MAS in Transitional Justice: What our Alumni Say

11 January 2024

Maeva Réné-Barry graduated from our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ) back in 2021. As an Advocacy Officer at the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), she notably advocates for institutional changes at international and regional levels and conducts field missions to gather victim testimonies.

In this interview, she tells about the programme, fond memories and what it brought to her career.

In your opinion, what are the strengths of the programme?

The strength of the MAS in Transitional Justice lies in its multidisciplinary approach, which not only allowed me to reinforce existing knowledge in international law but also introduced me to crucial subjects for professionals, such as Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS). It provided a unique opportunity to humanize the hard knowledge of law by challenging it in a more humane context. The diverse student backgrounds and the presence of experienced academics and teachers with renowned careers further enriched the learning experience, offering practical insights and valuable perspectives on the nuanced aspects of transitional justice.

Tell us about your current job: what are your main responsibilities?

As an Advocacy Officer for the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), I undertake a pivotal role within a global organization comprising over 160 member centers worldwide. I've always been into helping victims heal and get back on their feet, even before I joined the MTJ. In my current role, I'm living out that passion by working on reparation and rehabilitation. Placing victims at the centre of transitional justice has always been my priority, given their enduring suffering. My responsibilities involve supporting our members in the United Nations (UN) reporting processes, advocating for institutional changes at international and regional levels, and conducting field missions to gather victim testimonies for our legal experts.

How do you apply what you learned in class in your work?

The knowledge gained in the programme, particularly in international human rights law, diverse socio-political settings, and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS), forms the foundation of my daily work. Understanding international legal frameworks allows me to support our members effectively in UN reporting processes. The insights into different political contexts empower me to navigate and influence change at the international and regional levels. Moreover, the emphasis on MHPSS equips me with the tools to approach the rehabilitation and psychosocial support of torture victims with sensitivity and effectiveness.

Could you share some highlights or fond memories from your time in the programme?

Even though the programme was mostly done online due to the pandemic, it was made awesome by simple things like strolls and relaxing baths in Geneva with my classmates. These moments added to the whole experience, making my education journey memorable. The graduation ceremony and celebration were the big finish, capping off a major chapter and giving me memories that will stick around. We celebrated our year together, and I remember feeling very emotional and proud of our group.

In what way has this experience contributed to your professional growth?

Being situated in Geneva, a hub of professionals in the field, facilitated unparalleled professional growth. Surrounded by skilled individuals, including our teaching assistants, I had the opportunity to build a strong network, engage in meaningful conversations, and attend relevant events. The international composition of my classmates, representing a myriad of countries, added a humane dimension to the experience, fostering cultural diversity and global perspectives.

Would you recommend this programme to others considering similar career paths?

Absolutely. Attending the MAS in Transitional Justice programme has been a unique and privileged experience. Its strategic location in Geneva provides a key connection to the professional world I aspired to be part of. I consider myself fortunate to have undergone this programme, and while the city may be expensive, the benefits and experiences gained make it worthwhile. I would recommend applying after gaining a few years of professional experience to fully appreciate and extract the maximum benefits from the programme.

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