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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nenad Marinkovic/Enough Project
Our Strategic Adviser on International Humanitarian Law and Senior Research Fellow Dr Annyssa Bellal received a two-year grant from UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) to conduct research on armed non-state actors and their practice and interpretation of IHL and human rights norms.
Our RULAC online portal provides a detailed analysis of these conflicts, including information about parties, classification and applicable international law.
This online event will discuss experiences and outcomes of actions taken to promote the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances.
Through frontal lectures, complemented by interactive activities as case-studies and dialogues with practitioners, this online short course will provide a proper understanding of the rationale, structure and content of international law rules addressing the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery in the event of disasters and assess their impact for humanitarian actors, International Organisations and domestic stakeholders.
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.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe