It's the middle of Summer and the Academy is in full swing again! Last week, the Public Law Session came to a close, but before saying goodbye to this wonderful group of people from all over the world, we were fortunate to meet a couple of students who were eager to share with us their thoughts and experiences at the Academy. Here is what they had to say:
Ms. Jing Geng, J.D., LL.M. Doctoral Student at Católica Global School of Law. (USA)
For years, I’ve dreamed of attending the Hague Academy of International Law. This summer, I had the privilege of participating in the course on Public International Law. In fact, the experience has far exceeded my already high expectations. For instance, I have had the good fortune to follow the Directed Studies Course which has allowed me to deeply engage with the most dynamic issues in international law. For two afternoons each week, I study with colleagues representing fifteen different nationalities!
In general, the opportunity for dialogue and for broadening my perspectives has been invaluable, especially in these uncertain times where some nations have increasingly begun to draw inward rather than toward the greater international community. Not only have I had the chance to attend social events with the brightest students of international law and relations, I have also seen my classmates studying intently at the Peace Palace Library, which brings me great joy!
In terms of my doctoral research, the resources at the Peace Palace Library have been phenomenal. My project focuses on the complex issue of human trafficking, and the Library research guide on this topic has been comprehensive and a critical bibliography. I am deeply impressed with the extensive collection of books about trafficking in persons.
Between following the Courses, reading in the library, visiting international institutions in The Hague, socializing with new friends, meeting Judges, and debating issues of international law and affairs, there is not much time for rest. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm at the Academy is palpable. I am grateful for the warm hospitality and graciousness of the staff and instructors at the Academy and at the Library. If only the program was more than three weeks!
Mr. Lorenzo Riccio, Master Degree in Law in University of Naples Federico II and Doctoral Student in International Studies of the University of L’Orientale, Italy
Having the opportunity to attend the Summer Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law can be one of the best experience of your life. You can attend the lectures of the most important professors of Public and Private international Law coming from all over the world and discussing about the more relevant and actual topics. You can also deepen your knowledge attending the Directed Studies and try to pass the extremely difficult exam for the Diploma.
For every law student and – even more - for the PhD students and all other academics, full access to the Peace Palace Library is provided with its rich, organized and updated catalogue of journals, books and all kind of publications in the field of both Public and Private International Law, which was fundamental for the progress of my thesis.
As a PhD student, I had the opportunity to attend the Doctoral Meeting in which I could discuss my problems about the thesis and confront myself with others PhD students of the same research area.
At The Hague Academy of International Law I met people from more than 90 countries of the world who were working in a various range of fields and positions, giving me the opportunity to widen my view and forge relationships that may last for life. I had also the opportunity to visit the ICC and the ICJ, attending the hearings as a part of the public, and to talk directly to Judge Giorgio Gaja, Judge Mohamed Bennouna and Judge Xue Hanquin about their work at the Cour Internationale de Justice. I really feel the importance of my experience and I am already waiting for the possibility to subscribe for the next one.
Nathalia Penha Cardoso de França, Brazilian Law Student at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo.
Being able to attend a Summer Course at The Hague Academy of International Law is undoubtedly the best academic opportunity in an international law student's life.The Peace Palace and its five institutions, namely: the Academy, the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Peace Palace Library and the Carnegie Foundation, provides us an inspirational atmosphere, cutting edge facilities and an a staff heavily prepared to help the students, practitioners and scholars in their academic and professional lives. I am truly greateful for this opportunity, specially for the high level lectures, conferences, classes, social activities and official visits to international Courts and Tribunals in The Hague. I believe the Course gave me a great perspective on both the historical views of international law and the emergence of this new generation of international jurists.
Yeshi Lhamo from Bhutan
The Hague Academy of International Law has been an amazing experience, being able to learn in depth about laws from well renowned professors and having access to the Peace Palace Library to read on the different areas of International Law. Meeting different people from different parts of the world and understanding their perspective on law and the world has been a huge delight to me. As a student I believe it is important to be able to exchange ideas, for then is how one can learn and understand. To be able to attend lectures at the Peace Palace is an awe moment, one can feel the ambience of peace here. The Library has been a place where one can be able to sit for hours yet feel like time has just flown by with so much to read. The friendliness of the librarians is a wonderful act as they have always been helpful. The experience has been one I shall always remember for it is where I have been able to learn as well as socialise and have come to understand the concept of International Law from different perspectives from different people.
Evelyn Torre Janampa, Professor of Public and Private International Law at Peru, Universidad San Martín de Porres - Universidad Tecnológica del Perú. PhD. Candidate at Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos
There are some experiences what one can remember for a lifetime, which generate feelings that may simply not be accurately described by words: I believe The Hague Academy of International Law is a unique institution that has given me, through their scholarship, an unforgettable opportunity that certainly qualifies within this description.
The Hague Academy of International Law offers an exceptional environment to learn more and more regarding the vast field of public international law. I personally enjoyed not only the variety of the courses and seminars, but also the honour to speak with judges of the International Court of Justice. I was more than joyful to have the chance to walk on a daily basis next to the historical institution of the Peace Palace in order to attend advanced courses on international public law with brilliant colleges.
Each time I have entered through the gate of the Peace Palace, I have this intense feeling of gratitude and proudness as I, a doctorate student from Peru teaching public and private international law, have the unique opportunity to learn in the international environment offered by The Hague Academy of International Law.
Times flies when you enter to the Peace Palace Library, it brings back these wonderful feeling that make me choose International Law in the first place. The vast diversity of books reminds me that learning about international law is a never-ending task. There is a warm spirit of respect and courtesy I have witnessed here among members of the international community. I am sure that when I teach in Peru I will communicate my passion and everything I’ve learned thanks to the scholarship that I granted.
