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

Anastasiya Marchuk is the Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Office in Odesa, Ukraine which covers three southern regions of Ukraine affected by the ongoing conflict.

Before joining the ICRC in November 2015, she worked for the European Union Border Assistance Mission with a focus on the Transnistrian settlement. Anastasiya studied international relations, with an academic interest in conflict contexts, particularly in the Middle East. She is currently enrolled in our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict and follows the programme online.

Why did you choose the Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict?

Working in an extremely charged and volatile environment, I wanted to broaden my legal expertise in the field to help me better understand the context, legal framework and mechanisms of international law. After all, ICRC is the guardian of international humanitarian law (IHL), and I felt that it was both a privilege and an obligation to explore the law of conflicts profoundly.

What are the highlights of the programme?

I was particularly interested in the programme as it includes a comprehensive curricular on different branches of international law, from the founding principles of public international law to specifics of the law of non-international armed conflicts or refugee law. Importantly, each course is taught by renowned academics and practitioners, who offer valuable first-hand accounts of landmark events in the history of international law.

How is distance learning?

The possibility of studying online was one of the top things that attracted me – due to family and work commitments, attending classes in person was not an option. Another advantage is that your classmates are from all over the world, and the variety of contexts and backgrounds enrich the discussions immensely. On the downside, I do miss the face to face interaction, but COVID has prepared us all for the new reality, so no complaints.

Can you easily manage following this programme and working at the same time?

With the outbreak of the international armed conflict in Ukraine, it has become more difficult for me to attend classes due to the intensity of the workload but it is very helpful that there are recordings of each class available – I can easily catch up when I have time. The tutorials at the end of each module are also great tools to systematize material and practice in applying the new knowledge to hypothetical situations.

What will it bring to your career?

My supervisor was actually very supportive of me applying for the programme and I think it’s a clear indication of its added value to my professional development. And today, with the developments in Ukraine, I feel more than ever the usefulness and practical applicability of the knowledge I receive at the Geneva Academy – the whole system of international law is being challenged here and now.

Would you recommend it?

I would definitely recommend it but also highlight that it is a long-term commitment – not a pleasure cruise but a serious academic undertaking. Still, totally worth it.

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