MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law: What Our Alumni Say

Portrait of Pleun Andriessen Portrait of Pleun Andriessen

25 January 2021

Pleun Andriessen graduated from our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ) back in 2019.

She currently works as Programme Manager for the NGO Syrians for Truth and Justice on a project related to the current constitution-building process in Syria. In the North-West and Northeast of Syria, she organizes consultations with civil society representatives and members of the Syrian Constitutional Committee to provide a space for those who are often not heard in such processes. They are encouraged to share their perspectives on the constitution building process, to voice their opinions and concerns to the professionals sitting at the negotiation table, and are kept informed about the negotiations. By creating these spaces for discussion, documenting the diverse views, and communicating these, her project aims at contributing to reaching an inclusive constitution in Syria.

In parallel, Pleun is also responsible for setting up a new scholarship programme and implementing an inclusion and diversity policy for a new Bachelor and Master programme in Creative Business Studies at U.NXT, located in Eindhoven.

What are the Strengths of the Programme?

The international aspect of the programme was one of its biggest strengths. Bringing together people with different backgrounds, experiences, cultures and perspectives really created a unique interaction between students. We also had the chance of having inspirational teachers and learned a lot from each other while working together on one of the many group assignments.

Furthermore, the programme approached the field of transitional justice from different angles. There was a strong academic dimension, but it also included some high-quality practical assignments, including internships, negotiation simulations, and policy-related projects. This balance is often absent in high-quality education, where the former is often considered more important than the latter. This is therefore definitely another strengths of this programme.

How was Teaching?

The teachers were inspirational, professional, and brought a lot to the courses. Their experiences and unique teaching styles brought the content of the courses to a more profound level, connected to contemporary cases.

Your Best Memories of the Programme?

My best memories range from social events with my classmates, many intriguing lectures from inspiring guest speakers, to the study trip to Poland.

What Did it Bring to your Career?

The balance of academic and pro-active learning turned out to be greatly beneficial to my career. Whereas the academic tools and knowledge gave me a critical perspective and disciplined way of working – something that employers still value –, the practical case study assignments provided me with the tools to work pragmatically and allowed an easier transition from academic to work life.

Do you use what you learned in class in your work?

Yes, I especially use the skills that allow me to approach an assignment or project from multiple angles that intersect. The analytical skills I acquired during my year at the Geneva Academy also allow me to gain a deep understanding of a specific context’s complexity. The group work also prepared me for working in international and diverse teams.

Would you Recommend It?

I would recommend the programme to anyone who is internationally oriented, understands the importance of addressing human rights issues using a multi-layered approach, and is seeking ways to close the gap between civil society, grassroots organizations and (inter)national executive powers in post-conflict situations.


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This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, reviews the origins of international criminal law, its relationship with the international legal order including the UN Security Council and its coexistence with national justice institutions. The scope of international crimes – genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression – is considered alongside initiatives to expand or add to these categories.

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Cover page of the book Publication

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published on July 2019

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