Terfè Gerotto, Law Student , University of Bologna, Italy
I am Terfè and I am an Italian law student attending the fourth year at the University of Bologna. I am really passionate about international law and I am writing my master thesis in this field, that is the reason why I decided to attend the Summer School on International Public Law at the Hague Academy of International Law. I had many expectations before coming here, since it is one of the most prestigious institutes for International Law, but after these three weeks, I can say it definitely exceeded my expectations.
It is not only about classes with outstanding lecturers and experts of international law, but it also about the environment. I had the chance to attend some informal meetings with judges of the ICJ, I attended a hearing of the ICC (International Criminal Court),and the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates invited us for an informal meeting. It gave me the opportunity to spend three full weeks with international lawyers, Ph.D. students, law students and judges from all over the world.
It is also a human experience: I had the possibility to get to know other cultures, really different from mine and new friendships started. This year we were more than 300 people with more than 90 nationalities and I think it is something unique and the perfect environment in order to create an important network.
For all these reasons, I strongly recommend people to attend this summer school, either in case you have already decided what to do after graduation or in case in which you still are on your way and you are not sure yet about what to do next, because this experience will give you many inputs and it will definitely widen the range of opportunities for your future.
Martin James Martinez (USA) , Attorney at Law, Member of the California and New York Bars
" An experience to remember"
When the time finally arrived for classes to begin, the air glistened with excitement as the students for the Public International Law session for the year 2017 gathered at the entrance to the Peace Palace. The Hague Academy of International Law had summoned students to the halls of higher learning. The long flight from San Francisco had left me jet lagged. Yet, the magic that was in the air helped alleviate the jet lag. The “joie de vivre” had engaged me with anticipation of the things to come. Although I had attended the Private International Law session in 1992, I still was not sure what awaited me twenty-five years later. Gazing at my fellow students, it became evident that there was a huge age difference between myself and the other students. I was approaching seventy years of age. Self consciousness and uncertainty surfaced. I began to question whether I had made the right decision to attend the academy. However, it then dawned on me that perhaps other students had their own episodes of self doubt as we entered the academy. If I was to truly taste all of the fruits that the Academy had to offer, I would have to disregard the age differences. We were all on the same path in our quest to enrich ourselves with the bounty that the Academy bestowed. More than three hundred students from approximately ninety nations from around the globe were enrolled in the program. This class was truly an international panorama of people and ideas. Everyone had come with the aspirations of sharpening their acumen of law as it relates to the world we occupy. Recent nationalistic movements have attempted to discredit the importance of international cooperation. The Hague Academy offers a viable alternative to such populist ideas.
The first morning session involved two hours of orientation. We were informed of the agenda and events that were to transpire during the three-week period. The Academy had forwarded the class readings and other materials prior to the orientation. The orientation merely finalized the enrollment process. Upon conclusion of the orientation, the academic portion commenced. Professors from throughout the world presented the various subjects in Public International Law. The morning session classes were mandatory. However, the afternoon classes were voluntary. In addition to our classes, extra curricular activities were offered. I was fortunate to attend the Bolivian and the Ukrainian embassies. I chose to visit these embassies because these two countries have cases presently before the International Court of Justice. The ambassador is the former President of Bolivia. He presented the key facts in the litigation between Bolivia and Chile. The hospitality and genuine warmth extended by the entire Bolivian embassy left a lasting impression on me. During my visit to the Ukrainian embassy, a warm welcome also was extended to the students by the Ukrainian Embassy. We were given a comprehensive insight into the litigation between the Ukraine and the Russian Federation. During the course of study at the Academy, we had encountered many of the concepts that are involved in the litigation. Accordingly, the discussion by the Embassy brought clarity to many of the topics we undertook at the Academy.
Another extracurricular activity that I participated in was attending the International War Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia. Although the court was not in session, we were still given a presentation as to the working function of the tribunals. A video was shown in which the mother of two sons killed during the conflict in Bosnia, was directly pleading to the accused defendant to reveal where her sons had been buried. This heart wrenching testimony may have caused some in attendance to become weary with sadness, but the wretched evil of genocide can never be sugar coated when revealing the truth. In my thirty-five years of criminal defense practice, I find there is one maxim that never ceases to astound me, to wit: humans are very creative when it comes to malice aforethought. A couple of days after we had attended the War Tribunals, a member of their legal staff made an excellent presentation regarding the inner functioning of the tribunals.
Finally, I wish to conclude by sharing my experience at the Peace Palace library and the City of the Hague. The library offers an extensive collection of international legal materials. Since I am a solo practitioner, I had to work on my active caseload while I attended the Academy. Since my practice is in the State of California, I had to incorporate the international criminal law collections that are located in the Peace Palace Library into my local criminal defense practice. Many of my active cases if incurred during a period of war, would be classified as crimes against humanity. Thus, I was able to review the large selection of crimes against humanity that are housed in the Library and utilize the resource materials in the defense of my clients. Moreover, the Peace Palace Library has an online data base to further enhance the research. In regards to The Hague, the Academy assisted in finding housing for my wife and me for a very reasonable price in a great section of the city. There were fantastic restaurants right outside our apartment door. The studio was located close enough to the Academy to allow me to walk to class. Although The Hague does not have the excitement of Amsterdam, it is more conducive to everyday living. Furthermore, the continuous invasion of tourists that sweep Europe throughout the Summer months seem to bypass The Hague. In summary, I will forever cherish my time at the Academy.