LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights: What our Alumni Say

Virginia Raffaelli before the Grand Théâtre in Geneva Virginia Raffaelli before the Grand Théâtre in Geneva

9 February 2021

Virginia Raffaeli graduated from our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in 2020. She works now as Research Officer for the Geopolitics and Global Futures Programme at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). As part of her work, she conducts research and publishes articles and policy papers on the security challenges of ‘tomorrow’ for the global order, which include the impact of new technologies – such as artificial intelligence and hypersonic weapons – or the 21st-century‘ space race’.

What are the Strengths of the Programme?

I believe there are two key ones.

First, the teaching: we had a number of amazing experts in their respective fields and most of them combine teaching with fieldwork or previous or contemporary experience practising as lawyers and legal advisers.

Second, and in my opinion equally important, the people. From the incredible teachers to the Geneva Academy staff and an amazing and diverse class, the community of people you become a part of is truly a strength of this programme. I genuinely feel like my learning experience would not have been even half as good if I had not met all these people. In fact, I learnt just as much from my classmates as I did from my teachers, due to their different experiences, interests and passions. I also could not have asked to make better friends and cannot wait to see what the future holds for us all.

How was Teaching?

As I previously mentioned, teaching is one of the fortes of this LLM. The professors and teaching assistants do not just bring academic expertise to the table, they offered us their experiences working in this field and shared their passion and commitment to improving the lives of people worldwide.

Your Best Memories of the Programme?

I think my best memories of the LLM are for me and my classmates’ memories only!

Despite the insane amounts of studying we had to do to stay on top of the programme and the difficult situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have so many incredible memories from both in and outside of class. The February 2020 study trip to Belgrade, Sarajevo and Budapest probably tops them all. Not only did we learn so much about the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, but we also had so much fun together and really bonded as a class.

What Did it Bring to your Career?

Despite the fact that I am not currently working on something that is strictly human rights or IHL related, my LLM at the Geneva Academy has definitely played a huge part in this step in my career and I believe it will equally in all the years to come.

From the Geneva Academy’s reputation to all the skills and knowledge it left me, the LLM definitely gave me the tools to be an excellent researcher and human rights advocate.

Do you use what you learned in class in your work?

Yes absolutely! Although a large part of my current research focuses on the disruptive impact of technology on the world as we know it, my understanding of its interplay with global peace and security stems from my human rights and IHL law background at the Geneva Academy. From understanding privacy rights and accountability issues to rules and regulations governing warfare and weapons, I am definitely putting my knowledge and experience to good use!

Would you Recommend It?

I would absolutely recommend this programme! It was an incredible opportunity, which I would not have exchanged for any other. Despite the disruption brought to our lives and to the teaching by the COVID-19 pandemic, I still firmly believe that this will be an experience that I will never forget and which taught me more than I could ever have asked for.

 

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