After completing a course in international law during my second year of law school, my interest in international law was piqued and I wanted an experience substantive law on the international stage. At the end of my 2L year, OU Law provided me with just that opportunity as I embarked on my trip to the Republic of Kosovo to intern at the Constitutional Court.
Although I had first-hand knowledge of the country I was unsure of what to expect from this recently established institution. This uncertainty was quickly banished and any of my expectations were exceeded thanks to the welcoming and professional staff of the Constitutional Court.
As part of my internship, I first had to get acquainted with the admissibility criteria of referrals (petitions) established by the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”). At the Court, I worked closely under the guidance of the Legal Unit in filtering, translating, researching, and drafting preliminary reports on admissibility of the submitted referrals.
In the first few weeks I was also lucky enough to take part in a couple of seminars set up by the Council of Europe, under its Support to Implementation of the European Human Rights Standards Project. These seminars were conducted by Council of Europe legal experts and concerned Article 5 and the complex nuances of the civil and criminal limbs of Article 6 of the ECHR.
Professors Evelyn Aswad, Joseph Thai, and Mary Sue Backus, along with the Public Interest Law Student Association (“PILSA”) and the Oklahoma International Law Society (“OILS”), were instrumental in securing this unique opportunity for me.
Professor Aswad provided me with the platform and guidance to secure this internship, which can be difficult to find for anyone that is not on the east or west coast or from the one of the Ivy League schools. Professors Thai and Backus, working with PILSA, were indispensable and extremely supportive in my pursuit of this internship and provided me with the avenues to significantly defray the costs. Without their valuable assistance and contributions, this wonderful and worthwhile experience simply would not have happened.
On a personal note, it was extremely rewarding and meaningful for me to return to Kosovo, my country of birth, after I immigrated to the United States more than sixteen years ago. It is truly a dream come true to be able to return and have a small role in the promotion and protection of human rights in this region.
Interning abroad has been a truly worthwhile and fulfilling experience as you learn about other cultures and, more importantly, other people’s perspectives. These experiences provided me with valuable insight that will certainly prove to be applicable towards any situation and career in the future. Lastly, I highly recommend that anyone interested in international law or public interest to pursue all options at OU Law. Given the dedication, knowledge, and the networking prowess of the professors at OU Law, the chances of landing the ideal internship or externship opportunity are heavily weighted in your favor.
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