The 2nd CEE&CA Summer Academy on Human Rights and Business (2024)

25 September – 1 October 2024 

DEADLINE for applications is extended till July 21, 2024 (23:59 CEST)

 If you require information that is not available on this website contact us at:


About the Academy – overview

The Central and Eastern Europe & Central Asia Summer Academy on Business and Human Rights (The Summer Academy) is organized by the Polish Institute for Human Rights and Business (PIHRB) and the Ukrainian Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University (Ukrainian: Національний юридичний університет імені Ярослава Мудрого)  in partnership with the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, and in collaboration with the UN Development Programme, CEECA Resource Hub and the CEE & CA Business and Human Rights Association.

The Summer Academy is open to passionate people who want to leave a positive mark on the world by driving implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in their sectors and organizations and helping others to understand what is needed to ensure greater respect for human rights on the part of business organisations. 

Participants of the Summer Academy will obtain the knowledge, skills and competences that will allow them to support the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in their respective countries, which will contribute to improvement in the respect for human rights in the context of business operations across the region. They will also gain the opportunity to become members of the CEE&CA BHR Association.

The 2024 Summer Academy will be held online via Zoom in English only.  It will be carried across 5 working days usually between 9 am and 5pm CEST/Warsaw time (UTC+2), split into two parts with weekend break in between:

  •  25 -27 September 2024 (lectures)
  • 30 September – 1 October 2024 (workshops & meetings with professionals)

The first three days of the Summer Academy are dedicated to BHR core knowledge and theory, and will follow the polycentric governance system underpinning the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, i.e. respectively the division into (I) the State duty to protect human rights, (II) the corporate responsibility to respect human rights and (III) access to remedy pillars. Knowledge gained during those days will lay the groundwork and prepare the participants for two practice-oriented days of workshop sessions and meetings with practitioners.

Upon completion of the Core Summer Academy (90% of attendance and passing a test), participants will be issued with a Certificate of Participation.

To apply for a place on the Summer Academy, you have to meet the eligibility criteria as well as submit required documents (application form, CV, motivation letter) and – once you receive information about being selected – pay the fee of 250 Euro, or in case of it being waived, the administration fee of 25 Euro, within 3 weeks of receiving confirmation. Fee waiver is possible at the time of the application for participants from NGOs, academia, public administration, students. Please see relevant sections below (Recruitment, Organizational information) for details.

The Summer Academy 2024 is organized possible thanks to Sigrid Rausing Trust funding and pro-bono engagement of Polish Institute for Human Rigths and Business, Ukrainian Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University and Global Business Initiative for Human Rights and others. 

Regional context

The Business & Human Rights (BHR) framework has acquired particular relevance during the last decade. Business actors have a significant impact on the enjoyment of human rights by people within the field of their modus operandi, and must therefore consider the risks that their operations might create and that can violate or contribute to violating human rights. The impact that a business enterprise may have on human rights can affect various actors: its own employees but also employees of its suppliers and across their value chains, customers, migrants, vulnerable groups (children, persons with disabilities, elderly people, etc.), communities and many others.

In the very diverse regions of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, countries continue to experience a low level of awareness on business and human rights. This is due to many factors, including the absence of strong democratic institutions and rule of law guarantees, a shrinking space for civil society, corruption, ineffective remedy systems for the victims of business-related human rights abuses, as well as the result of a low level of trust among actors in society.

The region is facing many challenges to ensure corporate responsibility for human rights, in particular on labour issues (informal employment, the unprotected status of gig-workers, the gender pay gap and gender segregation of the labour market, youth unemployment, wage arrears, weak guarantees of the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, forced labour), occupational safety and health, environmental safety, discriminative practices as a part of particular business models (e.g. discriminative advertising), the lack of effective mechanisms for communication between local communities and business, etc.

The COVID 19 related economic crisis had a devastating impact on working conditions, which even before the pandemic were not meeting the ‘decent work’ standard and social protections in a region that historically has been suffering from weak trade unions and labour rights, as well as ineffective remedies for business-related human rights abuses. The war in Ukraine and armed conflicts on the territories of other countries of the region significantly increase human rights risks, and the human rights impact of the corporate sector in times of emergencies could be especially sensitive.

