Sitting through my first course of International Law during my bachelors, I remember thinking what it would be like to be a part of an organization that is committed to the mission of upholding humanitarian values. Therefore, when I saw the announcement for the internship program at the International Committee of the Red Cross, I knew I had to give it an honest try.
After a competitive process of selection, I found myself sitting with four other like-minded graduates. Unlike the usual internship stereotypes of not being entrusted with relevant work, getting overburdened by tasks irrelevant to your field or worse, no work at all, the ICRC internship experience was everything I hoped for and more!
From day one, I felt like a real member of the team. The five of us were introduced to the work of ICRC through briefings with all departments: from the physical rehabilitation program actually changing lives of people who could not otherwise afford rehabilitation services, to the logistics manager impressing the importance of checks and balances and the legal advisers helping you understand the application of international humanitarian law and its relevance to learning how local partnerships were helping create real sustainable change in the lives of people.
A regular day started with a briefing on the daily tasks by the legal advisor. The ICRC is consistently working on researching, compiling, analyzing and nurturing a nuanced understanding of IHL in the country. This not only helped me develop my understanding on IHL but a more thorough insight into local laws. We helped in drafting contract, researching laws relating to ongoing projects, such as healthcare, data sharing, privacy policies etc.
As a student of law, moot courts are an integral part of our learning. As an intern at ICRC, I had the opportunity of experiencing it from the flip side – as an organizer and not a participant. I remember how we all worked day and night for the moot court – from participant lists, to fixing agendas to conducting energizers and ensuring that it all went smoothly!
Another major highlight for me was being a part of the health care in danger project on right of way of an ambulance. This was a nationwide campaign focused on increasing respect for the right of way of an ambulance, with both a behavioral and legal component. Like many others, I also pledged to give way to an ambulance.
Working with one of the world's biggest humanitarian organizations and witnessing International Law come alive every day within domestic legislation, supplemented with our humble contributions of research and drafting; in those three months at the ICRC I experienced a little bit of everything I had wanted to, when I first chose to study law. And not just that, being part of a group of energetic legal minds sharing the same passion for humanitarian values was truly a refreshing experience for me.
By Fiza Khan - Summer Internship 2017