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The International Summer School Sarajevo on Transitional Justice and Human Rights: a unique opportunity

Have you had your eye on one of our Summer Schools? Or perhaps a Summer School elsewhere to complement your Law Master, but you have not been able to decide whether it has enough added value? One of our international alumni, Mariasole Forlani, tells us enthusiastically about her experience of the international summer school. She went to the International Summer School Sarajevo on Transitional Justice and Hman Rights. According to her a unique opportunity for International Law and International students.

In January, during a period of really stressful commitments related to my job and my studies, I decided I would have liked to experience something different during the incoming summer. At that time, I was studying and working in my own country, feeling nostalgic of my incredible international experience back in 2017/18, when I joined the Advanced LLM program in Public International Law in Leiden. I decided, then, to start researching for something that could have given me the chance to experiment once again an international environment and, at the same time, the opportunity to study more in depth one of the subjects I took during my LLM.

After a long research on various websites – thanks to internet, it is actually really fast and easy looking for summer opportunities – I found an interesting website that immediately attracted my attention, namely the International Summer School Sarajevo.

As soon as I started to read carefully their website I definitely fell in love with the program and I decided to apply. After a month, I received the acceptance letter and my incredible experience started there.

The Summer School is the perfect outcome of a collaboration among the University of Sarajevo, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung for South Eastern Balkans and the Association Pravnik. It lasts approximately ten days and it deals with the role of Transitional Justice, the Rule of Law and the protection of Human Rights in post – conflict societies. The program is simply rich and well structured, as it provides frontal classes, seminars and walking tours around Sarajevo, the city symbol of the tremendous war that has involved the Balkans between 1992 and 1995.

The objective of the present article, however, is not a mere description of the program, that would not be neither useful nor interesting – for more information about the program, in fact, a link will be attached below. On the contrary, I would like to share with the readers the impressions and the emotions I had the chance to experience during these incredible days. In order to reach this target, I will describe three aspects that, in my opinion, should be at the basis of every human experience that deserve to be remembered.

First of all, the academic level lives up the expectations. Far from being an empty formula or a captatio benevolentiae, this statement just reflects the reality of the facts. Numerous scholars, practitioners and people involved directly in the crimes of the Yugoslavian war give their own contribution to the success of the course. Even though I had already taken a course in Transitional Justice and Peace Building during my time in Leiden Law School, I had the chance to appreciate new point of views and many information related to the situation in Bosnia Herzegovina during and after the war. Coming in contact with such a modern war, so close in time and space, is something capable to provoke strong and long lasting emotions, that, I am pretty sure, will stay with me forever.  

Secondly, the city of Sarajevo is a unique environment to carry out Transitional Justice and Peace Building studies. I had visited several cities in the world before, but I can state with confidence that I have never seen something similar to Sarajevo. The people, the local cuisine and the architecture are extremely various and perfectly reflect the inner nature of the whole country. Even though the political and religious tension in the country is not over yet, the city of Sarajevo seems not to reflect those issues. Walking through Sarajevo means starting a journey through the past, looking at the ancient glory of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, smelling the scent of Bosnian coffee and meeting people with different cultural and religious backgrounds. You can see churches, mosques, modern buildings, old ones, ruined by the absurdity of a modern war. Being immerged in this atmosphere is something you don’t easily forget.

Finally, the most important aspect for any experience, the people you have the chance to meet. When I arrived in Sarajevo, I was expecting to live a nice experience, but I can say the reality largely overcame my expectations. These kind of international opportunities give you the chance to confront yourself with realities which are totally different from yours. You can meet people who have a different perspective, you can actually cross their lives and share some of your expertise and your habits with them. During the days spent in Sarajevo you have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, this year, for instance, we were twenty-eight people coming from twenty different countries. Bonding with people who don’t share your same cultural and academic background is fundamental for your personal and academic improvement. Personally, I could not be more satisfied than this, as I have met interesting people, with whom I share many common interests and with whom, I am sure, I will share many other interesting experiences in the future.

For more information, you can find attached the useful link to apply for the International Summer School Sarajevo.


For summer school courses at your own Alma Mater, please always check: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/events

At our location Wijnhaven in The Hague are a lot of Summer School Courses
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