Catching up with Noor Hamadeh ’10 …
What are you up to now?
I graduated from the George Washington University Law School in 2017 and am currently working with an international human rights organization called the Syrian Legal Development Programme, having relocated from Washington, D.C., to Istanbul. SLDP provides counseling and training in international law to Syrian human rights organizations to supplement their advocacy.
I head a Human Rights and Business Unit, which is focused on ensuring human rights in Syria’s reconstruction phase.
The Syrian regime has been pushing the idea that the conflict is over, the Syrian government has won, and now it’s time to focus on reconstructing the country. This rhetoric is problematic because it takes attention away from the human rights violations and international crimes that continue to occur in Syria. Additionally, engaging in reconstruction deals with the Syrian government and its cronies within Syria allows the government and those tied to it to profit from their own crimes.
“MPA provided a unique environment where classes were quite small, which forced me to develop critical thinking skills. AP Comparative Government & Politics sparked my interest in international law and opened my mind to the importance of a global perspective.”
SLDP’s Human Rights and Business Unit aims to combat this by consulting and training Syrian civil society on business and human rights law, its application to the situation in Syria, and Syrian civil society’s role in promoting and ensuring human rights in Syria’s reconstruction.
SLDP also engages with various stakeholders in Syria’s reconstruction, such as international businesses, government representatives, and international policymakers to discuss the human rights impact of participating in reconstruction in Syria and the international legal liabilities that international businesses and other actors interested in investing in Syria’s reconstruction risk by doing so.
How did MPA help you get there?
MPA helped me get to where I am by providing a unique environment where classes were quite small, which allowed for greater student engagement in class. This forced me to develop critical thinking skills that I might have missed in a larger classroom, where I might have been able to get away with not engaging in the classroom discussion.
MPA also helped me get to where I am today by sparking my interest in international law through the AP Comparative Government & Politics class. Learning about the government structures of different countries in this class opened my mind to the importance of a global perspective.
The United States is part of a global community and turning one’s attention to the rest of the world can helps us solve our problems nationally. We are not immune from dangers such as authoritarianism and we have much to learn from what happens in other countries.