Indian PhD candidate pursues passion for international law and human rights

9 June 2023
Law School PhD student thriving in both Sydney and Nepal
Ravi Prakash Vyas, a PhD candidate at the Sydney Law School, shares his reflections on pursuing higher education at the University of Sydney.
Ravi Prakash Vyas Speaking

Originally from India, Ravi Prakash Vyas obtained a Bachelor's degree in law from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University in India before graduating with a Master's degree in Human Rights and Democratisation from the University of Sydney.

Ravi is now pursuing his passion for international law and human rights by undertaking his PhD at the Sydney Law School.

Currently based both at the Sydney Law School and Kathmandu School of Law in Nepal, Ravi is working on research into China and India’s approach towards international law as well as being involved in teaching and coordinating programs at Sydney and Kathmandu.

Why did you decide to study at the University of Sydney?

I chose to study at the University of Sydney in 2011, when I joined the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences for a Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation degree on a full scholarship, where Professors Susan Banki and Danielle Celermajer had a significant influence on my interest in human rights and moving me towards academia.

My father also pursued the same Master’s program one year before me and I incidentally followed suit, the University of Sydney runs in the family. 

Why did you decide to undertake a PhD at the Law School? 

 Sydney Law School attracts leading academics from around the world and there could not be a better place to pursue my PhD.  As one of the top ranked law schools in the world and it was an obvious choice for me after Professor Ben Saul was very kind to take me on as his student. 

What are you currently working on and why were you recently in Nepal?

My research broadly is on identifying convergence and divergence in the approach of China and India towards governing peace and security and the impact of it on the future of international law.

I have been engaged with Kathmandu School of Law, Nepal for over a decade and have taught undergraduate students international law and human rights. I have been fortunate to have experience in both governance of the institution and teaching; where I have been responsible as the secretariat head of the law school to running international programs and developing successful grant projects.

One of these responsibilities is coordinating the jointly run Himalayan Field School by Sydney Law School and Kathmandu School of Law, I was recently in Kathmandu to run the 10th iteration of the program with Professor David Kinley.

Ravi Prakash Vyas Teaching

What has been the highlight of your studies so far?

Ever since I joined my first degree more than a decade back, I have been in love with the University of Sydney; it has single handedly shaped the direction of my life for the better.

From a young lawyer pursuing law practice in the Indian Supreme Court then shifting base to academia, it has been a challenging but enriching experience and it has been due to my initial time in USYD and at Kathmandu School of Law. My eyes have been opened to a world of possibilities, and I have been privileged to be a part of this university.

It has put me on the map in a true sense; for example, I am currently on the Governing Board of three leading institutions in the world; as an Elected Council Member of the Global Campus of Human Rights (GCHR), Governing Board Member of the Foundation for Development of International Law in Asia (DILA) and Co-opted Council Member for Australia and New Zealand Society of International Law (ANZSIL).

I am also fortunate to be teaching as a casual academic for Public International Law at the Sydney Law School to JD and LLB’s with world leading academics, what better learning experience can one hope for while pursuing a doctorate.

What do you hope to do once you have completed your study?

After finishing my doctorate, I would like to continue researching and teaching in the area of international law, peace and security, human rights, international politics, and relations. 

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