MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law: What Our Alumni Say

Portrait of Sahar Ammar Portrait of Sahar Ammar

11 January 2021

Sahar Ammar graduated from our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ) back in 2017.

She currently works as Project Associate in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) department of the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) in Geneva. In this position, Sahar focuses essentially on the Libyan conflict and the North African context and is engaged in HD’s mediation efforts aiming at supporting the peace process in Libya and the peaceful settlement of the Libyan crisis. Prior to that, Sahar conducted several research projects on questions related to conflict resolution and transitional justice topics including on truth commissions, enforced displacement, and housing, property and land rights (HLP) in the MENA region.

What are the Strengths of the Programme?

The programme provides an open space for students to share comparative experiences and lessons learned from the international context. It tackles and covers in great depth all aspects of transitional justice (TJ) that range from the truth revealing process, reparations, reconciliation, dealing with the past, to questions of justice, human rights, and international humanitarian law. In addition to classes, the programme also provides discussion platforms through a series of TJ café and seminars during which students can develop comprehensive knowledge on comparative case studies. And last but not least, the programme offers internship opportunities with a wide array of organizations that help students consolidate their academic and practical knowledge.

How was Teaching?

The teaching strategy is instrumental in developing the expertise of students in transitional justice and improve their research and practical skills. The programme allows students to combine theory and practice through lectures, practical work, field studies, and internship opportunities. It brings together expertise from diverse fields as well as leading academic experts and practitioners. The interactive classroom environment encourages students to think actively and places them at the heart of the transitional justice field.

Your Best Memories of the Programme?

I can list two unforgettable memories, among others. The first was at the very start of the programme when the Head of the Tunisian Truth and Dignity Commission came to speak about the Tunisian experience in transitional justice at the opening lecture. I felt very proud to see that the path of transitional justice in Tunisia was being presented and discussed. This shows again the broad diversity of case studies in the programme. The second memory was the study trip to Nuremberg, which was fascinating and enlightening. During the trip, I learned a lot about the Nuremberg process and its major contribution to international criminal law and the criminal justice process as a key pillar of transitional justice.

What Did it Bring to your Career?

The programme allowed me to be exposed to a considerable diversity of comparatives experiences and contexts. It helped me to develop a sustainable knowledge network and strong research skills. It was also instrumental in acquiring knowledge and practice in a wide array of disciplines related to transitional justice.

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

I am certainly using all the knowledge and skills I learned in class. Through my work in supporting the peace process in contexts of armed conflicts and political crisis, transitional justice has always been a key element raised by stakeholders during peace talks and political negotiations. The sustainable settlement of a crisis cannot be successfully achieved without addressing key transitional justice questions such as dealing with the past, reconciliation, guarantees of non-recurrence, etc. Therefore, the knowledge and skills that I gained during the program are very crucial for my work.

Would you Recommend It?

I definitely recommend this programme for those who are passionate about transitional justice and who are willing to engage in multidisciplinary classes that tackle different aspects, experiences and approaches to transitional justice. This programme is a great opportunity to develop your knowledge, skills, expertise and network, and to meaningfully engage in a learning experience that will pave your way into your career on transitional justice and human rights.

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