About Us

We are supported by the Global Campus of Human Rights and are part of the Global Campus Alumni (GCA) network together with the alumni of our sister programmes.

We are the community of alumni of the European Masters in Human Rights and Democratisation (aka EMA) offered by the Global Campus for Human Rights.

In 2010, alumni of the EMA programme came together to build and foster a community that would connect the alumni of the programme for social and professional reasons. The Association was set up as a non-profit NGO, headquartered first in Venice and then moved to Brussels, and started carrying out activities for the EMAlumni community.

We believe in maintaining a strong network of human rights professionals and human rights defenders as a means to achieve the protection and promotion of human rights. Besides, anyone who has done the EMA programme will know how special the experience of studying together on the Lido is – we also believe in the strengthening of this connection, we keep it alive!

 

Our Mission

To bring together alumni of the EMA programme to create a community of human rights supporters where sharing and connection happens be it for professional or personal reasons.

Our aims

Our vision

What we do

The EMAlumni aims to create a solid community of graduates of the European Master’s Degree in Human Rights Master and Democratisation.

The aims of the Association are to promote and reinforce contacts between its members, at a professional as well as at an informal level, and to promote human rights and democracy in Europe and throughout the world.

The community we are co-creating is one of peer learning, professional development and social bonds.

Our vision is a vibrant network of graduates of the EMA programme who stay in close contact to each other, to their Master Programme and universities and to the Alumni Association and who, through this contact, engage in a mutual exchange of knowledge, experience and support and on human rights initiatives.

 

The ultimate aim of this community is be contribute to the strengthening of the promotion of human rights.

Throughout the year, as the EMAlumni Association we different activities and projects to nurture the community and make it an exciting and vibrant space for alumni to connect. All our activities are alumni-led.

We are always open to new ideas and to cooperation with different actors, so if you have an idea you’d like to pitch, you can do so here.

Community building

Being an EMAlum is being part of a community of people who share the EMA experience. We support that community by creating moments to meet and form bonds.

Professional development

We promote peer-learning for EMAlumi’s prefessional growth and for that of human rights defenders through seminars, webinars, articles and conferences.

Promotion of human right and democracy

Human rights and democracy is at the core of our identity. We promote these through campaigns, events and by mobilising volunteers.

OUR GOVERNANCE & STRUCTURE

The EMAlumni Association is an NGO based in Belgium (ASBL/VZW). Our structure, as prescribed by our Statutes, is made up of a President, and a maximum of 8 Board Members who are elected by supportive members at the yearly General Assembly.

The Board is the engine of the EMAlumni Association that drives the network of almost 2.500 EMAlumni. It coordinates activities, working groups and projects which all EMAlumni are invited to take part in.

We also have a Secretary General who is employed by the Association with a part-time contract. The Secretary General is an EMAlum and their work is vital to keep the Association running.

Mélina Pele

Secretary General

Lives in Leipzig (Germany)

EMA Graduate 2006/2007

Contact Mélina: melina@emalumni.org | LinkedIn

Mélina graduated from the EMA programme in 2007. She worked 15+ years in the human rights field, first within international organizations, in Kosovo and Guinea, then within the French Administration working as a refugee status determination officer. She has co-founded non-governmental organizations for the Education of Syrian Refugee Children in Lebanon and Franco-German bilingual families in Pantin. In her free time, she has been an elected local representative in France. Since 2022, she has transitioned to become a coach to help human rights practitioners and activists to remain happy, healthy and hopeful while doing what they do best: making the world a better place. She sensitizes change-makers to the negative impacts of vicarious traumatization on the long run and teaches concrete tools to mitigate these effects in daily life.

Mélina joined as Secretary General to better connect with the EMA community and provide support.

Hélène Bauwens

President

Lives in Athens (Greece)

EMA Graduate 2020/2021

Contact Hélène: helene@emalumni.org | LinkedIn

Hélène works for an NGO providing legal support to refugees and asylum seekers. Passionate about advocacy, she actively engages in addressing the pressing issues surrounding refugee rights.

Hélène joined as President because she was motivated by the power of the EMA community as a network of human rights advocates.

Theodara Ralli

Vice President

Lives in Kyiv (Ukraine)

EMA Graduate 2013/2014

Contact Theo: theodora@emalumni.org | LinkedIn

Before EMA, Theodora obtained a bachelor degree in Psychology and was a volunteer with several festivals, events and organisations. She is a humanitarian aid worker with five years of experience in case management and protection and gender-based violence programming. She is also passionate about the rights of undocumented migrants (especially migrant workers), refugees and asylum seekers as well as gender equality and women’s empowerment.

She joined the Board because she believes that the EMAlumni Association and the GCA have immense possibilities to create amazing things and drive real change and is looking forward to working towards our common goals.

