Expanding our International Programs: A View from Both Sides

As I walked through The Hague last November, I thought back to the moment in 2012 when I found out that I would be interning at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (“ICTY”). The purpose of my return was to check in on two students completing our UN Practicum – The Hague. As I explored the city, I thought about the expansion of our global programs. As I wrote my post-trip report, I thought about the juxtaposition of these two sets of moments, past and present, and how much changed at St. John’s in roughly two-and-a-half years.

2012

I am a pioneer. I am heading to The Netherlands for eight weeks to work on a defence team at the ICTY.   I already researched the Accused and did background reading on the disintegration of Yugoslavia. I have not had time to even think about the logistics of this adventure, except that I’ve already rented an apartment on Craigslist. I hope this works out.

I am thrilled. Working abroad and studying abroad are distant relations, but I love waking up and going in to work every day. I take way too much pride in my UN badge and spend way too much time stopping by the Peace Palace every morning. I am learning all about joint criminal enterprise and the ICTY rules of procedure and evidence. I’m making friends with interns from Australia and Kenya and the USA. I should just stay in The Netherlands.

I am leaving. This has been a fantastic summer, and I am sad to turn in my badge and say goodbye to my team. I’m reviewing all the work I did this summer to ensure accuracy and a smooth transition for the next interns. I am going out for farewell dinners and intern happy hours. When I get back to St. John’s, I am going to make sure that other students are able to have experiences like these.

2014

I am an adviser. I am heading off to Europe for ten days to conduct site visits for our six students at international tribunals, academic exchanges and international organizations, and to build relationships with other UN agencies. I am being trusted to ensure that our global programs continue to expand. I hope this works out.

I am thrilled. I am visiting three students in Scotland who are absolutely in love with Glasgow. I am visiting Vienna and speaking with supervising attorneys and interns at multiple UN agencies. I am visiting our student at NATO and spending a day learning about his semester. And I am visiting The Hague and getting jealous of our two students at the ICTY. I should just stay in The Netherlands.

I am leaving. This has been a fantastic trip and I look forward to visiting future students in Geneva, Rome, Nairobi and other UN locations.  I am reviewing all the notes from my meetings and figuring out what kind of follow up work needs to be done. When I get back to St. John’s, I am going to make sure that other students are able to have experiences like these.

* * *

As we continue to expand our global programs, my goal is for all students to experience our international offerings. Whether you worked at the UN before law school or don’t have a passport, there are so many ways you can take advantage of the fine work our Center for International and Comparative Law and our Office of Transnational Programs do on a daily basis.

A 1L internship in Nairobi, summer study in Rome, working at a UN agency in Geneva for a semester and being part of the Dean’s Travel Study Program are some of the most obvious ways that you can get involved. But they are not the only ways. Taking courses in international and comparative law, taking part in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition,   interacting with the foreign students at St. John’s and going to lectures on international topics in Manhattan are some of the less obvious ways that you can get involved.

Our goal is to ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate in global programs in some meaningful way. And we will continue to expand our global offerings in ways that directly benefit you! If you are interested in learning more about any of these programs, stop by my office to chat.

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