Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict: What Participants Say

16 May 2022

Mona Koehler-Schindler works as an Associate Human Rights Officer on Anti-Terrorism Issues at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

Prior to joining ODIHR, she served as a member of NATO’s International Staff in Afghanistan and Belgium. From 2017 to 2019, she worked as a Political Advisor to the NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan, providing political assessments and supporting civil-military cooperation in the country. Before that, she served in different capacities at NATO headquarters in Brussels, including in the Counter-Terrorism Section, the Science for Peace and Security Programme and the Strategic Analysis Capability Centre. Previously, Mona worked amongst others for the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ) in the Police Programme Africa, focusing on security sector reform in the counter-terrorism context.

Mona holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Aberdeen and is currently enrolled in our Executive Master on the International Law of Armed Conflict.

In this interview, she tells about the programme, online learning and what this will bring to her career.

Why did you choose the Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict?

Following different assignments with NATO, I’m currently working for the OSCE/ODIHR in the field of human rights and countering terrorism. The Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict allows me to complement my practical knowledge of international security and defence policy with the theoretical concepts of international law.

What are the highlights of the programme?

The programme combines high-quality education with state-of-the-art research on emerging challenges. My personal highlights are the courses on international humanitarian law (IHL), the interplay between IHL and international human rights law (IHRL), and the sharing of experiences with other participants who work in the field.

How is distance learning?

It works much better than I thought! The programme is very well prepared and communication by the Geneva Academy is excellent which makes it much easier.

OK Can you easily manage following this programme and working at the same time?

I will admit it takes some time to find a routine at the beginning but the Geneva Academy is very much aware of the challenges we face and is very flexible and supportive in this regard.

What will it bring to your career?

The Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict allows me to strengthen my understanding of international law, in particular IHL and IHRL, and thereby complements my practical experience of working in the security policy field.

Would you recommend it?

Absolutely! This programme is an opportunity to learn the legal framework of armed conflict while maintaining a job simultaneously.

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