LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights: What our Alumni Say

14 December 2023

Chris Caskey graduated from our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights back in 2020. As Manager at UN Global Compact Australia, Chris currently supports Australian businesses in meeting their human rights and labour rights commitments under the UN Global Compact through the delivery of publications, training and network engagement.

In this interview, he tells about the programme, fond memories and what it brought to his career.

In your opinion, what are the strengths of the programme?

The LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights was a life-changing experience for me. The programme itself is academically rigorous, and practical and provides students with the tools to protect human rights or apply international humanitarian law in the courtroom and on the battlefield. However, in practice, it’s the networks that make the programme shine. The Geneva Academy faculty are all borderline famous and being able to absorb their perspectives was invaluable, but it was sharing the time with ~30 like-minded colleagues from all corners of the world that was truly special. Studying on the shores of Lake Geneva was not bad either!

Tell us about your current job: what are your main responsibilities?

In my current role, I look after the human rights programme for the local chapter of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact here in Australia. Our team supports Australian businesses to meet their commitments under the UN Global Compact through the delivery of publications, training and capacity building.

How do you apply what you learned in class in your work?

There are many technical learnings from the Geneva Academy that are applied every day – however, the overarching one for me is that we should always lean on principles of universality and humanity in our work – no matter which part of the international arena. For example, it’s increasingly important in the business and human rights space for companies, especially multi-national enterprises or those sourcing and selling cross-border, to see how universal human rights could be impacted by any area of their value chain.

Could you share some highlights or fond memories from your time in the programme?

I know this calls for a serious answer but I’m going to give personal ones: seeing the sunrise over Mont Blanc every morning, hilarious nights packing the whole LLM into a Picciotto studio, watching colleagues see snow for the first time on the study trip and trying (battling) to learn French.

In what way has this experience contributed to your professional growth?

While I’d already travelled quite a bit, my time at the Geneva Academy shaped how I see the world. In studying how international law applies in some of the most dire of human experiences, I’ll always carry the imperative for principles of universality and humanity into every piece of work I do.

Would you recommend this programme to others considering similar career paths?

The Geneva Academy has the platform, the expertise, the tools and the networks to plug you right into the international humanitarian law and human rights system. If your goal is to work within that environment, it should be number one on your list.

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