The region-specific challenges require better regulation, more effective enforcement of existing regulations and contextual, bottom-up and inclusive initiatives and strategies developed in collaboration with all the stakeholders concerned in order to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the global authoritative standard from the UN on responsibilities of states and companies, effectively, and improve the human rights record of companies operating in the region.

The Summer Academy builds on the challenges and lessons learned on how States and businesses, in cooperation with the civil society sector in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia are discharging their respective duties and responsibilities across the three pillars of the “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework of the UNGPs. It also builds on the experiences and lessons learned during the first edition of the Summer Academy held in 2022. It also aims to provide individuals who want to drive change in their respective organisations and societies, with the necessary knowledge, skills and tools to enable that.

Learning Outcomes

 The aim of the Summer Academy is:

  • to raise participant awareness on the business and human rights (BHR) agenda and standards with the goal to enhance respect for human rights by business and the effective functioning of legal and non-legal remedies for human rights in cases of business caused violations;
  • to provide a systematic knowledge and understanding of the impact of business on human rights, the role of the state and non-state actors in the process of the proper implementation of business and human rights standards; good practices will be provided;
  • to form skills necessary to ensure respect for human rights in business operations, including implementing human rights due diligence;
  • to raise awareness as to the process of developing National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights and other policy and legislation developments;
  • to contribute to development and strenghtening of a network of BHR experts and practitioners and to raise awareness of business and human rights in the region of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The CEE&CA Summer Academy aims at providing participants with the core Business & Human Rights knowledge as well as the skills and tools essential to operate in this field. Examples from different areas of the world and on different themes will allow the identification of cross-regional and cross-cutting issues and enable a global and multidimensional understanding of the topic and ability to follow and understand the relevant developments at a national, regional and international level. Additionally, by being based on a participatory approach, the Summer Academy also aims at developing and reinforcing personal critical reflection and peer-to-peer learning.

Upon completion of the CEE&CA, Summer Academy participants will have gained:

  • An understanding of human rights in a business context.
  • Knowledge about key BHR standards, documents and approaches as well as key new trends.
  • A capacity to discuss specific areas and cases of concern.
  • Insights into how to kick-start implementation of the UNGPs in the company/organization and how to operationalise the UNGPs in business day-to-day practice.
  • The ability to identify multi-faceted aspects of BHR issues.
  • Understanding of the progress and obstacles to ensuring greater respect for human rights by business and a recognition of the more viable forms of cooperation, and hear from the point of view of companies, states and affected rights-holders.


The time zone of all Summer School activities is Central European Summer Time (UTC+2).

The II CEE&CA Summer Academy is held across 5 working days between 25 September and 1 October 2024.

Participants will also have access to the additional pre-Summer Academy reading and video materials to help them get familiar with the vocabulary.


The Summer Academy brings together an outstanding faculty of eminent international academics, educators and professionals to provide a unique learning experience spanning both theory and its practical application.

A list of the lecturers of the CEE&CA Summer Academy on BHR complete with their bios is provided in the downloadable booklet (Lecturers).

Maxime Belingheri

Human Rights Manager, L’Oréal

Dr Nadia Bernaz

Associate Professor of Law at Wageningen University

Dr Dorothee Cambou

Assistant Professor of Sustainability Science, Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki

Prof. Jernej Letnar Černič

New University (Ljubljana, Slovenia) / European University Viadrina (Frankfurt (Oder), Germany)

Dr Rebecca DeWinter-Schmitt

Associate Program Director, Investor Alliance for Human Rights

Beata Faracik

Co-founder and President of the Board at the Polish Institute for Human Rights and Business

Dr Samentha Goethals

Assistant Professor in Business and Society at SKEMA Business School

Marian Ingrams

Director of OECD Watch

Dr Jacqueline Kacprzak

Counsellor CSR Unit, Polish OECD NCP for Responsible Business Conduct, European Affairs and International Cooperation Department Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy

Murat Karypov

 Project coordinator, The human rights movement Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan

