Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Isis Satori Reis, Programme Officer for the Zimbabwe Programme, witnessed harsh inequalities throughout her youth. ‘I never got used to it. The environment in which I grew up shaped my will to contribute to society, in one way or another’, she says. During her teenage years, Isis discovered rights and freedoms and started to gain interest in human rights, an area which she found particularly rewarding.
‘I decided to study International Relations during my bachelor. In the course of my studies, I deepened my knowledge of Human Rights’.
From very early on, Isis started to develop a particular interest in China. This interest, combine with her passion for human rights led her to go study at Sciences-Po Paris for half a year.
‘Sciences-Po Paris offered compelling courses on the topic of human rights in China. Such courses were not available in Brazil.’
Inspired by one of her professors in Paris, Stéphanie Balme, Isis went on to study at Lund University, where she wrote her masters’ thesis on China’s influence on norm shaping at the UN Human Rights Council in Lund.
Following her graduation and eager to apply and develop her passion and interest for human rights, she undertook several internships, notably in New York at the United Nations and in Brussels for the European Union. She later returned to Sweden for an internship at RWI and four years later, Isis fully committed to working with the Professional Training Programmes in the Zimbabwe programme.
‘I started working with the professional training programmes for the Zimbabwe Programme in 2018. Since then, the programme has grown significantly- it includes new staff and involves more actors, and more partners – for a greater impact.’
Isis’s great interest in, and passion for Human Rights and her hopes for a better world drive her work.
‘Having organised several Professional Training Programmes, one of the things that strikes me, is how effective and fruitful it is to bring people together. With our PTPs, we make sure representatives from different sectors meet to discuss and work on Human Rights topics. With the world being so divided, I believe it is crucial to help dialogue happen, share experiences, and consider ways forward as a collective.’
One of Isis’s main work goals, and the aspect of her work which she finds the most rewarding, is bringing different stakeholders together:
‘If we manage to create spaces in which people can talk freely and find common ground to find a way to move towards the same goals, I think that we have done a really good job.’