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.

Global Governance Summer School enriches our study abroad tradition

Leuven Dean Bart Kerremans provides statistical analyses of the political economy of the 2017 U.S. and 2017 French presidential elections

LEUVEN and BRUSSELS, Belgium – The 2017 Global Governance Summer School may have ended, but memories linger of a brilliant week in these 2 Belgian cities.

Bicycles line sidewalks all over the University of Leuven, also known as KU Leuven

The 2017 GGSS marked the 1st summer school collaboration between our Dean Rusk International Law Center, University of Georgia School of Law, and our Belgium partner, the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies at the University of Leuven, one of Europe’s premier institutions of higher education since its founding in 1425.

At the same time, it contributed to Georgia Law’s long tradition of summer study in Belgium – a tradition that began in 1973 as the Brussels Seminar led by the late Professor Gabriel N. Wilner and supported by another Georgia Law professor, our Center’s namesake, Dean Rusk. Over the years hundreds of U.S. and European law students took part, sometimes launching careers in global practice. We’re proud to have continued the tradition with this year’s GGSS.

Leuven streetscape

As previously posted, our 2017 GGSS journey began at The Hague, political capital of the Netherlands, where students received professional development briefings at the International Criminal Court, the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, and the International Court of Justice.

The Leuven Institute is housed in the buildings of an Irish College founded in 1607

We then moved to Leuven, a centuries-old Flanders city about 15 miles west of Brussels. The lovely Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe was our home base for the week of June 25. Days were intense, while summery weather, late-evening sunsets, and endless lanes of historic buildings and convivial sidewalk cafes made for relaxing evenings.

The week began with students taking part in classroom seminars:

Leuven Professor Jan Wouters introduces global governance

Day 1 focused on “Global Governance and International Law: Concepts, Norms, Actors, and Processes,” and featured 4 lectures: “Global Governance: An Introduction” by Leuven Law Professor Jan Wouters, GGSS Co-Director and Leuven Centre Director; “A Classic Account of International Law” by Professor Diane Marie Amann, GGSS Co-Director; “International Organizations as Rulemakers” by Dr. Philip De Man, Leuven Centre Senior Researcher; “Why Global Governance?” by Georgia Law Professor Harlan G. Cohen.

Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann examines relationship between armed conflict and extraction of oil and other natural resources

Day 2 covered “Global Economic and Trade Governance,” with these lectures: “Concepts, Principles, and Issues: Global Economic and Trade Law” by Georgia Law Professor Cohen; “A Legal Perspective on Global Economic and Trade Law” by Leuven Law Professor Geert Van Calster; “International Commercial Responsibility” by Georgia Law Professor Amann; and “A Political Economic Perspective on Global Economic and Trade Governance” by Dean Bart Kerremans, head of Leuven’s Faculty of Social Sciences.

Leiden Professor Horst Fischer surveys human rights institutions

Day 3 shifted to “Global Human Rights, Rule of Law, and Security Governance.” Leiden Law Professor Horst Fischer began with a lecture on “Human Rights Governance”; then followed a lecture on “Rule of Law Governance” by as Dr. Nicolas Hachez, Leuven Centre Senior Researcher. The afternoon kicked off with a conversation on the practice of human rights law between Alison A. Smith, Legal Counsel at the Brussels NGO No Peace Without Justice, and Georgia Law Professor Amann.

Rusk Interim Director Kathleen A. Doty summarizes arms control law to prepare students for treaty negotiation exercise

Our Center’s Interim Director, Kathleen A. Doty, then led the GGSS students’ simulated negotiation of a treaty aimed at controlling the use of drones. The day concluded with a dialogue between Leuven Law Professor Dominik Steiger and Georgia Law Professor Cohen on “Withdrawal from International Organizations and Global Governance.”

These classroom sessions prepared students for Day 4, an expert conference on “International Law and Global Governance in Turbulent Times.”

Dr. Tom Pegram, University College London, addresses conference as panelists and other participants look on

Taking part in the 1st conference panel, “Global Governance of Human Rights,” were: Georgia Law Professor Amann; Leuven Centre researcher Anna-Luise Chané; Mercedes García Pérez, Head of Division-Human Rights, European External Action Service; Dr. Tom Pegram, Senior Lecturer, University College London; and Katrien Meuwissen, Development Officer, European Network of National Human Rights Institutions.

Speaking at the conference panel on “Global Governance of Democracy and Rule of Law” were: Bologna Political Science Professor Daniela Piana; Leuven Researcher Dr. Mattieu Burnay; Professor Laurent Pech, Middlesex University London; Leuven researcher Tim Courthaut; and Dr. Petra Bard of the Central European University-Budapest.

Georgia Law Professor Harlan G. Cohen (3d from right) speaks on developments in international trade

Closing the conference was a panel on “Global Economic and Trade Governance in Protectionist Times,” featuring Professor Miles Kahler, American University; Professor John Kirton, University of Toronto; Georgia Law Professor Cohen; Tomas Baert, European Commission, Head of Unit Trade Strategy; Professor Jean-Christophe Defraigne, Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles; and Professor Pieter de Wilde, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

GGSS concluded with a day in Brussels, capital of Belgium and home to many European and international legal institutions.

