Portrait of Juan Daniel Salazar
6 February 2020
A Colombian lawyer from Medellin specialized in human rights, international humanitarian law and transitional justice, Juan Daniel Salazar graduated in 2018 from our Masters of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and Rule of Law (MTJ). After teaching courses on human rights and transitional justice in two Colombian universities, he is now the Head of Cooperation and Strategic Alliances at Colombia’s National Center of Historical Memory (CNMH).
The CNMH is the national state institution in charge of the symbolic reparations for the victims of the Colombian armed conflict by guaranteeing the right to truth, both in its individual and collective dimensions and fostering guarantees of non-recurrence while upholding the duty of memorialization of the State. Such measures are necessary to rebuild the social tissue torn by the patterns of violence in a conflict that has lasted more than half a century. We are a platform through which the voices of the victims can be heard through recognition and dignification initiatives.
As Head of Cooperation and Strategic Alliances, my responsibilities imply two main tasks. I am in charge of developing cooperation strategies or alliances in order to amplify our work through strategic partners (NGOs, international or regional organizations, international cooperation agencies, universities, think tanks, and the private sector among others). I am also responsible for positioning the work of the CNMH at both the national and international levels through different exchange initiatives.
One of the biggest strengths of the programme is its multidisciplinary and holistic approach to the field of transitional justice. Such criteria involve both students and teachers, enriching the academic experience through exposure to different fields and backgrounds.
Having professors from such different backgrounds and approaches provide incommensurable benefit to the programme. Both theoretical and practical perspectives are fostered constantly in order to develop students’ critical analysis.
Studying with so many people from different parts of the world and professional backgrounds was one of the main highlights of my time in Geneva. Sharing with them their experiences has made me a better lawyer and human being.
I will always remember fondly our class trip to Nuremberg, the practical perspectives provided by Professor Unger, the passion of Professor Garibian or the profound questionings generated by Professor Mani (just to mention a few).
Studying at the Geneva Academy helped me acquire specialized knowledge in a field which is extremely relevant for the context of my country. The programme also gave me tools and skills to better understand the Colombian armed conflict as well as the ways of contributing to its transformation as a path to reconciliation.
I am constantly using the knowledge acquired in the MTJ in my job, from basic concepts to elucidate frameworks and principles to having the skills to be proactive engaging internal and external stakeholders in processes related to symbolic reparations.
Definitely. The whole experience was absolutely inspiring, enrichening and transformative.
Students of our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law (MTJ) spent, as part of the programme’s annual study trip, four days in Kosovo where they met with a wide range of experts and institutions involved in post-conflict reconstruction and the rule of law.
Dr Adriana Bessa is a Senior Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy. She is involved in research projects dealing with the right to food and the sustainability of food systems, and the rights of peasants. She also coordinates a training course on the protection of human rights and the environment.
This online course aims at unpacking the nature and scope of international human rights law in transitional contexts.
This online course will examine the protection afforded by international human rights law in these contexts, with a specific focus on the right to peaceful assembly – which is at the heart of such movements –, and the right to life – which is often violated during such transitional moments.
Olivier Chamard / Geneva Academy
The Treaty Body Members’ Platform connects experts in UN treaty bodies with each other as well as with Geneva-based practitioners, academics and diplomats to share expertise, exchange views on topical questions and develop synergies.
This research aims at building a common understanding and vision as to how states and the relevant parts of the UN system can provide a concrete and practical framework to address human rights responsibilities of armed non-state actors.