Bartosz Kwiatkowski

Director of the Frank Bold Foundation

Assistant Prof. Chiara Macchi

Lecturer in Law at Wageningen University & Research – Law Group

Dr Claire Methven O’Brien

Baxter Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the School of Law of the University of Dundee

Dr Siniša Milatović

Business and Human Rights Specialist, UNDP HQ

Prof. Peter Muchlinski

International Commercial Law, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

Olya Peneva

 Founder and Executive Director, Bulgarian Foundation for Business and Human Rights 

Ron Popper

Chief Executive Officer, The Global Business Initiative on Human Rights

Dr Agata Rudnicka

University of Lodz, Faculty of Management

Julie Schindall

Senior Leader and Advisor on Business and Human Rights

Andrea Shemberg

Chair, The Global Business Initiative on Human Rights

Ella Skybenko

Eastern Europe/Central Asia Senior Researcher & Representative

Dr Olena Uvarova

Associate Professor of Law, Head of the International Lab on BHR at Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University

Mark Wielga

Director of NomoGaia

Organizational issues

Important dates:

Application deadline: July 14th, 2024 (23:59 CEST). DEADLINE EXTENDED till JULY 21st, 2024 (23:59 CEST)

Applicants will be informed about the results of the admission process by: July  29th, 2024.

    Online format

    The Summer Academy will be conducted via video conferencing software – ZOOM. All times are CEST (Central European Summer Time/Warsaw).

    Participants must have access to appropriate computing facilities as well as a reliable internet connection to enable full participation in the online sessions.

    To ensure active participation in the session, it is expected that participants will be signed into the meeting platform under their full name and surname and will have their cameras turned on. In special circumstances, participants can request permission from the organizers to be relieved from this obligation.

    Pre-reading material

    For best learning outcomes, participants should have the background knowledge necessary to follow a course by reading through the course instructions and materials as well as listening to a series of short recordings provided prior to the Summer Academy to the accepted participants.


    All sessions of the 2024 Summer Academy will be conducted in ENGLISH. All reading material and pre-reading material will also be in English.


    The CEECA Summer Academy was designed to address the needs of professionals such as final year students, CSR/RBC/ESG specialists, business executives, government officers, lawyers and policy makers, human rights defenders, civil society representatives, researchers, as well as other public- and private-sector practitioners from Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia countries (see section on Recruitment criteria for the list of eligible countries), who are interested and are/want to be actively engaged in business and human rights work and wish to gain a multidimensional understanding of current developments, key issues and possibilities for change to the established models.

    We aim at individuals caring for the social good and committed to driving change in their organizations and beyond.

    When you attend the CEE&CA Summer Academy on Business & Human Rights, you will be part of a cohort of max. 30 outstanding participants from different countries and sectors.

    Additionally, up to 3 reserve list participants will be allowed to participate in the three first days of the Summer Academy. They will not be required to pay the deposit. A statement confirming participation in the theory section of the Summer Academy will be issued upon request.

    The selection will be based on the evaluation of the application, as well as taking into account regional representation, and ensuring a gender and professional balance. Request for a fee waiver will not have any impact on the admission decision.

    Anyone who is uncertain about whether the Summer Academy is suitable for their needs or their background should contact the Summer Academy team for advice: ceeca-academy@pihrb.org


    To be eligible for the Summer Academy, applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:

    • Be a national / citizen of one of the following countries: Countries belonging to the Eastern European States Regional Group in the United Nations and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.
    • Have a good working knowledge of English (proved by certificates but self-certification is also admissible. The organizers reserve the right to organize an online interview to test the English skills of the applicants)
    • Have at least a basic knowledge of human rights confirmed by either attendance of a university course (add a scan of grades obtained to your email), or completing a non-academic course on Human Rights (please add certificate(s) or any other evidence of attendance). [Note: It is possible for an applicant to be accepted conditionally. In such a situation s/he will be requested to complete, prior to the Summer Academy, an online course on Human rights organized by the Council of Europe, Amnesty International or the United for Human Rights Platform (Basic Human Rights course is available in several languages incl. English and Russian)].

    If you meet the criteria listed above you can apply.


