21 December 2017
In this interview, Emilie Di Grazia, currently enrolled in our Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law, tells us about the programme, teaching, life in Geneva and what she plans to do after.
I am Emilie, I come from Québec, the French-speaking region of Canada. Before studying at the Geneva Academy, I completed a Bachelor’s Degree of Social Sciences, specialized in Conflict Studies and Human Rights at University of Ottawa in Canada, where I was a Teaching Assistant and the Coordinator of the Indigenous Arts, Culture, and Human Rights Summer School.
I have volunteered in numerous organizations, such as the Human Rights Clinic of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, the Canadian Red Cross and the International Development Journal as an undergrad researcher, campaigner and freelance writer. I enjoy traveling, reading and I speak French and Italian.
A combination of factors made me choose this programme: an interest in understanding the dynamics of conflicts, the belief that the international legal system, through ideas of inclusion, human rights and cooperation, could generate effective solutions to conflicts and finally a personal desire to understand better what it means to reconcile after traumatic past events. The Geneva Academy imposed itself as the best academic institution to prepare me to the professional career I aim for. Its curriculum and focus on practice through opportunities for clinical work, the field trip and internships made it clear that it would lead me to gain tools no other university could provide.
The most interesting aspect in the programme is without a doubt the fact that everybody comes from different background, professionally and culturally, making the class so interactive and enriching. Also, the interaction between the law and social sciences, important to me as well for the field of transitional justice itself, makes the programme most complete.
The best things about the classes are the fact that professors are renowned, leading academics and practitioners, and they are able to share ‘real’ insights of the field. The emphasis on student participation and dialogue is very enriching.
In the future, I strive to work as an advocate, researcher and field officer for human rights organizations in difficult contexts of war-torn and fragile states. I have taken a specific interest to further analyse post-conflict situation where there is a ‘negative peace’, and I am also focussing on the Western Balkans region.
Geneva, for a student of international human rights, is absolutely amazing – there are many conferences, offered both by academic institutions and international organizations, that allow you to learn even more about the world we are about to enter. In addition, the many international students who come from all over the world to study here makes the environment fascinating and interesting – from one place, you get to have cultural experiences and interaction that few cities in the world can offer.
This particular spot is both striking and meaningful to me; on my first day in Geneva, as I was sitting in the Villa Moynier, I could see the peak of Mont-Blanc and I remember thinking how beautiful this scenery was. I since then often been there, writing essays, reading, taking in the atmosphere. Makes it much easier to deal with the pressure of finals!
Last month, students of our Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law travelled to Nuremberg where they visited key transitional justice sites, met leading experts and exchanged with other students from Germany and Israel.
Mpho Somhlaba is a South African Diplomat responsible for humanitarian issues at the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the UN in Geneva and is currently enrolled in our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict.
This event marks the launch in Geneva of the new book by Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, UN Independent Expert on Debt and Human Rights, which discusses the responsibility of Pinochet’s economic accomplices.
U.S. Mission Photo/Eric Bridiers
From 2012 to 2015 the Geneva Academy hosted the Adviser to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence Pablo de Greiff.
As a comprehensive attempt to ‘codify’ universal accountability norms, the UN Principles marked a significant step forward in the debate on the obligation of states to combat impunity in its various forms. Despite this significance, no comprehensive academic commentary of the 38 principles has yet been provided so far. This project seeks to fill this gap.