My Next ‘Grand Adventure’ 2018 Edition

Well, Sebastian let the cat out of the bag! Starting February 26th, I will be back in Europe for a 6 week grand adventure – including my first trip to the Middle East! (I need a new title for this one… ideas anyone?)

The itinerary is:

  • 26 February to 2 March: Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 2 March to 7 March: London, England
  • 7 March to 12 March: Barcelona, Spain
  • 12 March to 14 March: Paris, France
  • 14 March to 20 March: Munich, Germany
  • 20 March to 25 March: Bonn, Germany (for the UN Sustainable Development Festival!)
  • 25 March to 30 March: Berlin, Germany

And finally!

  • 30 March to 6 April: Beirut, Lebanon!

Now, unlike my last few adventures, this time I have two amazing friends coming with me for (most) of the time – my best friend from high school, Lauren; and the amazing, intelligent Karol! Plus some other awesome meet-ups with amazing people along the way (shout out to the Balcony Police reunion in Barcelona!)

And as always – any and all friends in/near the cities I will be visiting, please let me know! What is traveling for if not to visit with lifelong friends along the way! ❤️🌎🌍🌏

New Orleans – A Food Guide

The past week I spent some quality time with my father in one of my favorite places in the United States: New Orleans, Louisiana.

For most people New Orleans (pronounced “Nah-lens” by the locals; shortened to ‘NOLA’ by the tourism office) is a place to drink, party the night away, and barely remember the trip (essentially the southern version of Los Vegas). But for my father and I, it is a place to get some of the BEST food in the world. And the best beignets. I would kill for a fresh Café Du Monde beignet. (Beignets are essentially a french donut. But better than any donut you’ve ever had.) Now, there is an argument between Café Du Monde and Café Beignet for who has the best – but this is essentially a Dunkin Donuts vs. Krispy Kreme debate: it all depends on the person. And I’m for Café Du Monde all the way (they are less rich and doughy, analogous to Krispy Kreme).

Many years ago, when my brother and I were very young, my dad used to work in NOLA. He would leave my mom at home in NC to fly down for a week, then fly back up with stories of all the amazing food he ate. Which mom didn’t exactly love – she was stuck with two terrors for children (without fail, my brother would get sick right when my dad left; and I was just never an easy child – always too stubborn for my own good), while he got to have some of the best food in the world.

With all that time in NOLA, dad became a foody before a foody was even a thing. No joke – he took me out to dinner in NC to plan out every place we were going to eat – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – during our trip. We were eating while planning what to we would eat every day the next week.

A bit too much, in my opinion, but that’s how dad travels.

Anyway – to spread the food wealth, here is a list of our absolute favorite places:

  • Mother’s: 401 Poydras St; the best Southern breakfast I have ever eaten!
  • Saint Cecilia: 91 French Market Pl; this place is basically a mix of hipster-brunch and southern comfort breakfasts. We were going to go here for dinner, but thankfully we decided to go for brunch instead. Their Chicken and Waffles kept me full for I’m hungry even just thinking about them.
  • Gumbo Shop: 630 St Peter St; I’m not one for Gumbo normally (because outside of NOLA people make it much too spicy) but this place is just…incredible. Highly recommend the Chicken Andouille Gumbo – plus: its been voted the best by locals.img_3058
  • Café Sbisa: 1011 Decatur St; Built in one of the oldest buildings in the city, the food isn’t the only amazing thing in this restaurant. The mirrors are actually discolored by how old they are; its extremely interesting to see! And the food was to die for. Highly recommend the Prime Pork Ribeye!
    img_3059
  • Trinity Restaurant: 1117 Decatur St; At first I thought this place was a bit more hipster than I would like, but as usual for New Orleans, the food was better than anything you could find anywhere else. I decided to get a vegetarian dish, and I’ve never had any vegetables as delicious as here.
  • And my favorite:Broussard’s Resturant: 819 Conti St; this is one of the most famous restaurants in NOLA, and there is a reason for that. It is definitely more expensive, but I have literally never had a better meal in my life. Also, you must try the Bananas Foster (a dessert) and the Hurricane (an alcoholic drink):img_3073

    img_3076

Totally amazing trip! And now everything I eat tastes bland in comparison…

Is Global Zero Just a Utopia Impossible to Attain?

