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Academic chairs in memory of Sergio Vieira de Mello

Briefing notes

Academic chairs in memory of Sergio Vieira de Mello

17 October 2003

UNHCR has signed the first two of a series of forthcoming agreements with both public and private universities in southern Latin America, to set up academic chairs named after Sergio Vieira de Mello in honour of the humanitarian legacy he leaves behind. The chairs will promote the teaching of human rights, international humanitarian law, refugee and migration law.

The first agreements were signed in Brazil with the University Centre of Brasilia (UNICEUB), an important private university which has formed a number of the country's top leaders, and with the Catholic University of Río de Janeiro, a private university in Vieira de Mello's home city.

The chairs were an initiative of UNHCR's Regional Office for southern Latin America, aiming to involve governments, universities and international organisations in a partnership to broaden human rights related academic programmes. UNHCR is currently discussing with IOM [the International Organization for Migration] and other organisations, their involvement in this project which has been enthusiastically received by the governments of southern Latin America, and by academic circles in the region.