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.

Georgia Law 3L Chanel Chauvet begins term as Student President of International Law Students Association

Chanel Chauvet, a Dean Rusk International Law Center Student Ambassador and member of the J.D. Class of 2018 at the University of Georgia School of Law, has turned to social media to reach the global membership of the International Law Students Association, whom she now serves as 2017-18 Student President.

In the YouTube video above, she offers her

“deepest gratitude for the confidence that the International Law Student Association chapters all around the world have placed in me and members of my administration.”

That team of student officers were elected earlier this year by vote of the chapters. Chanel adds:

“I would also like to thank the faculty at the University of Georgia School of Law and my family for their support.”

Also thanked were predecessor presidents, among them Kaitlin Ball, who earned her Georgia Law J.D. in 2014 and is now a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Politics & International Studies at the University of Cambridge, England. They are the 2d and 3d Georgia Law students to hold the position; also leading ILSA while a student was Richard Alembik (JD’91).

My student in a number of international law classes and a presenter at Georgia Law’s IntLawGrrls conference last spring, Chanel is working this summer as a Legal Fellow at CARE headquarters in Atlanta. Last summer, she earned a Certificate in International Humanitarian Law at Leiden Law School’s Grotius Centre in The Hague, Netherlands. Prior Exchange of Notes blog posts by or about her are here.

Her ILSA statement looks forward in particular to ILSA’s 2 signature events, the International Law Weekend set for October 19-21 in New York, and the Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition, final rounds of which will occur in April 2018 in Washington, D.C.

¡Brava!

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!

Georgia Law’s annual Advocate magazine features our Center

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This Spring 2016 photo depicts Pedro Dorado, our Center Fellow, who earned his LLM in 2015 and is a candidate for the Georgia Law JD degree in 2017, and 4 of our Student Ambassadors. At left are Danielle Glover and Taryn Arbeiter, both now 2Ls; at right are Chanel Chauvet, now a 2L, and Olga Gambini, who earned her Georgia Law LLM in 2014 and JD in 2016.

Very pleased that our Dean Rusk International Law Center is featured in the just-released Advocate, the annual magazine of the University of Georgia School of Law. Highlights of the volume include the May 2016 commencement address of alumna Sally Yates, now Deputy Attorney General of the United States, and much more. The article recounting our 2015-16 achievements – “Center undergoes exciting changes” – appears at page 24, along with a version of the photo above. It’s reprinted here in full.

Georgia Law’s 38-year-old Dean Rusk International Law Center continues to expand its collaborative efforts and increase opportunities for both students and faculty to focus on global legal issues.

Led by Associate Dean for International Programs and Strategic Initiatives & Woodruff Chair in International Law Diane Marie Amann, the center itself has a new, modernized look that also acknowledges the rich history of international scholars who have greatly influenced the direction of the law school. Artwork is a focal point, including portraits of former U.S. Secretary of State and Sibley Professor of International Law Emeritus Dean Rusk, the center’s namesake, and the inaugural holder of the Woodruff Chair in International Law, Louis B. Sohn, namesake of the center’s Sohn Library on International Relations.
At an October rededication ceremony, Kannan Rajarathinam (LL.M.’88), who serves as head of office for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, delivered a keynote address titled “The United Nations at 70: Pursuing Peace in the 21st Century.”

New to the center this year are Director of Global Practice Preparation Kathleen A. Doty, Administrative Assistant Martica Marín and Executive Administrator Elena Williams. They join Amann and Director of International Professional Education Laura Tate Kagel (J.D.’06). Assisting them are second-year student Pedro Dorado, the Dean Rusk International Law Center Fellow, and about one dozen other student ambassadors, who provide research and other support.

In addition to hiring new staff, the center broadened its adviser base. The Dean Rusk International Law Center Council, comprising faculty, alumni/alumnae and counselors, includes lawyers practicing in a variety of international and transnational law subfields throughout the world.
Center initiatives include study abroad in Europe and opportunities to obtain practice experience through the Global Externship At-Home and Global Externship Overseas. GEA offers placements within the United States in legal departments, government offices and nongovernmental organizations, while GEO offers summer placements in a variety of law-office settings around the world.

Numerous events are planned for the 2016–17 academic year. Among them is a Sept. 23 conference – sponsored by the center, the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law and the International Committee of the Red Cross – at which experts will examine the new Geneva Convention Commentary edited by ICRC Legal Advisor Jean-Marie Henckaerts (LL.M.’90).

Summer 2016 GEOs: Georgia Law students ready to take on the world

GEO blog post photoThis summer, ten law students will benefit from international placements through the Global Externship Overseas, or GEO, administered by Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center.

These students have been awarded funding to enable them to earn legal training in law firms, in-house legal departments, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations around the world. Practice areas span a range, including refugee law, property law, criminal law, corporate law, and cultural heritage law.

2016 GEO participants include several rising 3Ls, who are headed to Europe and Asia:

► Bradley Dumbacher – GÖRG, Cologne, Germany
► Shirley Kathryn Griffis – Maples Teesdale, London, United Kingdom
► Brenny B. Nguyen – Boat People SOS, Bangkok, Thailand
► Jianan Zhang – Lenovo & Han Kun Law, Beijing, China

Numerous rising 2Ls also will be working ’round the world:

► Megan Alpert – GÖRG, Cologne, Germany
► Victoria Barker – DLA Piper, St. Petersburg, Russia
► Decker McMorris – Tosetto, Weigmann e Associati, Milan, Italy
► Claire Provano – Studio Legale Associato Rossini, Turin, Italy
► Carson Stepanek – Tosetto, Weigmann e Associati, Milan, Italy
► Hannah Mojdeh Williams – Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

We congratulate them all on their GEO acceptance, and wish them an enriching summer. Can’t wait to hear travel notes!