As President Obama stated in his address to the Security Council on 24 Sept 2009, the United Nations (UN) “was founded at the dawn of the Atomic Age in part because man’s capacity to kill had to be contained.”[1] Since its creation, the UN has been tasked with one of the most difficult processes of our area – total nuclear disarmament. For example, both the General Assembly and the Security Council, in articles 11.1 and 26 respectively, are tasked with the regulation of armaments for the purpose of maintaining international peace and security.[2] To date, ten nations have obtained nuclear weapons – the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Israel, and South Africa (not including former Soviet Union states who possessed weapons at the fall of the Soviet Union.) Only one of these nations, South Africa, has yet to fully disarmed its nuclear stockpile.[3]

 

At the beginning of the nuclear age, Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt warning of the dangerous of this new weapon. “A single bomb of this type,” he warned, “carried by boat or exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory.”[4] This warning was effectively disregarded. Instead, after the devastation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the global superpowers of the time began a global arms race to create and stock pile as many nuclear weapons as they could. In 1949, the Soviet Union (USSR) became the second nation to successfully test a nuclear bomb. Shortly after, in 1952, the United States took nuclear weapons a step further and successfully tested the hydrogen bomb, followed shortly by the USSR’s first successful test of the hydrogen bomb in 1953.[5]

 

But quickly scientists raised the alarm, alerting politicians to the potential negative affects nuclear weapons testing could have on the air, soil, and water supplies.[6] This lead to the creation of the Partial Test-Ban Treaty (PTBT), negotiated through the auspices of the United Nations in 1963, calling for the end to all nuclear weapons testing. However, despite the PTBT, China and France – neither of which ratified the treaty – continued to test nuclear weapons for many years.[7] Thus began a long history of nations limiting aspects of nuclear weapons use, though never actually banning nuclear weapons in totality; and nations choosing not to ratify or comply with the treaties, therefore disregarding the international law and effectively classifying the treaties as functionally rhetorical documents.

 

After the PTBT, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was creating in 1968, and came into force in 1970. Currently, 191 states have joined the treaty, including all five permanent members, which is the largest number of states party to any arms limitation and disarmament agreement.[8] In theory, this largest participation would be a signal of the treaty’s success; however, four nuclear-weapons-possessing states are currently not states party to the treaty – Israel, DPRK, India, and Pakistan. Unfortunately, these are also four of the world’s nations which are most likely to use their weapons due to current conflicts in their region (or, in the case of the DPRK, current policy by the ruling government).

 

In addition to the efforts of the international community during the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union entered into a series of bilateral agreements with each other. These include the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT) in 1972, which led to a ban on ballistic missiles and limitations on offensive nuclear weapons; and the SALT-II negotiations in 1979 to strengthen and finalize SALT-I. However, it is notable that the SALT-I negotiations were limited to offensive nuclear weapons only – therefore allowing both nations to continue research on and stockpiling of nuclear weapons for ‘defensive purposes’. Further, SALT-II was never ratified by the US Senate (and therefore never entered force) due to concerns over the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons in Cuba.[9]

 

In the 1980s, the United States and the Soviet Union entered into bilateral negotiations again with the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which banned all nuclear armed ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, and their infrastructure. This was the first nuclear agreement to reduce arms numbers, rather than establish ceilings that could not be exceeded, and led to the destruction of about 2,700 weapons.[10] However, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the INF Treaty had to be multilateralized to apply to the twelve successor states of the USSR. Six of these states – Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan – contain inspectable INF facilities in their territory. Of these six nations, however, only four – Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine – are active participants in the INF implementation process.[11]

 

The 1990s also saw bilateral negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1991, the two states signed the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-I), which reduced the strategic nuclear weapons by 30-40%.[12] The second round of negotiations, START-II, furthered the reductions. However, the Soviet Union ratified START-II under the condition that the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty of 1972 remain in force.[13] In 2002, the Bush Administration withdrew from the ABM, causing Russia to no longer be bound by START-II.[14]

 

This was of little importance, though, as the START-II had never entered force – it was effectively superseded by the Moscow Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions (SORT), which was negotiated on May 24th, 2002.[15] While SORT contained provisions similar to that of START I and START II, and went further by calling for the destruction of warheads, SORT lacked a timetable for reductions, simply stating both the US and Russia would implement their reductions by December 31, 2012 – the date that the pact expires. This has lead some to conclude that the treaty was technically impossible to violate.[16] As international law’s coercive enforcement mechanisms can only be used should a state violate a treaty, SORT effectively becomes solely rhetorical – there is no way to ensure implementation.

 

As SORT had superseded START, the New START negotiations of 2010 superseded SORT. Under the New START, the United States and Russia have until 5 February 2018 to meet the limitations in nuclear arms set out by the treaty. The treaty does not, however, limit testing, development, or deployment of current or planned missile defense programs or long-range conventional strike capabilities.[17] As of September 1, 2017, six months before the treaty is to lapse, both nations have declared their arms capabilities to be within the agreed upon limits.[18]

 

After the Cold War, while the United States and Russia have been conducting bilateral agreements with each other for the reduction of nuclear weapons, the United Nations has been used to complete two important nuclear arms agreements. In September 1996, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature. However, the treaty states it will not enter into force until “all 44 States listed in Annex 2 of the Treaty have ratified it.” This has caused serious complications that have led the treaty, 20 years after opening for signature, never to enter into force. Today, 8 of the required 44 nations continue to refuse ratification of the treaty, namely: China, DPRK, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and the United States. This list also includes 6 of the 9 nuclear-weapons-possessing states. Despite regular conferences to persuade these nations to sign and ratify the CTBT, held in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2011, and 2013, the CTBT still lacks the ratifications required to enter into force.[19]

 

The next attempt by the United Nations for a multilateral agreement banning nuclear weapons worldwide occurred 20 year later, in July of 2017. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons prohibits ‘all efforts to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use or threat of use of these weapons.’[20] With 122 nations voting in favor of this treaty, it would appear to be a success. However, this overlooks the nations who chose to be absent from the negotiations of the treaty, namely: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and the DPRK. As you will recall, these are all of the nuclear weapons possessing states. Also absent from the negotiations were many of the ally states of these nations, who could – in theory – persuade the governments of these nations to assent to the treaty. In a joint statement, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France clearly declared their intention not to sign, ratify or ever become part of the treaty, stating that the treaty is “incompatible with the policy of nuclear deterrence, which has been essential to keeping the peace in Europe and North Asia for over 70 years.”[21] This statement summarizes the current reality of the international stage – no matter how long the international community works towards nuclear non-proliferation; no matter how many treaties are negotiated for this purpose; as long as nuclear weapons nations maintain nuclear deterrence as a cornerstone of their foreign policy, these nations will retain their nuclear weapons.

 

A further complication for nuclear weapons use is the reality that nuclear materials are not solely used for creation of weapons; these materials are also used for the creation of an alternate form of energy, for medical uses, for agricultural uses, and for industrial uses. In the late 1990s, around 17% of the world’s electricity was nuclear-generated.[22] Today, that number has decreased slightly to 11%; however, some countries, such as France, are almost completely reliant on nuclear energy.[23] While there is controversy towards the risk of the use of nuclear energy that has led to the decrease in its use, there is little controversy towards the use of nuclear techniques in treating medical diseases, such as cancer.[24] Nor is there much controversy towards the use of nuclear techniques to improve agricultural techniques, or to advance our industrial capabilities with new products created through the use of nuclear materials.[25]

 

As long as the use of nuclear technology pose some benefits to the world that cannot be achieved by other means, nuclear materials will continue to exist. And as long as nuclear materials exist in the world, whether they are currently used for weapons purposes or not, there is a risk of the materials being weaponized. This therefore casts serious doubt on the possibility of global zero for nuclear weapons being achieved. After all, even if all nuclear weapons are disarmed and disassembled, as long as the materials exist it will be possible for powers – either state actors or non-state actors – to reconstruct the nuclear weapons. And as long as there is a risk that an enemy of a state can obtain nuclear weapons, nations – such as France, the United Kingdom, and the United States – will maintain their foreign policy of nuclear deterrence, therefore refusing to relinquish their defensive nuclear weapons.

 

As outlined in this essay, despite extensive efforts to limit nuclear testing, offensive nuclear weapons stockpiles, and to ultimately completely eliminate all nuclear weapons, there have always been obstacles too great for the international law to ultimately succeed. Further, the world relies on nuclear materials to achieve important advancements in agriculture and industry, and to treat deadly diseases like cancer. However, until the day that all nations are willing to completely relinquish both their offensive and defensive nuclear weapons, and nuclear materials are no longer used in any capacity in any part of the world – two preconditions that are highly unlikely to ever be achieved – a global zero for nuclear weapons will remain a utopia, impossible to be achieved.

 

 

[1] https://www.un.org/press/en/2009/sc9746.doc.htm

[2] UN Charter

[3] http://www.nti.org/learn/countries/south-africa/nuclear/

[4] Albert Einstein’s Letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt

[5] https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/einstein/peace-and-war/nuclear-arms-race/

[6] https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB94/

[7] Ibid.

