LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights: What our Students Say

Lisa Borden in Front of the Palais des Nations in Geneva Lisa Borden in Front of the Palais des Nations in Geneva

14 January 2020

 In this interview, Lisa Borden, currently enrolled in our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, tells us about the programme and life in Geneva.

About Me

My name is Lisa, and I came to Geneva from the South-eastern United States. I was a practising trial lawyer in the US for 30 years, spending the last ten of those years as the pro bono partner at a large law firm. My practice included civil rights, postconviction death penalty, and prison conditions litigation, as well as other issues of criminal justice and poverty. I have two college student daughters back home. I enjoy cooking (and eating), reading, jazz music, and yoga.

Why did you choose the LLM at the Geneva Academy?

In addition to my litigation practice in the US, I was fortunate to also work closely with a US NGO with consultative status at the United Nations (UN) and was able to visit Geneva several times, advocating on human rights issue before a number of treaty mechanisms and at the Universal Periodic Review. These experiences led me to become interested in how I could apply international laws and mechanisms to issues of professional concern to me. Of all the programmes I researched, the LLM at the Geneva Academy stood out as the best choice because of the high calibre of the professors and, of course, its location in the midst of the human rights and humanitarian law community in Geneva.

What are you particularly enjoying about this programme?

The quality of instruction has exceeded my expectations – our professors are not only brilliant and knowledgeable, but their breadth of high-level professional experience and expertise means that they are often on the cutting edge of developing fields. And, despite some trepidation, it has been invigorating for me to be in classes with people who are mostly decades younger than myself.

What are you planning to do next?

My general thought about my future work, when I decided to come to the Geneva Academy, was that I would seek a position with an NGO doing international human rights investigation and advocacy, similar to the one with which I partnered while practising in the US, and that may very well be what I wind up doing. But I have become aware of so many other options since coming here, and I have an open mind. I’ll be looking for a position that allows me to put both my Geneva Academy education and my prior experience to work to help address violations of human rights.

Why did you choose to be photographed in front of the Palais des Nations?

Working as a volunteer NGO advocate at the UN was my very happy introduction to Geneva, and what prompted this new chapter of my life.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Sana’a, Hay Soufan district. Damages caused by the fighting. News

New Book by Professor Andrew Clapham Examines How the Concept of War Affects the Application of the Law

29 June 2021

In his new book War, our Former Director and Faculty Member Professor Andrew Clapham discusses the relevance of the concept of war today and examines how our notions about war continue to influence how we conceive rights and obligations in national and international law.

Read more

Computer screen with html code News

New Working Paper Discusses the Relevance of Smart Mix of Measure in AI Governance and Regulation

1 October 2021

Our new Working Paper discusses how current initiatives on the regulation of artificial intelligence technologies should incorporate the protection and respect for human rights.

Read more

Traditional dresses Event

Minority Issues and Universality

1 December 2021, 10:00-11:30

In this Human Rights Conversation, panelists will reflect on the principle of universality of human rights – and associated challenges – in specific relation to the advancement of minority issues at the UN.

Read more

An aerial view of camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), which have appeared following latest attacks by M23 rebels and other armed groups in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Short Course

International Refugee Law

9 March - 13 April 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.

Read more

Screenshot of the RULAC webpage Project

Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC)

Started in May 2007

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project (RULAC) is a unique online portal that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). It is primarily a legal reference source for a broad audience, including non-specialists, interested in issues surrounding the classification of armed conflicts under IHL.

Read more

Futuristic Robot Arm Interacting with Screen Project

Disruptive Technologies and Rights-Based Resilience

Started in July 2021

This project will facilitate a multistakeholder consultative process to identify knowledge gaps, generate new evidence and co-design evidence-based tools to support regulatory and policy responses to human rights challenges linked to digital technologies.

Read more

cover of the publication Publication

Promoting Quality Independent and Diverse Treaty Body Membership

published on November 2021

Claire Callejon

Read more