14 January 2020
In this interview, Lisa Borden, currently enrolled in our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, tells us about the programme and life in Geneva.
My name is Lisa, and I came to Geneva from the South-eastern United States. I was a practising trial lawyer in the US for 30 years, spending the last ten of those years as the pro bono partner at a large law firm. My practice included civil rights, postconviction death penalty, and prison conditions litigation, as well as other issues of criminal justice and poverty. I have two college student daughters back home. I enjoy cooking (and eating), reading, jazz music, and yoga.
In addition to my litigation practice in the US, I was fortunate to also work closely with a US NGO with consultative status at the United Nations (UN) and was able to visit Geneva several times, advocating on human rights issue before a number of treaty mechanisms and at the Universal Periodic Review. These experiences led me to become interested in how I could apply international laws and mechanisms to issues of professional concern to me. Of all the programmes I researched, the LLM at the Geneva Academy stood out as the best choice because of the high calibre of the professors and, of course, its location in the midst of the human rights and humanitarian law community in Geneva.
The quality of instruction has exceeded my expectations – our professors are not only brilliant and knowledgeable, but their breadth of high-level professional experience and expertise means that they are often on the cutting edge of developing fields. And, despite some trepidation, it has been invigorating for me to be in classes with people who are mostly decades younger than myself.
My general thought about my future work, when I decided to come to the Geneva Academy, was that I would seek a position with an NGO doing international human rights investigation and advocacy, similar to the one with which I partnered while practising in the US, and that may very well be what I wind up doing. But I have become aware of so many other options since coming here, and I have an open mind. I’ll be looking for a position that allows me to put both my Geneva Academy education and my prior experience to work to help address violations of human rights.
Working as a volunteer NGO advocate at the UN was my very happy introduction to Geneva, and what prompted this new chapter of my life.
Sandra Pointet/Geneva Academy
We organize online Q&A information sessions for prospective students – taking place twice a month on Fridays from 13:30 to 14:30 (CET) – to allow candidates to exchange with our Student Office and current students about the programmes, the application process and requirements, life in Geneva, career opportunities and other concerns.
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This IHL Talk will address today's place of nuclear weapons, including their humanitarian impact, the impact of technological advancements, the relevance of the deterrence narrative and implications on the international legal framework.
UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré
This training course will explore the origin and evolution of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and its functioning in Geneva and will focus on the nature of implementation of the UPR recommendations at the national level.
This online short course analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.
UN Photo/Violaine Martin
The IHL-EP works to strengthen the capacity of human rights mechanisms to incorporate IHL into their work in an efficacious and comprehensive manner. By so doing, it aims to address the normative and practical challenges that human rights bodies encounter when dealing with cases in which IHL applies.