Kaisa_2012_3_photo by Veikko Somerpuro



University-level education (Bachelor, Master, or equivalent), including career professionals, with a strong interest in human rights, poverty and development.

No prior knowledge of the subject matter required.

By the end of the course, participants should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the correlation between the three concepts (Poverty, Human Rights and Development), especially with regard to global order and global governance.
  • understand reasons behind the failures of development initiatives during the last half century.
  • demonstrate an understanding of theories of development, and current policy debates geared at addressing the crisis of poverty and underdevelopment.
  • understand the role and politics of institutions (international organisations and international financial institutions) in driving the discourse and debates around the three concepts.
  • understand actors (both domestic and international) responsible for the crisis of poverty and underdevelopment, especially in the third world.
  • develop independent opinions on the subject with a possibility to carry out independent research on topics of interest.

The course explores the nexus and different dimensions of the crisis of poverty, (under)development and human rights from a historical, institutional and policy-making perspective.

Conceiving poverty alleviation as an essential human rights obligation, this course examines domestic and international variables that have occasioned and exacerbated world poverty, inequality and underdevelopment. The course also formulates and highlights what duties states and international institutions owe to the poor and the victims of global injustice.

Grading scale:
5 = excellent
4 = very good
3 = good
2 = average
1 = poor
0 = fail

Summaries: 20%
Presentation: 15%
Excursion and active participation: 15%
Final exam: 50%

Students of the University of Helsinki apply to Helsinki Summer School courses via the Summer School application system. The course fee for UH students is 15 EUR / ECTS. The link to the application form is available on the course webpage (link below). The application deadline for UH students is July 19, 2019.


  • case study analysis
  • videos, short documentaries and commentaries
  • moot court / group work
  • debate / Panel Talk.
  • PowerPoints

For key themes, students will be provided with three relevant articles (literature), to freely choose one. Students are expected to submit a half-page summary of one of the articles prior to some of the sessions. The summaries must be uploaded on the university platform (Moodle).

More instructions will be provided during the first lesson.