[8] https://www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/npt/

[9] http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=31458

[10] https://www.state.gov/t/avc/trty/102360.htm

[11] Ibid.

[12] https://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/pcw/104210.htm

[13] Ibid.

[14] https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2002_07-08/abmjul_aug02

[15] https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2002_06/sortjune02

[16] Ibid.

[17] https://www.state.gov/t/avc/newstart/

[18] https://www.state.gov/t/avc/newstart/274550.htm

[19] https://www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/ctbt/

[20] http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57139#.WkAOm7T83_Q

[21] Ibid.

[22] Blix, H. (1997) The Good uses of Nuclear Energy. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Vienna, Austria.

[23] https://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/World-Statistics

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

A Global Citizen

A few months ago, I read an article deriding the use of the term ‘global citizen,’ suggesting that the moniker should no longer be used. And it has really stuck with me. According to the article, the use of this classification is misleading – everyone has citizenship in one country or another, there can be no such thing as a ‘global’ citizen.

 

I disagree – true, the phrase as a moniker has been used too widely; however, it does classify a specific population of people. A global citizen is a person who has experienced the world; who has lived in multiple countries; who has travelled extensively and has taken time in each place to learn the culture of each group of people. A global citizen is a person who no longer can classify themselves as simply their original nationality, nor can they accurately classify themselves as any of the nationalities in which they have lived. A global citizen is a person stuck in the middle ground – not totally A, but also not totally B. After 18 years of living in the United States, 6 years living in Canada, and assorted months in between living in Australia, Colombia, and Netherlands, I fully classify myself in this middle ground. I am not longer fully an ‘American’ – but neither am I a Canadian (or Australian, Colombian, nor Dutch.) In this strange middle ground, I encapsulate habits of all the countries I have lived and many of the countries I have visited. I still maintain a collection of behaviors from my American upbringing, while also often speaking like a Canadian; I continue to use Australian slang from the months I lived on the Sunshine Coast, while also maintaining habits I learned in the Netherlands. I am, therefore, ultimately placed in the middle ground of not truly being any one nationality – and there is only one title which I can claim: global citizen.

 

After my time in the Netherlands, I was speaking with a close friend of mine who has also lived in multiple countries and has travelled extensively. I explained to my friend how difficult I found it to describe my nationality – she agreed. She has the same trouble. While she is originally Singaporean, she is also a Canadian. Having grown up in Singapore, she is identifies as Singaporean – but she also was taught at an American school, and has spent the past 7 years in Canada. And she has the same trouble as me – she is not fully classified as any of the nationalities of which she claims. So what is she then? She is as I am – a global citizen. A person who has travelled extensively, lived in multiple countries, and observed the cultures of each place she has lived.

 

In a time such as the one we live, where people can easily traverse national borders, it is understandable that the idea of ‘global citizen’ can be applied too broadly. Any person who travels, who learns of different cultures in an academic setting, can call themselves a ‘global citizen’. And it is understandable why this over classification could cause problems. That being said, should said person travel, live, and absorb the cultures in which they explore, the moniker of ‘global citizen’ is not a false one – for some people, it is the only moniker to which we apply.

Life Update – Introducing Phantom, the Toy Australian Shepherd

Two years ago today, I lost my best friend and baby girl, Carma. Last year today, I was escaping my grief by preparing to leave on my Grand Adventure in Europe. This year today, I have finally gotten enough courage and faced enough of my pain that I decided I could finally have another puppy in my life again – meet Phantom (because his face reminded me of Phantom of the Opera and I’m a nerd), a toy Australian Shepherd.

Not going to lie, its been a bit hard having a new puppy because it reminds me how much I miss my Carma, but I know she would be happy as long as I am happy – and I know she would have loved to play with her little brother!

 

Phantom
Little baby, Phantom (yes, he is that tiny!)
IMG_1323
My Carma and I, Christmas 2011

Day 11

Today was an extremely jam-packed day. As always, we had morning lectures from 9:20am to 12:30am. As it is the start of a new week, we had two new lecturers begin (our last lecture of the 3 hours is always completed by Edith Brown Weiss on her theory of ‘Norms in the Kaleidoscopic World’). As it turns out, our first lecture today is on the UN Compensation Commission – so basically 50min of me nerding out about the United Nations.
And today was a special treat in Brown Weiss’s lecture too! Most law/international relations scholars skip over scientific implications for international law – but not Brown Weiss. To be honest, in the first week when she mentioned highly contentious scientific topics and glancingly passed over the deep debates underneath them, I would have preferred she not mention them at all. But today was my day – today she actually discussed the indepth complications of new genetic engineering technology. And cybersecurity. And electronic currencies. I was pratically glue to every word out of her month.
Overall – absolutely amazing set of morning lectures, perfectly tailored to my person interests (sadly also putting some of my fellow students to sleep….but thats a big reason why those in the humanities skip over science normally). You would think a perfect morning would be enough, but nope! At the Hague Academy, there is always something more interesting to do later on. So here is an overveiw of my afternoon:

