On 22 November the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, a new dedicated institute within the Faculty of Law, opened its doors to a host of human rights students, academics, and practitioners, as part of its inaugural Welcome Event.

Guests were invited to explore the new building and its facilities and meet the people that form its community. These included academic affiliates, visiting researchers, and representatives from partner organisations invited to Oxford for the day. The Institute has established close links with several leading human rights NGOs and the Welcome Event agenda was headed by talks with Maya Foa, Director of Reprieve and Bede Sheppard from Human Rights Watch.

These lectures in the morning were followed by introductory talks and workshops throughout the afternoon with representatives from the Institute’s key programmes and partners. Speakers came from Oxfam, Amnesty International, and Lawyers Without Borders, as well as affiliated Oxford institutions including the Oxford Human Rights Hub. Topics ranged from current academic research to student mooting programmes and pro-bono work.

The ‘Human Rights Fair’ was a set feature of the day in the Helena Kennedy Reading Room, a new state of the art study space open to students and academics alike. Along with examples of leading Oxford texts in the field of human rights, the reading room was furnished with information on all aspects of the Institute’s remit. Stalls manned by representatives from student initiatives could provide informal information and answer questions, giving other students a chance to sign up.

During a drinks reception and buffet, guests heard opening remarks from the Institute’s Director, Professor Kate O’Regan, its principal donor, Yves Bonavero, and the driving force behind its establishment, Baroness Helena Kennedy, Principal of Mansfield College. The three affirmed their commitment to installing a human rights community in Oxford that will engage with the most pressing human rights issues around the world.