung, No. 89, 5/1996, 1-9.
International Cooperation and Support of Higher Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in: Journal of Studies in International Education, Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1997, pp. 69-78.
“Academic Lifeline Programm für Bosnien und Herzegowina“ von World University Service (WUS) Austria, in: Der Donauraum, 1998/Spezialheft: Die Rolle der nichtstaatlichen Organisationen in Mittelund Osteuropa, Vol. 38 (1998), 24-30.
Improving Inter-Community Relations in Higher Education after the War, in: European Educational Co-operation for Peace, Stability, and Democracy, Documentation of the Presidency Conference on Southeast Europe, November 14th–16th 1998, Graz/ Austria, BMWV/BMUK/Kulturkontakt Austria (eds.), Vienna 1999, 113-115.
How to achieve European Standards in Higher Education in B & H, in: Review of free thought, No. 27-28, April-September 2000, Sarajevo, 100-105.
Wolfgang Benedek, Introduction (uvod), Citanka Ljudskih Prava, Human Rights Centre Sarajevo (2001), 9-16. SEE HRC network newsletter, Nos. 1-8, 2001-2003.
Wolfgang Benedek, Culture of Human Rights in the Balkans, in: Culture of Human Rights, M. Dodorovic (ed.), Human Rights Centres Network (2002), 128- 131. Festschrift WUS Austria 25 years! WUS Austria 2008.
Wolfgang Benedek is professor emeritus at the University of Graz. He was director of the Institute of International Law and International Relations and of the European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (ETC) of the University of Graz; lecturer at Vienna Diplomatic Academy, University of Ljubljana and at the European Master Programmes on Human Rights and Democracy in Venice and Sarajevo. He was OSCE rapporteur under the Moscow Mechanism on Chechnya (2018) and on Belarus (2019). He holds doctorates h.c. from Universities of Sarajevo and Pristina for leading the assistance to those universities during and after the war. In 1983 he was co-founder of WUS Austria and long-time head residing in Graz. He is at present chair of its supervisory board, leader of many projects in the field of the right to education and human rights in the Balkans and beyond and editor of the Manual on Human Rights Education: Understanding Human Rights, available in 17 languages.