Student Rebecca Wackym on her GEO at Hebron Rehabilitation Committee

This is one in a series of posts by University of Georgia School of Law students, writing on their participation in our 2017 Global Governance Summer School or Global Externship Overseas initiative. Author of this post is 2L Rebecca Wackym, who spent her 1L summer as a GEO, or Global Extern Overseas.

For six weeks this summer, I lived and worked in the ancient and industrial city of Hebron (in Arabic, “Al-Khalil”) in the southern West Bank. Hebron is often touted as a “microcosm” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And for good reason: Hebron’s contested Old City district is home to both 30,000 Palestinians and 500-800 Israeli settlers, the latter protected by approximately 2,000 Israeli troops.

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At the center of the Old City and the conflict in Hebron is the Ibrahimi Mosque. It is the burial place of the patriarchs of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Leah. It is the oldest religious building in the world that has been continually used for its original purpose, and it is the only religious building that serves as both a mosque and a synagogue. Much like the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock area, the Ibrahimi Mosque has been the subject of a tug of war between the Israelis and Palestinians since the occupation began.

The organization I worked for, Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC), is on the front lines of the battle for cultural heritage rights. HRC succeeded in its efforts to designate the Ibrahimi Mosque and the Old City of Hebron as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Danger. During my time in Hebron, I worked with the Legal Unit of Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, which was founded to respond to human rights violations against the Palestinian citizens of the Old City, particularly violations pertaining to personal and public property.

Wackym6.jpgThe Legal Unit of the HRC uses several legal and policy strategies to achieve this purpose. These include: filing domestic complaints against Israeli Defense Forces orders; filing complaints with various international human rights bodies; conducting international awareness campaigns; and directly educating Palestinians about their rights. I had the opportunity to work on several of these complaints. On one filed with the United Nations Human Rights Council, I did research on Israeli case law.  My research involved the exhaustion of domestic remedies requirement in the context of road closure cases, in which the courts typically do not get involved if the closure can be justified by a “security-related” reason. I also wrote a complaint to the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. For this project, I conducted interviews with victims, compiled evidence, and researched relevant military orders and case law.

The transition from living in the United States to living in a conservative, Muslim-majority place was daunting, but my supervisor, Nicole Trudeau, did everything she could to ease the culture shock. She introduced me to her Palestinian friends and invited me to eat with local residents of the Old City. I felt very welcome and even at home during my time in Hebron. The professional culture was more relaxed than in the United States – the office closed at 3 pm, and tea breaks were customary– but I was surprised to find that it was also almost as progressive. Women outnumbered men in the office and had leadership roles. It was an eye-opening to see a conservative culture value women in the workforce.

During my externship with HRC, I received an invaluable education not only in human rights, cultural heritage, and humanitarian law practice, but also in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and their respective cultures. I spent weekends traveling all over Israel and the West Bank. I spoke with members of the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian soldiers, young people in Tel Aviv and Ramallah, settlers in Hebron, and local and international activists just trying to make the situation better. The experience was absolutely incredible. And I will never forget the friends I left in Hebron. Salam!

An adventure in Germany: GEO student Nick Duffey on his externship at GÖRG

This is the 1st in a series of posts by University of Georgia School of Law students, writing on their participation in our 2017 Global Governance Summer School and Global Externship Overseas initiatives. Author of this post is 2L Nick Duffey.

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Before my Global Externship Overseas, I had an interest in transnational business, taxation, and trade, but I did not understand how businesses from different countries resolved their disputes. After spending my 1L summer working at GÖRG, a law firm in Cologne, Germany, it is amazing how much more perspective I have on international business law and practice.

International business transactions affect our everyday lives, from the products we use to the services we need to maintain our lifestyles and businesses. Most transactions, whether for the manufacture and shipping of products or for services rendered by a party from one nation to another, contain arbitration clauses or provide for another means of alternative dispute resolution. These dispute resolution mechanisms were the precise focus of my work at GÖRG.

My favorite project during my internship was an emergency arbitration at the 20170707_134329.jpgInternational Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration. The entire process, from start to finish, lasted only fifteen days. During this intense period, I was given a particular issue to research, and I was thrilled when the material I found was cited by the arbitrator in the order. The opportunity to see the whole arbitration action from start to finish, and to be integrated into the team working on the project, was very interesting.

I also worked on a project to compare the cost and rates of various arbitration institutions with the cost of litigating in the German court system. The goal was to determine the price at which each arbitration institution broke even with German courts. This required a lot of math and conversion of different currencies. Ultimately, I wrote a memo on my findings and created a presentation to demonstrate to clients the value of arbitration.

