Suite of new scholarships announced for students working to deepen knowledge of international human rights law

Three students walking and talking (© University of Oxford Images / John Cairns Photography)

© University of Oxford Images / John Cairns Photography 

A grant from the Hering Foundation has enabled the creation of six new fully funded graduate scholarships to support human rights professionals from low- and lower middle-income countries studying at Oxford University.

The scholarships will be available to students undertaking the MSc in International Human Rights Law and have been made possible through the generosity of John and Alexandra Hering.  

The couple, who are passionate about protecting human rights in the digital age, decided to make the gift following Alexandra’s own experience as a student on the programme. She graduated in 2023, determined to help increase access to the degree for the many excellent candidates who are unable to take up their places due to lack of funding.  

Distance learning and Oxford residentials 

The two-year, part-time degree is offered by the Faculty of Law in collaboration with the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and gives lawyers as well as other human rights advocates from around the world the opportunity to develop their understanding of this complex area of legal practice. The course involves a combination of distance learning and summer residentials in Oxford, enabling participants to pursue study alongside their careers and care responsibilities.  

The first two Hering Foundation Scholars in International Human Rights Law will begin their degrees in September, with the remaining four joining in the 2025/26 and 2026/27 academic years. 

As well as enabling the creation of these six fully funded scholarships, the Herings have also agreed to support a further ten scholars on the MSc course each year for a period of three years by providing matched funding. Together with other donors such as the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC), they will help create a range of full scholarships for students from low- and middle-income countries in the Commonwealth.  

In total, John and Alexandra Hering will be supporting around a third of all students on the MSc in International Human Rights Law over the next three years. Their total gift is £548,000.  

A vibrant and diverse community of scholars 

John Armour, Dean of the Faculty of Law, said:

‘We are delighted to receive this support from John and Alexandra Hering, which will allow international students from all backgrounds to become part of our vibrant and diverse community of human rights scholars and practitioners. I look forward to seeing our future Hering Foundation Scholars build their understanding of this crucially important area of law and the real-life impact they will have when applying this knowledge in their own professional settings.’ 

John and Alexandra Hering

Before enrolling at Oxford, Alexandra Hering worked as in-house council at Automattic Inc. ( and, prior to that, practiced law as a litigator for nearly a decade. She is a member of the Human Rights Watch Justice Circle and served at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, assisting in the prosecution of Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb former military leader ultimately convicted of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. 

John Hering is an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist focused on leveraging technology and capital to accelerate progress for humankind. He has founded and built several multi-billion-dollar technology companies that are used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, including Lookout and Coalition. He is a strong supporter of Pledge 1% and the Founders Pledge, along with related efforts for capitalism to be a force for the common good.  

They said:

‘We believe that the International Human Rights Law degree offered at Oxford is the very best in the world. The knowledge and skills gained through the course can have a transformative impact not only on those studying but also on the individuals whose lives they touch through their work. As passionate advocates of human rights, we’re immensely proud to be able to help talented students who might not otherwise be able to take up their places and realise their full potential in this hugely rewarding and impactful field.’ 

Graduates of the MSc in International Human Rights Law go on to have a significant global impact through their work. Read our interviews with alumnae Michelle Mendonca and Phyza Jameel to find out how they’re using their knowledge and skills to help the voiceless and the vulnerable.

Find out more about the MSc in International Human Rights Law and the Hering Foundation Scholarships.