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Internship with the Al Quds University Legal Clinic, May/June, 2017

al-quds-logoIn May/June, MPhil students Samuel Scanlon and Hayden Pendergrass took up internships in Palestine at the Al Quds University Human Rights Clinic in the Old City of Jerusalem. Both Sam and Hayden overcame stiff competition to be awarded the internship opportunity. The internship programme, established by Dr Brendan Ciarán Browne and cemented through the signing of an international MOU (the first of its kind between TCD and a Palestinian organisation) is now into its second year and is facilitated by Dr Browne's colleagues in Palestine, Dr Munir Nuseibah (director of the legal clinic), Ms Nada Awad and Mr. Osama Al Risheq. Their work involved documenting human rights abuses against Palestinians in the greater Jerusalem area, recording affidavits, and conducting research on international law to be incorporated into future publications. Sam and Hayden's personal reflections can be read below. Applications for the 2018/19 internships will be accepted in due course.

Personal Reflection: Hayden Pendergrass

My internship at the Community Action Center (Al-Quds University) in Jerusalem was an unparalleled experience of on-the-ground education, personal and professional development, and meaningful community outreach. The time I spent with my co-workers and supervisors in East Jerusalem and the West Bank exposed me to the reality of the human rights situation for Palestinians under occupation and led me to realize the need for sustained and committed advocacy against the grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law that Palestinians face every day - from punitive home demolition to forcible transfer to collective punishment.

Through the course of the internship, I felt that I was able to meaningfully assist CAC in its advocacy efforts, including the coordination of a briefing to the diplomatic community, the dissemination of infographics and other informational advocacy material, and the creation of a submission to the UN Human Right Council's Universal Periodic Review of Israel. The meaningful relationships that I built with the staff at CAC and the Al-Quds University Human Rights Center, especially Advocacy Officer Nada Awad, Legal Advisor Osama Risheq, and Director Dr. Munir Nuseibah, greatly enhanced my experience and development as an intern - what I learned about the situation in Palestine and its ramifications in international law I learned directly through their profound knowledge and resources. In my experience, I not only felt that I was developing invaluable skills and expertise (especially as a student interested in pursuing international human rights law), but I also felt that I was helping make an impact against the injustices suffered by Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Personal Reflection: Samuel Scanlon

My MPhil in Conflict Resolution in Belfast has been an incredible year and the pinnacle of this time was my internship with Al-Quds Community Action Center (CAC) in Jerusalem. While my time in Belfast provided a wealth of theoretical learning and practical learning, to live and work in a place like Jerusalem has given me so much more in terms of real experiential learning. It is a tough space to be in, to experience even a fraction of the daily tension and injustice in the area was exhausting at times, but it showed me that I can adapt to work and learn in an environment such as this. The actual work I participated in was far more interesting and rewarding than any internship I have ever heard of. Writing statements to be used in advocacy to the UN and other international bodies, planning and participating in events and diplomatic briefings, talking to people involved with the International Criminal Court, and doing fieldwork with Palestinian families and other Palestinian Civil Society organisations left no room for boredom and provided a wealth of experience for future work in this field.

I have made what I hope are real and lasting friendships with many people both working in the CAC and living elsewhere in Palestine. I hope to pursue future research related to the conflict in the country and this is only possible by the people I met and things that I participated in during this internship. I am forever indebted to Trinity College, Al-Quds University, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Brendan Browne, Dr. Munir Nuseibah, and Ms. Nada Awad for providing and facilitating this opportunity. I wholeheartedly recommend future students to participate in this internship and I wish everyone involved the very best for the future of this endeavour

Finally, during my time in Jerusalem, I lived in the Kenyon Research Institute. I cannot imagine living anywhere else when participating in a project such as this. The peaceful location and emphasis on learning shared by all the staff and other residents along with the kindness and understanding of these people made my time so much easier and more enjoyable. I would recommend any future participants to stay there during their internship!





Last updated 20 September 2017 by Irish School of Ecumenics (Email).