Transitional Justice Students in COVID-19 Times: Rich Online Social Life and Extracurricular Activities

22 May 2020

Albeit the challenging COVID-19 times and a programme that is entirely online since March, students of our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ) continued their rich social life and extracurricular activities online.

‘We are not just an ordinary group of students: we are a unique community and have remained together during these unprecedented times. With the classes going online, so did our social life and extracurricular activities’ says Nancy Chepkwony, currently enrolled in the MTJ.

Regular Online Meetings with the Co-Directors

Every two Fridays, students meet online with the two Co-Directors of the programme Frank Haldemann and Thomas Unger to discuss challenges related to the current situation, preparation of exams, as well as specific questions students might have in relation to courses, the programme or life in Geneva during confinement.

‘The situation we go through is exceptional and although we responded quickly by moving all our programmes online, our students had to adapt and reorganize their life in a very short time. This was particularly challenging for them as their families and friends are often very far away. These meetings are therefore very useful to exchange concerns, check how students are coping with both studies and confinement, and keep the community together’ explains Thomas Unger.

‘It was important for us to have such a collective place to check-in and the Co-Directors were very receptive of this’ mentions Camila Ruiz Segovia, currently enrolled in the MTJ.

Exchanges with Alumni

In order to prepare for their professional life, students organized, under the leadership of the MTJ student Ramzi Kaiss and the two Co-Directors of the programme, an online conversation with MTJ alumni.

In an online event, they had the opportunity to hear about the backgrounds, career path, responsibilities and advice of a range of alumni who are working on various transitional justice processes: Lina Rodriguez Revilla who works for the International Organization For Migration (IOM) in Colombia; Tania Bonilla Matiz who works for Colombia’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace; Solène Berthelier, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for UNDP in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Mary Diaz Marques, Programme Associate at Justice Rapid Response; Abdallah AbdelWahab, Programme Officer at Swisspeace; and Anne-Sofie Stockman, Associate in the Restoring Family Links and Missing Persons Unit at the International Committee of the Red Cross.

‘Despite the lockdown, the Geneva Academy – through our two Co-Directors, our teaching assistants, staff in the Student Office and our Student Council – managed to keep the conversations going notably by providing a unique space to explore the work of alumni operating in a diverse range of contexts and in varying capacities’ underlines Ramzi Kaiss.

Conversations with Professionals

Students are also organizing a series of events to exchange with professionals who work in Geneva or in the field on human rights and transitional justice issues for organizations like the International Labour Organization, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Population Fund and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

A discussion on the impact of COVID-19 on transitional justice processes and the rule of law –with experts from the International Centre for Transitional Justice, Nicolas Mansfield, as well as practitioners working on transitional justice processes in Colombia and Kosovo – is also in the pipeline.

‘Exchanges with practitioners provide our students with a good appraisal of professional life, of career opportunities and of the challenges one might encounter in the field. Besides allowing them to put in context what they’ve learned in class, it is also a great opportunity for them to expand their network’ stresses Frank Haldemann.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Portrait of Monica Garcia News

Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict: What Participants Say

20 April 2020

Monica Garcia works in Geneva as Executive Assistant at Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Access Campaign. She tells in this interview about the programme and what it will bring to her career.

Read more

Keyboard News

The Geneva Academy Goes Online

8 April 2020

In a very short time, our institution, like many others, had to adapt to the current situation and rethink the way we operate, work, conduct research and transfer knowledge to our students, as well as via our events and conferences.

Read more

Catherine Marchi-Uhel, Head of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) for the Crimes Committed in Syria, briefs journalists ahead of the first informal debate on the IIIM. Event

Opening Lecture: Navigating a Career in International Law

28 September 2020, 18:30-20:00

In this opening lecture of the academic year, Catherine Marchi-Uhel, Head of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism on international crimes committed in Syria, will share her experience on a career in international law.

Read more

An aerial view of camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), which have appeared following latest attacks by M23 rebels and other armed groups in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Short Course

International Refugee Law

30 April - 21 May 2021

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.

Read more

Greece, ylakio, pre-removal center. Short Course

Introduction to International Human Rights Law

22 October - 5 November 2020

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, will provide participants with an introduction to substantive human rights law. It will start with an introduction to the nature and sources of international human rights law and its place in the international legal system. The course will then provide a presentation of the main principles applicable to substantive rights (jurisdiction, obligation and limitations).

Read more

Session of a UN Treaty Body Project

Treaty Bodies Individual Communications Procedures

Started in January 2019

Read more

Cover page of the book Publication

The UN Human Rights Council: A Practical Anatomy

published on September 2020

Eric Tistounet

Read more

Cover of the publication Publication

Switzerland’s Foreign Policy and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

published on August 2020

Christophe Golay, Caroline Dommen

Read more