Office of International Education

Human Rights Institute, Strasbourg France


 Strasbourg, France

Program Overview

International human rights law is the only branch of law directly based on a branch of ethics. This program offers both training in the existing law and the ethical issues that surrounded its creation.


The Human Rights Institute on the IPFW Campus, offers a human rights Summer Intensive in France: four weeks in July at the University of Strasbourg on the Rhine. This program, now in its tenth year, is by agreement between IPFW and the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg.  

Six hours of transferable credits are earned by students passing the end-of- the-month Strasbourg Institute test. Three graduate or advanced undergraduate credit hours are given by the IPFW Philosophy Department in the on philosophical foundations of human rights (PHIL 580). Three further credit hours in international human rights law are given by the IPFW Political Science Department (POLS y371).


Strasbourg Institute founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner Rene Cassin for his work in drafting the UN Universal Declaration; 2013 lecturers included an International Court of Justice judge, human right law faculty from different universities. Students in the hundreds come from nearly fifty nations. Study the universal UN system plus regional systems, especially Strasbourg's European Court of Human Rights.


Fort Wayne Philosophy Professor Clark Butler gives academic support throughout. All students come away with a good knowledge of international human rights laws.  But why should individuals, nations, and the world community respect human rights? Anyone asked to make a sacrifice for human rights deserves a good answer if he or she asks why. Dr. Butler is your main teacher for PHIL 580 and he will present for discussion the different ways in which have been justified.

Student Testimonial

“In July of 2011, I went on a summer study abroad program to the René Cassin International Institute of Human Rights at the University of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France, and it was from there that I learned that law was the means that I wanted to use. When I arrived at the study session, I was surrounded by law students, professionals, lawyers, and even judges, and I was intimidated, feeling like the content was beyond my capabilities. I had read of human rights treaties and the importance of the concept of human rights, but I had not fully applied these concepts before and the program, through seminars and the study of cases, allowed this opportunity and allowed me to realize the study session content was within my capabilities. During a seminar, I offered a perspective on the applicability of a treaty to a land claim made by indigenous persons that a Canadian judge told me he was impressed by and I learned perspectives on treaty application I had never considered from the many knowledgeable students from across the globe that I was fortunate enough to meet. This glimpse into a small area of treaty law made me fascinated by the intricacies of international human rights law and its domestic implementation and I continued my study of these concepts when I returned home. I was inspired by this program to try out for my university’s Model UN team, and from there, I continued to get even more involved in the team, eventually becoming Secretary and then Vice President. Through my experiences on Model UN and my classes, I continued to learn about different aspects of international law and the domestic implementation. Pursuing law was a foreign concept to me as I entered college, but through the experiences I have been fortunate enough to have, I was opened up to the idea of pursuing law, and as I explored more of the aspects of and opportunities law studies could offer, I realized that law is the conduit through which I can continue my passion of making a difference in other’s lives, much like the difference the pink puffball has had on me.”
 Kaylyn Sands
Graduating IPFW Strasbourg Study Abroad Student
Now Applying  to Law School, Spring 2014

More Information

Requirements: Junior status by summer 2014 and some preparation by course work or equivalent.

Email or 481-6364 to inquire for 2014

IPFW Human Rights Study Abroad Fact Sheet and Course of Study for Summer 2014