Date of this Version
In: Place, Self, Community: City as Text™ in the Twenty-First Century, Edited by Bernice Braid and Sara E. Quay. National Collegiate Honors Council, 2021.
Over forty years have passed since I attended the National Collegiate Honors Council’s 1978 United Nations Semester (UNS) in New York. I have since served as a resident director of the 1980 UNS, practiced law, and taught as an adjunct law professor. Since 2008, I have spent half of my professional time consulting on international rule of law development projects. I have worked with teams of legal professionals to support the constitutional transition in Tunisia; trained law students and lawyers in the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, and the Middle East and North Africa region; and evaluated the impact of a host of judicial, legal profession, and legal education reforms throughout the world. After I had embarked on my international work, a friend asked whether I could ever have imagined my legal career taking such a dramatic turn. My answer: Easily. Rather than a departure, the international work has felt instead like a return, a circling back to something begun decades ago during the UNS when I had my first introduction to the global network and work of international NGOs (non-government organizations).
In the Introduction to this monograph, Bernice Braid describes an aspect of the City as Text™ semesters that I see as foundational for my international work and that I will explore here: an integrative learning approach has an “inherent . . . capacity to generate a sense of interconnectedness, of self-in-context, which finds expression in professional practices that endure long after the original experiential learning adventure is over” (xii). Braid’s statement accurately encapsulates the legacy of my participation in the UNS.
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