At NATO HQ in Brussels on final day of Global Governance Summer School: from left, Nils Okeson, Brian Griffin, Jennifer Cotton, Wade Herring, Nicholas Duffey, James Cox, Kathleen A. Doty, Kristopher Kobl, Lyddy O’Brien, Casey Callaghan, Ezra Thompson, Diane Marie Amann, Evans Horsley, and Eduard Snijders

Students took a morning tour of the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. There they learned about the work of NATO’s lawyers from member of the NATO Office of Legal Affairs, headed by Steven Hill. They lunched among NATO staffers and uniformed personnel from NATO’s 29 member states.

Alumnus Stephen Spinks briefs students on global legal practice

In Brussels’ “European quarter,” students stopped at the European Parliamentarium and then took part in a briefing at Sidley Austin LLP, a global law firm whose law practice all manner of global law fields, including trade, environment, life sciences, data privacy, and dispute settlement. Leading the briefing (right) was the managing partner of Sidley’s Brussels office, Stephen O. Spinks, who is a Georgia Law alumnus and member of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Council. As Spinks told student, he himself had studied in GGSS’ forerunner, the Brussels Seminar. He returned after receiving his J.D. degree, earned a master’s degree at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and began his career as a specialist in trade and competition/antitrust, law. Sprinks’ inspiring story capped a great week for students, many of whom are spending the balance of summer at Global Externships.

Poster outside the Koninklijk Paleis van Brussel, or Royal Palace of Brussels

Hague briefings at ICC, Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal and ICJ launch 2017 Global Governance Summer School

At the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, front from left: Ana Morales Ramos, Legal Adviser; Hossein Piran, Senior Legal Adviser; Kathleen A. Doty, Interim Director, Dean Rusk International Law Center; David Caron, Tribunal Member; and Georgia Law Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann. Back row, students Nicholas Duffey, Lyddy O’Brien, Brian Griffin, Wade Herring, Jennifer Cotton, Evans Horsley, Casey Callaghan, Kristopher Kolb, Nils Okeson, James Cox, and Ezra Thompson.

HAGUE – Briefings at key international law institutions here have highlighted the initial leg of the Global Governance Summer School led by the University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center.

Our students’ journey began with a visit yesterday to the International Criminal Court Permanent Premises (left), a tile-and-ivy structure, located in dunelands not far from the North Sea, that opened just 18 months ago. Accompanying them were Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann and our Center’s Interim Director, Kathleen A. Doty, both of whom will lecture at the summer school next week.

Outlining the work of the Office of the Prosecutor were the Prosecutor’s Senior Legal Adviser, Shamila Batohi, and Legal Assistant, Annie O’Reilly (right), with whom Associate Dean Amann works in her capacity as the Prosecutor’s Special Adviser on Children in and affected by Armed Conflict. Topics included case selection and specific cases, complementarity and state cooperation, and the role of the prosecution in relation to other organs of the court.

Then Leiden Law Professor Dov Jacobs, a Legal Assistant in Defense at the ICC and member of the defense team for Laurent Gbagbo, the former Ivoirian President now on trial before the court. Shifting from the theoretical to the practical and back again, he spoke about the nature and challenges of international criminal justice, particularly as it relates to the defense function before contemporary bodies like the ICC.

The journey continued today with a morning briefing at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, an international organization established by treaty 36 years ago as a means to settle disputes arising out of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. It comprises 3 Americans, 3 Iranians, and three members from other countries. Offering a fascinating dialogue on the history and operations of the tribunal were Dr. David Caron, a U.S. member of the tribunaland an international law professor at Kings College London, and Dr. Hossein Piran, Senior Legal Adviser at the tribunal.

(It was a treat to learn that one of Dr. Piran’s professors was the late Gabriel N. Wilner, who founded our European summer study abroad during his long tenure on the Georgia Law faculty. Holding the professorship named after Wilner is Georgia Law Professor Harlan Cohen, who will lecture in this summer school next week, along with Leuven Law Professor Jan Wouters and others.)

The afternoon brought us to the Hague’s Vredepalais (left), or Peace Palace, built in the early 1900s to house international institutions that would foster pacific, rather than warlike, settlements of disputes.

Leading discussion on one of those institutions, the International Court of Justice set up under the 1945 Charter of the United Nations, was Dr. Xavier-Baptiste Ruedin (right), Legal Adviser for Judge Joan E. Donoghue. Topics ranged from provisional measures, like those recently issued in a case involving India and Pakistan, to jurisdiction via advisory opinion (including one soon to arrive at the court, following yesterday’s U.N. General Assembly vote) or contentious case.

A question common to all 3 visits was the role of such institutions – and international law more generally – in the governance of global affairs. We’ll continue to seek answers next week, when our Global Governance Summer School moves to Belgium for classroom seminars and an experts conference with our partner institution, KU Leuven’s Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies.

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!