  • Last minute meeting with the current US judge on the International Court of Justice: loved it! Wonderful lecture on the work of the ICJ, how judges are appointed, and how the judges work together.
  • I was suppose to go visit the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, but the meeting with the Judge ran long, so instead I jumped into the group touring the Organization for the Prohibition for Chemical Weapons (OPCW) – basically amounting to research into how the OPCW works and formulating how (in my brain – for if I ever actually do a PhD on this) to suggest a similar  structure for implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention.
  • Perfect timing! The tour ended right when myself, Tringa, and a fellow American (Wayne from Florida) needed to leave for the USA embassy visit. Now, anyone who follows US politics will probably know that currently the majority of the Ambassador positions are currently empty…(thanks Trump) But no worries – because we got an even more interesting speaker instead. One of the handful of US Legal Affairs lawyers stationed abroad is stationed in the Hague and she came to speak with us about what it is like to be a lawyer working in what is essentially a diplomat’s job. Plus they had really amazing food – I ate probably 10 mini-BBQ sandwiches… (and therefore didn’t have to cook dinner, which is perfect, because I hate to cook or even eat my own cooking.)
  • Afterwards, back to our communal home (Skotel), only to turn around and go on a walk along the beach with a friend, Gaurav from India. Where we find a totally awesome, vividly blue jellyfish stranded by the low tide. And I proceed to tell Gaurav everything I know about my second favorite invertebrate (the first being Octopus). And he proceeds to tell me I really am a total nerd (there is a reason I call myself one all the time!)

Yeah, so pretty awesome day overall! For photos of all these cool things – most are posted on my instagram account!

A Single Day to Explore

So far, every weekend I end up staying in the Hague and going to the Peace Palace to read all the books. (I’ve still pulled out a different book every 2 days; SO MANY BOOKS! SO LITTLE TIME!) But today I decided to go visit Delft. So I got up, got dressed, ate, and headed out on the tram. Thankfully our tram pass for the public transit during the course covers the tram to Delft, and 45 minutes later I finally reached the city.
Its pretty gorgeous; a ton of old buildings, a ton of cute little shops. I ate lunch [a croissant that tasted like strawberry shortcake😍] at a random bakery (my ‘I’m not eating processed sugar anymore’ pledge from June only lasted all of one day in Europe….), and found a cute little market outside of one of the churches. And ended up buying cheese for my parents, despite promising myself not to bring back food this trip…. Really, Europe is hell for food-promises to yourself.
Right when I was going to walk around and explore the city, after buying all the required souvineers/presents, a huge storm rolled in. I ended up getting stranded in a random cafe (which turned out to be a huge restaurant, but I never realized this so I sat at a random table to wait the storm out, and only realized after that there were a ton of empty tables in the back….I definitely looked like a fool to the waitstaff, but the family at the table gave me permission so it is okay! Ish…)
The storm led me to give up on seeing more of Delft – I’ll be back to the Netherlands some day, I’ll explore more then. So I jumped back on the tram and headed back to the Hague – which was good, because the storm ended up shutting down a lot of trains around the Netherlands. The Hague had already been hit by the storm, so it was nice and sunny, and I ended up walking along the beach for a few hours. I always forget how much I love the ocean…now I totally want to spend part of my next year living at the NC beach since it is actually warm enough to swim there (the Hague’s beach is more like Vancouver – beautiful, but you do not go in without a wetsuit.)

Overall another good day in the Hague!

P.S. Dad – semidrenched, but still alive.

