This semester I’m participating in a program called Semester in Practice where, instead of taking classes, I work full-time to receive academic credit. The program is run through the clinic department and I can easily explain it in three words: It is awesome.
For my placement, I’m working with a non-profit organization called Conflict Dynamics International, where I am part of a team working on a peacemaking initiative in Syria. Our work focuses on two main areas: (1) What kind of peace process will best facilitate and contribute to resolving the conflict in Syria? And (2) After the war is over, what type of governance system will help support peace in the long run? Pretty cool stuff, right?
Since January, I have had the amazing honor of helping this project grow and I’ve learned so much about what it takes to do this type of work. I have helped develop a strategy for maximizing the impact of this program. I have developed tools and frameworks to help us understand more about what is happening on the ground in Syria. I have even attended briefings at the United Nations in New York and met with Ambassadors from all over the world to learn more about how other countries view the conflict. This is real world experience and it is unlike anything I could ever learn in the classroom.
Next month I’ll be traveling to the Middle East to meet with representatives from all sides of the Syrian civil war. Our goal is to start a dialogue with these various constituencies to learn more about what they hope to gain out of the conflict and how they envision the future of Syria. As much as I enjoy being on campus, this sure beats sitting in a classroom talking about tax law!
The Semester in Practice program was one of the reasons I chose BU Law and I highly recommend you take a look at the program if you want to gain practical, hands-on experience in any field.