ILHR Fellows Share their Experiences with International Fieldwork

The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, in cooperation with the Institute for International Law and Justice, awarded 34 fellowships during the 2012-2013 academic year for current law students to conduct fieldwork through international summer internship placements. Students accepted placements at 25 prominent institutions, inter-governmental, governmental and non-governmental, in sites across the globe. Six students reflect on their experiences below:

ILHR Fellow Marzieh Tofighi Darian (LL.M 2013 on right) with ILC Commissioner Marie Jacobsson of Sweden during Marzieh’s 2013 internship at the International Law Commission in Geneva, Switzerland.

Marzieh Tofighi Darian, LL.M 2013

International Law Commission, Geneva, Switzerland

“I had the opportunity to work with a great Commissioner which made this internship unique for me. And being in an environment and hearing legal debates about very sensitive and important topics from knowledgeable persons in the field of international law taught me a lot. I was interested in international law before the internship but this experience helped me to have a more realistic view of a career in this field. I am sure what I learned both in substance and how Commissioners work and interact will be useful in my future legal career.”

Bianca Isaias, Class of 2015

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Amman, Jordan

“The experience of working with UNHCR in Jordan was incredibly rewarding, providing huge insight into refugee law, international criminal law, international humanitarian law, and international human rights law. I was in close contact with young lawyers from all around the world who shared their experiences working in their own countries and internationally, as well as with persons working in the camps who spoke of the conditions and challenges there. UNHCR does important work that directly impacts people’s lives.  I was extremely lucky to work in its Amman office, not only because of the work I did, but also because of the incredibly intelligent, professional and friendly people I had the opportunity to work with and learn from.”

Noah Lawrence, Class of 2014

Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Tel Aviv, Israel

“I had a wonderful internship at ACRI: substantive research and writing assignments, with concrete opportunities to work for legal and social change; the warmest set of co-workers and supervisors I’ve ever had the privilege to work with, bar none; and an enriching and inspiring experience living in Israel. I would highly recommend this internship to anyone who is looking to spend a summer using the law to serve the causes of justice, civil rights, and human rights.”

ILHR Fellow Rebecca Riddell (Class of 2015, 3rd from left) with colleagues during her 2013 internship with the Zhicheng Public Interest Law Firm in Beijing, China.

Rebecca Riddell, Class of 2015

Zhicheng Public Interest Law Firm/ Beijing Migrant Workers Legal Aid and Research Center, Beijing, China

“I found my internship to be an incredibly thought-provoking and rewarding experience. Every day was an education in the challenges faced by workers’ rights litigators in Beijing, and in the growth of a dynamic Chinese NGO. Because I am interested the role of claims-making in improving global working conditions, this was an especially valuable experience. It gave me a lot of food for thought as far as barriers to improving labor rights and working conditions, and the staff could not have been more helpful in answering every question I put to them.”

ILHR Fellow Matthew Simon (Class of 2014) with colleagues on a visit to the South African Constitutional Court during is 2013 internship with the Constitutional Litigation Unit of the Legal Resources Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Matthew Simon, Class of 2014

Constitutional Litigation Unit of the Legal Resources Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa

“The South African Constitution contains extremely progressive language, but, to this day, many provisions remain relatively untested and implementation lags far behind its promises. In this environment, public interest attorneys, including those at the LRC, are playing a major role in progressively developing the Constitution and shaping the future of South Africa. Interning at the LRC’s Constitutional Litigation Unit was a unique opportunity to engage with these exciting and developing areas of South African law and assist in cases being argued as high as the Constitutional Court, an experience I would likely not have received in an internship in the United States.”

Amy Wolfe, Class of 2015

Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, Dhaka

“BLAST’s aim is to make the Bangladeshi legal system just and accessible to the poor and marginalised, especially women and children. Their approach is comprehensive in that it involves direct legal aid services (including mediation services) coupled with reform initiatives, both inside and outside the legal system. The BLAST staff is positively delightful and they are one of the most respected NGO’s in Bangladesh. Working there opened many doors and provided me with incredible opportunities I never would have had if I had worked for a different organization. In this regard, my experience was very rich indeed.”

ILHR Fellow Amy Wolfe (Class of 2015, 4th from left) with a litigant and his family outside a village court in Madaripur, Bangladesh during Wolfe’s 2013 internship at the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust in Dhaka.