 

Day 10

The day has come – the day of the beach party has reached us. And thankfully, the Hague has had wonderful weather for our adventures tonight. As usual, we woke up, got ready, went to class, and sat in class until 12:30. Unlike the rest of the days this week, I had no plans for the evening, so instead it was off to the library for an hour or two before heading back to Skotel for a quick nap. Which was a good idea – we stayed up until 2:30am.
The beach party was at ‘Whoosah Beach Club’ – which according to google maps was a lot closer to Skotel than it actually ended up being. Though, in google map’s defense, traveling to a party venue always takes more time with a group of 15+ people. Especially when we are walking, and many have already had a drink or two at the perpetual communal balcony party (this time, ‘communal balcony pre-drinking party’ – apparently no one outside of Vancouver says ‘pre-gaming’ for predrinking? The random things you learn…) Because it was a beach party, my flatmates and I decided to wear our swimsuits. Only, turns out, no one else followed our example…but its okay, I ended up swimming when we left at like 2am haha. (Not a smart idea y’all – do not recommend, I was freezing the rest of the night).
Overall – the party was pretty awesome. The music was terrible, but who cares about the music when you have amazing new friends (are we still new friends when we have lived for two weeks together?)  to hang out with!
P.S. Dad – I’m still alive. Cold, wet, and wishing the beaches here were warm like NC’s, but still alive.

Day 9

Another long day, but thankfully not as long as it could have been. Today we were suppose to have a huge beach party, but unfortunately the weather in the Hague was too bad… so instead it is postponed until tomorrow (and I’ll be sure to write all about it!)
So instead today, we had the three hours of morning lectures, followed by a book launch by a former ICJ Judge based off of his lectures last year before the Academy. He only spoke French, but because I really wanted his signature I ended up buying the book and having him sign it 😅 Good incentive to learn French right?
Afterwards, my flatmates and I went on a tour of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Its actually really lucky we are touring it now – in 6months the mandate of the Tribunal is complete and it will be shut down and all the work still underneath the tribunal will be transferred to a new court – the MICT (Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals) which has taken over the work of the Tribunal for Rwanda and other tribunals which have seen their mandates end already. It is also taking over the buidling of the ICTY, so you could say we just got a super early preview of the MICT?
Afterwards, I decided to attend a seminar by Professor Brown Weiss (from Georgetown University). It was on accountability of UN Peacekeeping Missions, with a semi-unintentional focus on the Cholera outbreak in Haiti caused by Pakistani peacekeepers after the earthquake in 2010. Now, being the nerd I am, I have actually written a Model UN Background Guide on this exact topic, so needless to say – I was pretty happy. My bigggest complaint though: international lawyers (Brown Weiss included) focus far too much on the legal responsibilities, without considering the pragmatic diplomatic realities that make many legal responsiblities simply wishful dreams of optomists. And that one PhD student who thought peacekeeping missions are solely for nearly failed states – they arent (there are multiple forms of PKOs, some for environmental reasons, some for political reasons, some for post-conflict regions, and some for election monitoring. And not all are actually through the UN. If you want more info, I’ll be happy to elaborate later!) And didn’t realize that states are often the ones to ask the Security Council to create a peacekeeping mission within the state’s borders.
Afterwards I also had a chance to approach Brown Weiss regarding her inclusion of contentious scientific topics within her Kaleidoscope theory. It actually was really good – I ended up getting a chance to tell her about my work with MY World and about recent papers on the science theories she talks about. And I was absolutely SHOCKED when she asked me to email her more information about both. But again – this is an academy for sharing information about important international law concepts, so it should have been expected right? Still… super cool and unexpected.

P.S. Dad – I keep realizing how much random knowledge I have. And how other people don’t have random knowledge. Because I am too nerdy for my own good🤓. And also I’m still alive.

Day 8

It happened again. Super interesting afternoon lecture. Definitely wanted to attend. Only problem? It was 3 hours long…
Court clerks for the Permanent Court of Arbitration came to speak to us today. And, taking the example of the ICJ lecture yesterday, they were very interactive and entertaining. But y’all, three hours😩. I lasted one hour before I was struggling to keep my eyes open. Instead of being super disrespectful and falling asleep, I chose to leave my iPad with my flatmates so they could continue recording the lecture for me (I plan on re-listening to all the lectures later, and hopefully writing better notes than my sleep-deprived self has) – and I went back to nap. But this time I did not stay up super late afterwards. (Midnight isn’t late right?)
Also, y’all, I have finally found a dish that I can cook that is actually good!! Beef and brocooli – boil both in a pot with a bottle of oyster sauce with a bit of soy sauce added in. And eat on a bed of rice. Super easy, probably doing it completely wrong, but it is edible! And thats all that matters in a place where a weeks worth of groceries cost $20 but a single meal out costs $25…

P.S. Dad – a little bit less sleepy, and actually eating decent food! So not starving to death anymore 😁

The life, thoughts, and travels of an adventurous ginger.