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MUNPlanet: Please introduce yourself and your programme to our community.
My name is Marie-Eve Augier and I am the Program Coordinator of the Program of Advanced Studies on Human Right and Humanitarian Law. This Program is sponsored by the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law of American University Washington College of Law in Washington D.C. and is going on its 17th year of operation. Our Program is an intensive three-week immersion into the field of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law where persons can gain practical experience and develop crucial skills. We welcome over 40 Faculty and 150 students from around the world with wide ranges in backgrounds and experience.
MUNPlanet: For the ones in a hurry, tell us why should everyone choose your programme over other similar programmes?
The Program convenes an impressive Faculty from all over the World. Many of these persons do not teach elsewhere, and they are so busy with their work, that access to them, for persons outside their institutions, is very limited. In addition, many of them are Practitioners and at the forefront of the field. They include Special Rapporteurs and Committee Members of the UN, Judges from international tribunals like the ICTY and ICJ, Experts from international NGO’s and inter-governmental organizations. We also have a remarkable line up of 20 courses in English and Spanish covering a range of specialized topics most relevant in the Human Rights field today.
MUNPlanet: Students attend programs such as yours to improve some of their existing skills or acquire the new ones altogether. What are some key skills that the participants will be able to improve/acquire by attending your program?
Well, it really depends on the courses students are taking. As I mentioned before we have 20 specialized courses that cover a range of topics. All Faculty go through the evolution of the field and the mechanisms that practitioners have at hand to solve the issues within that specialized area of Human Rights.
MUNPlanet: If we imagine that there was a perfect candidate/applicant for your programme, what would the qualifications of this person be?
In our applications, we look for those persons who have demonstrated experience and commitment to law, human rights and humanitarian law. We welcome applications from law students as well as legal and other human rights professionals.
The Program starts with an opening and welcome ceremony on the evening of May 30. We confirm students’ classes, let them register for our extracurricular events and give them all the necessary information to succeed over the next three weeks. Classes occur every day but at lunchtime, we host several different events for our students as part of our Human Rights Month. These include panels with policy makers and experts from local NGO’s, a film series and visits to some of the international organizations based here in DC. On Friday evenings, we always host an event for the students to blow off a bit of steam at the end of the week.
MUNPlanet: To make amazing things, you need an amazing team and, judging by the quality of organization, yours is much more than that. What’s the number one lesson every organizer should know?
Be prepared for everything! I’ve been doing this for 4 years here at AUWCL and for several before elsewhere and one thing I have learned is so many things come up during the Program that you have to be prepared to think on your feet and make sure things run smoothly. We do our utmost best to make sure that everyone has a great time and is successful in their courses (and exams if they decide to take them).
MUNPlanet: Would you consider international character as an important part of any programme and is this something you would like to achieve?
Definitely, and we certainly do achieve that! Our Faculty and Participants come from all over the world, over 25 countries last year and more in others. We are always looking for ways to recruit in new areas.
MUNPlanet: Besides learning more about human rights and humanitarian law, your participants have the opportunity to stay in US capital and learn more about its history. Could this be another deal-maker when it comes to applications?
The Program definitely takes full advantage of its location in Washington DC giving our students unrivaled access to policy makers, international organizations and events whilst in the city. One of the Friday Night Events I spoke about earlier is a Night Tour of the Monuments at the end of the first week. It’s a great way to see the main attractions of DC and learn the history of the city. In fact, if persons mentioned that they learned about us on MUNPlanet, we will give them a free ticket to attend that event!
One thing our students always leave the Program with an entirely new network. Our participants and Faculty love to keep in touch with each other no matter where they are in the world. We have had students get internships with some Faculty they met whilst here in DC or even full-time job offers from other more established participants. We have also had students return to take different courses in the Program or pursue one of the full-time degrees here at AUWCL.
MUNPlanet: Besides human rights related programmes, can we expect similar ones from Washington College of Law?
AUWCL has several summer programs around the same time that cover different topics within the legal field, and participants are more than welcome to take courses from those Programs as well.
MUNPlanet: What have you prepared for after program hours? Is D.C. up for a social activities task?
DC is a city that has ample events going on at any one time of all different types and AUWCL is located right in the middle of it! Students will have the option of heading to a local club and joining us for a Barbeque.
MUNPlanet: Once your programme is over, what is the one sentence that you would like every delegate to leave with?
‘The Program on Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law 2016 was an invaluable and enjoyable experience. I learned so much, met so many new people and had fun doing it all!’
Marie-Eve, thank you for devoting your time to MUN Spotlight and telling us more about you and your program. MUNPlanet is looking forward to your event and strongly advises all MUNers to check it out. Good luck and we wish you all the best!
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