Sara Soltani was born to an Iranian family of musicians in Austria. Surrounded by classical music, she also played the flute at the conservatory, was a member of the Youth Symphony Orchestra and graduated at the music high school in Vorarlberg (Austria). She got her Bachelor’s degree in social and cultural anthropology and her first Master’s in political science at the University of Vienna. She completed a Master’s programme in human rights at the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC), where she studied in Venice for her first semester and in Copenhagen at the Danish Human Rights Institute for her second semester. She wrote her first master’s thesis about the political instrumentalisation of women’s rights in Iran and the second about human rights in the context of music. For her second thesis, she interviewed Maestro Barenboim on the promotion of human rights and equal treatment through music, the founder of the association United Heartbeat on the right to participate in cultural rights and the founders of Tehran Flute Choir and Bridge of Art on the freedom of musical expression in Iran. This master’s thesis got rewarded and will be published soon. By co-organising a cultural human rights festival in Venice in 2016, she was awarded with the E.MActivism Prize. Besides her studies, she also gained practical experience in the field of human rights and aid organisations. She worked at the Asylkoordination, Caritas and Nachhilfe Zuhause, where she gave German, French, Math and English lessons to unaccompanied refugee minors. Furthermore, she was an intern at the Austrian Commission for UNESCO. Since Sara was one of the best 15 graduates of her Master’s programme, an internship has been offered to her. She will be starting this internship at the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) by February 2018. Currently she supports the Tehran Flute Choir as an administrative assistant. Sara speaks German, English, French and Persian fluently and is currently improving her Italian skills.
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