MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law: What our Alumni Say

17 January 2022

Charlotte Volet graduated from our Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law in 2020.

She is currently working as a Programme Officer at Lawyers Without Borders Canada in Québec City, where she contributes to the operationalization of projects in Honduras and Colombia. She works on various projects with a gender perspective aiming at promoting access to justice, transitional justice mechanisms and the protection of victims of human trafficking.

In addition, Charlotte is also a board member of the NGO Projet Accompagnement Québec-Guatemala, with whom she had the opportunity to be an international accompanier for Guatemalan indigenous communities defending their land rights against extractive companies back in 2018.

In this interview, she tells about the programme and what it brought to her career.

What are the Strengths of the Programme?

The main strength of the programme is definitely the community it creates. The small number of students allowed the professors to experiment and bring us to their own world. It also gave space for students to contribute to the learning experience of their peers and to the evolution of the programme itself. I had the chance to attend classes with 24 amazing professionals, almost all women, who taught me as much as my professors did.

Another important strength is the multidisciplinary approach. Transitional justice is a field where a variety of expertise is necessary, from psychosocial intervention to anthropology, law, politics or history. Having classes with these different approaches provides an overall understanding of post-conflict justice.

How was Teaching?

I think the methods of teaching were varied and focused on enabling wider discussions between the students and the professors and, at times, with external specialists and civil society actors involved in transitional processes.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning as much from the professors than from my peers. It fostered an atmosphere of respect and empathy that enabled critical discussions on ethical matters. I also appreciated the flexibility of our directors and professors, especially when the pandemic hit, which showcased the level of humanity by which this programme is led.

Your Best Memories of the Programme?

One of the best memories I keep from the programme is our study trip to Kosovo, organized by the student committee and our wonderful friend and colleague Valëza, herself from Kosovo.

We truly benefited from a once in a lifetime experience being able to meet the first Kosovar women Speaker of Parliament — now President — as well as the Minister of Justice from what was at the time the newly formed government. We also had the chance to exchange with civil society organizations and survivors about the undergoing post-war transitional justice effort.

What Did it Bring to your Career?

The programme sharpened my critical point of view on justice and my analytical skills to assess post-conflict contexts, two skills that now help me grasp quickly the many components to take into account while dealing in transitional contexts.

From my peers and professors, I learned creative and diverse ways justice can be reached for survivors of human rights violations. I think the most important lesson I have kept is the importance of involving survivors and communities affected by human rights violations in the creation of transitional justice mechanisms for these to be effective.

Do you use what you learned in class in your work?

I work in the management team of projects related to the protection of human rights, the rule of law and transitional justice. The analytical skills I acquired help me better understand the reason, purpose, and goals of the activities we are involved in and have a better understanding of the general political and human rights context in which they take place.

Moreover, the critical point of view of transitional justice efforts I acquired during the programme also helps me assess the impact Lawyers Without Borders Canada’s activities can have on the communities involved in the projects.

Would you Recommend It?

Yes, I would recommend the programme for any professional interested in a critical and multidisciplinary approach to the field of transitional justice and wanting to learn from a variety of passionate experts in the field about the intricacies of post-conflict justice.

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