The Centre for Applied Human Rights (CAHR) secured the University of York’s first UNESCO Chair in 2022

The Chair, held by Professor Paul Gready, focuses on the role that universities can play in protecting human rights defenders (HRDs), and expanding political space. Our work is supported by a global network of universities and civil society organisations.

The UNESCO Chair builds on 15 years of work at CAHR to support HRDs, through Protective Fellowships, applied research, knowledge exchange and network building. At a time of intersecting crises for civil society and democracy across the globe, universities are both themselves under attack and often have more space to manoeuvre and act than NGOs and social movements. It is in this space, and challenging context, that the Chair seeks to act. 

The UNESCO Human Rights Defenders Hub builds on the past work of the Human Rights Defenders Hub.

Think tank, bridge builder, future maker

UNESCO Chairs are intended to act as think tanks, bridge builders, and future makers on pressing global issues. CAHR will seek to fulfil this mission in supporting HRDs, both close to home and globally.

A Secretariat supporting the UNESCO Chair and its network is based at CAHR. Its staff include Pippa Cooper and Claire Fox