Law graduate Anna Szczodry participated on the Practicum in International Organisations as part of her master’s degree in International Minority Rights Law. She spent six months working for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in 2015. We spoke to Anna about her experience and how it's benefited her career.
Where was your Practicum placement?
I secured an internship with the OHCHR in Geneva where I worked for the Treaty Bodies Division.
What did your internship at the OHCHR involve?
I had the opportunity to draft, conduct legal research and provide logistic support to the Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the Human Rights Committee. My tasks required me to have an exhaustive knowledge of the provisions of the Race Convention and the Convention on Civil and Political Rights, as well as other treaty instruments of the UN system. In particular, I was responsible for monitoring issues with regard to tolerance and non-discrimination and for writing and analysing reports relating to racism. I provided support regarding the organisation and coordination of various international events devoted to the aforementioned issues, such as the 86th session of CERD and International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 50th anniversary celebration
How did this placement help your personal development?
The internship with OHCHR improved my analytical skills and allowed me to strengthen my competencies. It proved that I am a highly organised person who can work productively under pressure and manage time effectively. Moreover it gave me an opportunity to work in the international environment and collaborate with a diverse range of stakeholders. Providing support on events enabled me to further hone my knowledge of the field.
What was the impact of the Practicum on your studies at Middlesex?
This incredible and ambitious programme of study significantly enriched my academic experience and increased my understanding of the role of non-state actors in influencing and managing global change, as well as provided a practical experience through first-hand involvement with the operational and strategic activities of globally governing bodies. The events enabled me to further hone my knowledge of the field.
Would you recommend the Practicum to other law students at Middlesex University?
Yes, I believe that participation in this module stimulated my development while the knowledge gained through the professional experience with the OHCHR helped me to achieve a first. I have since gained another placement working for the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.