20170702_200454.jpgLiving and working in Germany was an adventure. The GÖRG building sits just north of the Deutzer Brücke, a bridge over the Rhine River in Köln; that is, Cologne. It is a modern building with seven floors. I shared an office with a German intern, and she was very helpful when I had questions about the German courts and legal system. I am also grateful to Christof Siefarth, a partner at the firm and an LL.M. graduate of Georgia Law, for his mentorship during the course of the summer and for organizing my externship.

In my free time, I had the chance to participate in cultural events and to travel within Germany. During Kölner Lichter, an annual festival of lights, people from all over Germany flocked to the city to watch the boat parade on the Rhine. I took a day trip south of Köln to visit Castle Drachenfels, a beautiful castle with a rich history. I also spent a weekend in Berlin, a must-see city in Germany. I enjoyed wonderful brunches until late in the afternoon, and visited sights such as the Brandenburg gate, Museum Island, and the Berlin Wall memorial, including the East Side Gallery.

Participating in a GEO at GÖRG is one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I have a new interest in arbitration, and I plan to apply to work at an international arbitration center this coming summer. I look forward to building a career in this field because I want to better understand the way businesses clash and resolve issues on an international level. This summer was amazing not only because I garnered valuable practical legal experience, but also because I got to do so on a wonderful adventure that I will remember for life.

GEO student Zack Lindsey publishes in Global Atlanta

geo2University of Georgia School of Law second-year student Zack Lindsey published an article in Global Atlanta about his experience this summer working in Ghana.

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During his Global Externship Overseas, or GEO,  Zack spent approximately two months in Accra working with Women in Law and Development in Africa. His work focused on the implementation of the Ghanaian Domestic Violence Act of 2007; he was responsible for helping set up a volunteer court watch program, training volunteers on the law, and conducting court surveys. He describes this work as “a key issue for Ghana” because of high rates of spousal abuse, but low rates of conviction under the Act.

global atlantaZack is one of twenty Georgia Law students who participated in the GEO initiative this summer. His article in Global Atlanta, a partner organization of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, draws parallels between the challenges facing victims of domestic violence seeking redress in Ghana to Georgia.

Polish law students and practitioners invited to free webinar October 24 on LL.M. study at Georgia Law

1Law students and lawyers in Poland are invited to register for a free webinar on postgraduate study at the University of Georgia School of Law. It’s set for 17:00 CET on Tuesday, October 24, and will focus on our Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree, a one-year offering for foreign-trained lawyers.

As detailed in this web posting from EducationUSA, our partner in this outreach effort, this informational session will be hosted by Dr. Laura Tate Kagel, our Center’s Director of International Professional Education. Maria Kachniarz, now in her final year of J.D. studies at the University of Georgia School of Law, who is originally from Poland, will also be available to answer questions from prospective applicants about studying law in the United States.

Details on how to join the webinar here. Explore the Georgia Law LL.M. degree here.

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Seeking Associate Director for Global Practice Preparation: Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center

sign2We’re looking for a self-initiating, globally minded individual to lead the Global Practice Preparation portfolio here at the Dean Rusk International Law Center, University of Georgia School of Law.

The Associate Director for Global Practice Preparation will advance our 40-year-old Center’s mission by developing and administering global practice preparation initiatives, with the support of an administrative assistant and under the supervision of the Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center.

As detailed in the full job notice, initiatives include:

A J.D. or LL.M. degree or its equivalent is required for this possession. As detailed in the full job notice, the successful applicant also will have significant experience, practice- or research-based, in global affairs, international law, and/or global legal education; proficiency in languages other than English; and experience in events planning and coordination. The successful applicant further will have an ability to travel, as well as a demonstrated self-initiating, entrepreneurial, creative, and collaborative approach to work.

Also expected is dedicated to advancing the mission of the Dean Rusk International Law Center. Named after the former U.S. Secretary of State who taught at Georgia Law in the last decades of his career, the Center has served since 1977 as a nucleus for global research, education, and service.

A PDF of the full job notice is here. To apply, click here and follow registration/application instructions, inserting the posting number 20171879 in order to reach the vacancy, captioned “ASSOC DIRECTOR ADMINISTRATIVE.”

We look forward to filling this vital position asap, so if you’re interested, don’t delay!

