Undergraduate Granted U.N. Internship at The Hague
July 9, 2013, New York, N.Y. – Touro College undergraduate, Hanah Brasch, has been selected to be an intern in The Hague in September 2013, working for the United Nation's International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
The non-legal position will allow Brasch, a student at Lander College for Women-The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School (LCW), to explore a possible career in international law, while playing an active role in pursuit of justice. As someone who grew up educated about the Holocaust and Hitler’s war against the Jews, the ethnic war crimes that took place in the Balkans during the 1990s, resonated in a horrific way for Brasch.
“I have attended Jewish schools all of my life and learning about the Holocaust was an integral part of my education,” said Brasch, who attended Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago, and Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalyim before coming to LCW. “Jewish schools invest a great deal of time in making sure their students understand that 'never again' really means it. That this could be happening in relatively modern times, was not just surprising, but depressing.”
Brasch, who will be working in the communications department, saw the demanding internship as a way to pursue justice while exploring if international law was a career that would suit her. A dual major in political science and English, she didn’t come to LCW with the idea of becoming a lawyer at all. She was planning to be a dentist until an internship revealed that it just wasn’t the right field for her.
An LCW class in civil liberties that focused on the Bill of Rights and how American rights have evolved over time had her hooked. This past year, she participated in a non-legal internship in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. There she assisted paralegals, interviewing relatives of those prosecuted to assess their ability to pay bail. She attended court and even got to hear Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan speak
There are approximately 100 internship positions available each year at the ICTY and they are always filled, according to Alexandra Byrne, the internship coordinator for the ICTY. Most of the candidates come from the former Yugoslavia, the United States and Europe.
“It is quite competitive and only the most qualified candidates are selected,” she said. “Communications interns like Hanah write press releases, news items and conduct research for the outreach media and web unit offices, among other duties.”
Those who have mentored Brasch at LCW are gratified to see someone with such considerable academic talent be rewarded. Brasch will be an asset to the tribunal’s work that will mesh well with her sense of justice, according to LCW Dean Marian Stoltz-Loike.
"Hanah Brasch is blessed with exceptional academic and leadership strengths,” said Stoltz-Loike. “Her passion for social justice promises to serve her well at The Hague"
The tribunal began its work in 1993, prosecuting those who committed genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity during the conflicts that consumed the Balkans during the late 1980s and 1990s in the aftermath of the former Soviet Union’s dissolution. Brasch sees its work as very necessary, “until all the players are prosecuted.” It is a way to allow victims to tell their stories and be heard over the din of atrocity, said Brasch, to make sure that “never again” really means that.
“One can relate it back to the Holocaust, again,” she said. “It’s about justice. I know that is a vague term and hard to define, but the fact that these crimes have happened again in my lifetime — and that it shouldn’t — makes it our responsibility to publicize it and hopefully, impede the possibility of it ever happening again.”
Brasch will spend her next semester in The Hague; she will coordinate her work there with a course of independent study set up through LCW. The sense of justice that powers Brasch’s worldview will serve her well in this demanding internship according to Dr. David Luchins, a professor of political science at LCW.
"Hanah's remarkable intellectual gifts and interpersonal skills complement her abiding sense of personal integrity," Luchins said.
The Lander College for Women is an undergraduate division of Touro, a student-centered college located in midtown Manhattan where Jewish women follow a rigorous academic program as they pursue their baccalaureate degrees, while continuing and deepening their Torah education and commitment. For more information on the Lander College for Women, please go to http://lcw.touro.edu.