Róisín Webb

Board Member

Lives in Dublin (Ireland)

EMA Graduate 2003/2004

Contact name: roisin@emalumni.org | LinkedIn

Róisín is an Irish lawyer with a public interest focus and over 20 years experience advocacy, research, policy, legislation, campaigns and as a practicing barrister. She has practiced in Criminal law, Youth Justice, Child Protection law, Disability law, Equality and Human Rights Law, Child Law and Constitutional law. She has extensive experience as legal and policy advisor in the NGO sector in areas of children’s rights and in access to justice/public interest law including in Children’s Rights Alliance, Free Legal Advice Centres, Amnesty International, Children’s Mental Health Coalition and Disability Legal Resource. She has held senior policy and legislative roles in the Ombudsman for Children’s Office, the Irish Youth Justice Service, Department of Children and the Department of Justice. Currently working as a legal and policy consultant in children’s rights and public interest law, Róisín was recently appointed as EU Commission external expert in Child Rights under the CERV programme.

Róisín joined the board because it is a wonderful way to stay connected and exchange perspectives with fellow graduates who share a common vision of promoting human rights, both locally and globally.

Florence Carrot

Board Member

Lives in Maiduguri (Nigeria)

EMA Graduate 2013/2014

Contact Florence: florence@emalumni.org | LinkedIn

Florence Carrot is a humanitarian worker who graduated from the EMA in 2014. She has been involved in protection and community-based approaches for the last 8 years in conflict-affected environments (Afghanistan, DRC, Iraq, Niger …) and other contexts (Peru, India, UK etc.) with various humanitarian and human rights organisations (INGOs, UNHCR). Her work primarily involves addressing gender-based violence, responding to issues related to statelessness, protection analysis, and psychosocial support. She recently joined the ICRC as a field protection delegate where she develops further capacities in IHL and believes the humanitarian sector definitely needs more EMA graduates. 🙂

Filipe Vendrame

Board Member

Lives in Amsterdam (Netherlands)

EMA Graduate 2015/2016

Contact Filipe: filipe@emalumni.org | LinkedIn

Filipe graduated from EMA in 2016. He started his career in human rights as a casework intern for an Irish NGO (MRCI), aiming for social change, empowerment and inclusion of migrants and refugees in Ireland. He is currently based in the Netherlands where he used to work as a communication specialist for a Dutch organisation focused on the social inclusion of refugees. Nowadays, Filipe works as a Talent Acquisition for a tech Australian company in Amsterdam. In 2015, he also published a paper at the University of Coimbra about the social and historical impact of homophobia in Portugal and Brazil. The same year, he was a guest teacher in Portugal for a Secondary school to lecture about youth violence issues and human rights.

He joined the EMAlumni association as a board member in 2022 to support some of our essential projects for our associates, such as Career Day and the promotion of our EMA ambassadors.

Camille Roux

Board Member

Lives in Brussels (Belgium)

EMA Graduate 2015/2016

Contact Camille: camille@emalumni.org | LinkedIn

Camille graduated from the Master in 2016, after which she moved to Brussels where she started working in EU policy and advocacy. After several years working on children’s rights, Camille moved to her current position at Mental Health Europe where she advocates for the rights of persons with disabilities in EU policies. Working on equality files at the EU level allows her to pursue her passion for advocating for diversity and inclusion while nerdingly exploring all the secrets of the EU policy making processes.

Camille joined the board to help grow a community of strong human rights advocate and foster more exchanges and support among alumni.

Nona Mohammadi

Board Member

Lives in Berlin (Germany)

EMA Graduate 2019/2020

Contact Nona: nona@emalumni.org | LinkedIn

Nona is a psychologist with broad experience in the field of displacement and migration, both clinically and through a variety of experiences in research, the European Commission, and her current position in the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Section at IOM. Her primary focus is on vulnerable groups, particularly refugees, minorities, victims of trafficking and exploitation, and survivors of gender-based violence. The intersections between mental health and conflict-affected societies are of particular concern to her. She believes that political activism, human rights work, and transitional justice can only be sustainable if psychological aspects are also considered.

Nona joined the board because she has deep-rooted connections with fellow Master Students, who have evolved into cherished friends scattered across the globe.

Alejandra Oriola

Interim Board Member

Lives in Brussels (Belgium)

EMA Graduate 2017/2018

Contact Alejandra: alejandra@emalumni.org | LinkedIn

Eduardo Padrón

Interim Board Member

Lives in Brussels (Belgium)

EMA Graduate 2021/2022

Contact Eduardo: eduardo@emalumni.org | LinkedIn

Eduardo graduated in 2022 after having lived and worked in several development projects in Myanmar and Thailand. He then moved to Brussels where he started working on policy and advocacy towards EU’s external action. He is currently a consultant on EU foreign policy and human rights.

Eduardo joined the board to support the engagement of the association with the Brussels human rights and democracy networks as well as facilitate access and build community around the EU bubble.