In their drive to complement their collegial learning experience at Hamad Bin Khalifa University College of Law and Public Policy (CLPP) with a global outlook, Juris Doctor (JD) students are encouraged to apply to international programs and engage in a range of prestigious summer learning opportunities each year. One such student, Wafa Trad, Class of 2019, recently embarked on a three-week summer course in ‘Public International Law’ at The Hague Academy of International Law on her initiative, where she partook in a series of theoretical and practical course modules including visits to the permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and a number of diplomatic embassies.
The academy, housed within the Peace Palace – a primary administrative building of international law that dates back to 1913 is located in The Hague, the Netherlands – sports a demanding curriculum that is delivered by renowned international academia and industry experts. Its summer program covers an extensive range of governance topics including state responsibility, cybercrime, state immunity and the role of reparations in international law. It also addresses pertinent legal research areas such as environmental law and the debate on the return of cultural objects.
Notably, the program’s unique location at the ICJ – the arbitration center of international law – enabled Trad to gain valuable insights into the organization’s work. As the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN), the ICJ settles legal disputes between member states and gives advisory opinions to authorized UN organs and specialized agencies.
Elaborating on her visits to the ICJ, Trad said: “Luckily, I was able to visit the ICJ twice in different capacities. During my first visit, which took place as part of the academic program, I was simply enthralled by the magnificence of the historic building that has borne witness to the rule of international law for decades. However, my second visit coincided with the Order Reading in the case of Qatar vs. UAE and this offered me a unique educational experience to witness the UN’s highest court hearing an international dispute. Observing the court in order, rather than reading about it in law books or journals, is an incomparable experience. I was able to fully grasp the court’s fundamental sense of reasoning and rationale.”
Speaking on how the experience benefitted her educational specialization in ‘Law and International Affairs’, Trad stated: “Gaining immediate exposure to in-depth academic discussions with judges, professors and lawyers, who represent the global elite of the legal profession, presented a unique chance to cultivate a more critical perspective that I plan to apply within my current and future studies of the law. The Peace Palace itself was a unique melting pot of cultures, religions and languages from all over the world, joining together to immerse themselves within a common academic pursuit of justice. As such, it was an incredible social experience that widened my professional network and perspective, while allowing me to gather inspiration for my forthcoming research at CLPP.”
The first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa region, CLPP is an innovative legal training program focused on interdisciplinary learning within a diverse educational environment that draws on real-market insights and practical placements to complement the student experience. “Through my participation in this diverse forum, I feel more confident that great efforts are being made at CLPP to deliver us with an outstanding education that is able to compete consummately on an international level,” she concluded.
Since the Peace Palace summer program began in 1923, it has attracted thousands of students from over 100 nationalities to this renowned center for high-level education in both public and private international law. As a top-tier legal program, CLPP successfully prepares students such as Trad to engage in educational events of this magnitude where they can confidently partake in legal dialogue and seminars alongside their peers, which include PhD and Master’s-level practitioners and researchers from around the globe.
As many alumni of the summer program have subsequently gone on to become well-known academics, lawyers and diplomats, Trad may soon join their ranks following her graduation from CLPP in May 2019. As part of the JD program, Trad and her classmates represent a growing generation of thought-leaders whose academic and professional strides contribute to the collective framework of the Qatar National Vision 2030.