On March 22-24, 2023, the Institute of International and Regional Studies (IRSI) of the University of Szeged’ Faculty of Law and Political Sciences organized a field trip to Vienna for third and fourth year law students, plus second and third year bachelor as well as master students of international relations. In the framework of the trip, the group visited two institutions, namely the United Nations Office in Vienna and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
The United Nations in Vienna
The students visited the UN Vienna Office, where we they participated in a guided tour. They were informed about the building itself, why one of the UN headquarters was built in Vienna, how it was received by the Viennese people and how it became an integral part of the city. Their guide also explained what the UN staff in Vienna focuses on, and gave them a glimpse into an ongoing negotiation (behind blacked-out windows, of course).
Presentation by the CTBTO
After being shown around, the group was treated to an interesting presentation on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) by the organization’s Senior External Relations Officer, Charles Oko. They were given a first-hand account of the CTBTO’s significance, history and current challenges, including North Korean nuclear tests and the Russian-Ukrainian war.
Following the visit to the United Nations Office at Vienna, students had the opportunity to explore the Austrian capital. During the free time they had the chance to visit sights such as the Vienna Military History Museum, Schönbrunn Palace and Mariahilferstraße, among others.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
On the last day of the field trip, the students visited the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). They were told about the rich history of the building, which, interestingly, has previously served as the headquarters of a bank, but also to the Communist Party of Austria.
Miroslav Notev, Head of Sector (Communicating rights – Media & Events), gave an overview of the FRA’s work, its objectives and activities. Furthermore, he explained how the FRA’s work is translated into practice, how ideas become actions and then results. Afterwards, Márton Rövid, Project Officer (Human Rights Structures & Mechanisms Sector), gave a presentation on the FRA activities supporting Roma Inclusion, the human rights issues related to them, as well as the discrimination they face, their situation in society and their integration status. Afterwards, participants learnt more about refugees arriving to Europe, so they could gain a more detailed insight into their situation in the context of human rights issues.
Participants in front of the United Nations in Vienna
“The field trip gave us a better understanding and first-hand insight about the UN and the FRA. It was exciting to enter the gates of institutions that we had previously only heard about in the context of classroom lessons. The field trip to Vienna was an inspiring, enlightening and lasting experience for all of us,” concluded Dániel Bense, an International Relations student who took part in the trip organized by the Institute of International and Regional Studies.