From Fashion to Human Rights, the Story of Veronique

Looking for a summer internship? Second years have all gone through this terrifying experience. We were desperate to find a cool internship and we know how hard and long all the application processes are. But just to encourage you to give it your best, in The Morningside Post we will feature some second-years at SIPA who can demonstrate that all the work will pay off.

Let's start with Verónique Arielle Ehamo, a second year Human Rights & Humanitarian Policy student at SIPA, who interned for the International Criminal Court Public Information and Outreach Section in The Hague, the Netherlands. This was her path.

Verónique was an undergrad student at The State University of New York The Fashion Institute of Technology. While studying abroad in Shanghai, China as an International Trade and Marketing major, she visited several manufacturing companies for luxury and fast fashion brands such as Zara and H&M. “During our visit we were able to speak to some of the employees and witnessed several human rights labor abuses from the utilization of child labor to unfit working conditions”, says Veronique. This made her change from a desired career in the fashion industry to Human Rights and Advocacy.

She started with an internship at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights. Regarding her experience at SIPA, she says that the Human Rights Humanitarian Policy concentration has not only prepared her for a future in human rights advocacy, but also provided her with a deeper understand in International Human Rights Law and the different judiciary frameworks that have been set. 

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The reason why she chose this internship at the Criminal Court was that the previous semester she took the International Human Rights course taught by Professor Betsy Apple, which, according to Veronique, "served as the perfect segue into working at a court that handles human rights abuses on an international level.” She obtained this internship through a recommendation from a former colleague. The application was on the ICC online database. (By the way, summer internships for all departments are generally posted in January.)

Regarding her job this summer, she explains that the public information and outreach section is composed of several units which are responsible for publicizing the activities of the Court, promoting a better understanding of its principles, cultivating a level of awareness and understanding of the Court appropriate to the stage of the Court's activities, and maintaining a dialogue with the affected communities. Her tasks were to follow court proceedings and produce daily press reviews and media advisories to be used internally by the office of the prosecutor, chambers and registry. “Most importantly I not only learned more about the Court's function but also had the opportunity to reflect on how I may further contribute to society to ensure that a mechanism for pursuing justice continues to exist” says Veronique. 

“Living in the capital of international justice has shaped the way I view the world today” says Veronique. The Hague is also home to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Embassies and NGO's. “Interning with young like-minded lawyers and diplomats from across the globe created a sense of community even while thousands of miles away from home” remembers Veronique. Thinking about her future, she has decided to continue working in the research field as a PhD student at University of Cambridge next year focusing on social anthropology: gender based violence in sub- Saharan Africa during times of war. This internship at the Criminal Court last summer has shaped her future.