Georgia Law students sweeping the planet as Summer 2017 Global Externs

This summer, twenty law students will earn practice experience through our Global Externship initiative. Most will be GEOs, or Global Externs Overseas, while a couple are GEAs, or Global Externs At-Home. Some will complement this experience with participation in our Global Governance Summer School in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Administered by our Dean Rusk International Law Center, University of Georgia School of Law, the decades-old Global Externship enables Georgia Law students to gain practice experience via placements at law firms, in-house legal departments, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations around the world. Thanks to generous donations, virtually all Global Externs receive financial support from law school funds; a few receive funds from their placement. (Posts about last year’s Global Externs here and here.)

This year’s class of rising 2Ls and 3Ls will work in Africa, North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The class includes twelve students in business-law placements, in practice areas including intellectual property, finance, environment, and trade:

Taryn Arbeiter, U.S. Court of International Trade, New York, New York
► Casey Callahan – Buse Heberer Fromm, Frankfurt, Germany
► James Cox – PSA Legal, New Delhi, India
► Nicholas Duffey – GÖRG, Cologne, Germany
► Brian Griffin – PwC, Milan, Italy
► Karen Hays – Fererro, Luxembourg
► Matt Isihara – MV Kini, New Delhi, India
► George Ligon – PwC, Milan, Italy
► Nils Okeson – Maples Teesdale, London, England
► Matt Poletti – Araoz & Rueda, Madrid, Spain
► Nicholas Steinheimer – PSA Legal, New Delhi, India
► Ezra Thompson – Al Tamimi & Co., Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The remaining eight students will be in public interest law placements, working on issues such as international criminal law, international child law, and international human rights:

► Jeremy Akin – Research Assistant for Professor William A. Schabas, Middlesex University, London, England
► Lauren Brown – War Child, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
► Jennifer Cotton – Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack / Human Rights Watch, New York, New York
► Wade Herring – Open Society Justice Initiative, The Hague, The Netherlands
► Zack Lindsey – Women in Law and Development in Africa, Accra, Ghana
► Lyddy O’Brien – No Peace Without Justice, Brussels, Belgium
► Azurae Orie – Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack / Human Rights Watch, remote research from Athens, Georgia
►Rebecca Wackym – Legal Unit of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, Israel

Join us in congratulating them on their success and wishing them a great summer!

Applications now welcome for 2017 Global Governance Summer School, presented by Georgia Law & Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies

We at the Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia School of Law, are proud to partner with the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies at the University of Leuven, to present our 2017 Global Governance Summer School. The Summer School’s core events will take place June 26-30 in Belgium.

Georgia Law students will join at Leuven a target audience of: advanced students in international law, international relations, international political economy, and international and European studies; and practitioners and policy experts who wish to update their knowledge on developments in global governance and international law. We partner institutions welcome applications from such individuals; register here.

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Peace Palace at The Hague in the Netherlands, home of the International Court of Justice

Our Georgia Law students will begin their European journey with a 3-day professional development trip to The Hague, site of many international legal institutions. Plans include attendance at the trial  of Prosecutor v. Ongwen at the International Criminal Court, touring the Peace Palace and a briefing at the International Court of Justice, and an audience with a judge and legal advisers at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal.

Our students then will travel to the centuries-old University of Leuven, one of Europe’s premier research institutions, to take part, alongside other participants, in the Belgium-based Global Governance Summer School. The program is as follows:

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University Library, University of Leuven, Belgium

► June 26-28, participants will attend classroom seminars on issues of international law and global governance, including global economic and trade governance and global human rights, rule of law, and security governance. Instructors include the Summer School’s co-directors, Georgia Law Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann and Leuven Professor Jan Wouters, along with others from both universities: from Georgia Law, Professor Harlan Cohen and Kathleen A. Doty, our Center’s Director for Global Practice Preparation; from Leuven, Dean Bart Kerremans, Professors Horst Fischer, Dominik SteigerGeert Van Calster, Drs. Matthieu Burnay and Nicolas Hachez, and Senior Researcher Philip De Man.

► Next, on June 29, Summer School participants will participate in International Law and Global Governance in a Turbulent World, an expert conference featuring three panels composed of scholars and practitioners from around the world:

  • Global Governance of Human Rights. How to enforce universal values in contested world?
  • Global Governance of Democracy and Rule of Law in international perspective.
  • Global Economic and Trade Governance in Protectionist Times. Will we see the emergence of trade wars in the coming years?
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Headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Brussels, Belgium

► The Summer School will conclude on June 30 with a professional development trip in Brussels, where students will visit the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the office of the global law firm Sidley Austin LLP.

Further information here; registration for the Belgium-based components of the Summer School here.