    Certificate of Participation

    At the end of the Summer Academy, participants who have participated at a minimum of 90% of the classes scheduled between 25 September and 1 October 2024 and who have passed the test will receive a certificate confirming their participation.

    All participants who receive the Certificate of Participation will have the opportunity to become members of the CEE&CA BHR Association.

    How to apply 

    In order to apply you need to:

    • complete and submit an online application form, specifying:
      • Surname, name, date of birth, citizenship,
      • Affiliation and role/position within the organizaiton,
      • Address and contact details for any communication,
      • Level of proficiency in English,
      • Education and professional history,
      • Whether you would like to be considered for the Fee waiver.


    • send by email to ceeca-academy@pihrb.org
      • A CV or Resume (PDF only, in English).
      • A motivation Letter (1 page single spaced – PDF only, in English) explaining why you want to attend the course and how you will use the knowledge obtained in the future.
      • a copy of the documentation confirming a basic knowledge of human rights and a working knowledge of English (certificates, copy of the student grade book with the grade/mark for any Human Rights Course; a certificate of completion of a course in Human Rights provided by another organization, etc.). If you do not have any external document to confirm those, please provide explanation in your motivation letter.

      The deadline for submitting applications is July 14th, 2024, 23:59 CEST. DEADLINE EXTENDED till JULY 21st, 2024 (23:59 CEST)

      All applicants who submit their completed applications on time will be informed about the outcome of their applications via email by July 29th, 2024.

      Successful candidates will be requested to pay within 3 weeks of receiving information about being selected to take part in the Summer Academy a non-refundable fee of 250 Euro or – in case of fee waiver, the 25 Euro deposit (the deposit will be returned to them at the end of the Summer Academy, subject to participation in a minimum of 90% of the sessions held). [Note: Participants can apply to have also the deposit fee waived (i.e. not to have to pay the deposit), in the case of  circumstances making such payment impossible.] Should the fee not be paid within this deadline, the place will go to the next person on the reserve list.

      Organizers foresee also a short reserve list. Applicants who find themselves on the reserve list, will be allowed to participate in the first 3 days of the Summer Academy.


      The call for applications – CLIK HERE!

      Fees and fees’ waivers

      CEE&CA Summer Academy cost is set at 250 Euro per person, to be paid within 3 weeks of receiving confirmation of participation in the Summer Academy.  The organizational costs are higher, however the lower fee is possible thanks to funding from Sigrid Rausing Trust and pro-bono engagment of other actors.

      Participants from NGOs, academia, public administration and students, can request at the time of application for the Summer Academy to have the fee waived, on condition that they will participate in a minimum of 90% of classes held.

      The admitted participants whose course fee will be waived, will be required to pay a small fee of 25 Euro to ensure that minimum administration costs are covered in the case of their withdrawal before the end of the 2024 Summer Academy.

      NOTE: Participants can apply to have the administration fee waived (to be allowed not to pay the deposit), in the case of personal fiscal limitations or other circumstances making such payment impossible. In such stiution we will request that a statement from an employer is provided confirming that the person will be granted study leave or will be given possibility to participate fully in the Summer Academy in the working hours, or will be given posibility to take annual leave. Also participant will be requested to provide a personal statement confirming their committment to participate in minimum 90% of all sessions. 

      The participation in a minimum of 90% of all sessions and passing a test at the end of the Summer Academy is required to obtain a Certificate of Participation. [In case participation is affected by the circumstances outside of control of an individual (e.g. blackouts of electricity possibly due to conflict), organizers will work with the affected participant to ensure they have access to the recordings of the missed sessions.]

      How can we help?

      Should you have any questions or would require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

      CEE&CA Summer Academy Secretariat email: ceeca-academy@pihrb.org


      We look forward to welcoming you at the CEE&CA Summer Academy!

      GDPR Information Clause

      The Summer Academy GDPR Information Clause can be accessed HERE

      Contact details




      • Beata Faracik, LL.M., PIHRB
      • Dr Olena Uvarova, YMNLU


      • Aleksandra Wardak


      The Summer Academy 2024 is possible thanks to partial funding from Sigrid Rausing Trust funding and pro-bono engagement of PIHRB, YMNLU, GBI, UNDP and other organizations.

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