United Nations Externship
Daniel Stewart, Lecturer-in-Law (2 graded academic and 2 or 3 ungraded clinical credits)
Students in the United Nations (UN) externship will work at volunteer positions with a range of entities within the UN system in New York City: from departments within the UN Secretariat, to UN specialized funds and agencies, to non-governmental organizations that are focused on UN advocacy and research, to working with specific Permanent Missions to the United Nations from a range of Member States (“host institutions”). The externship is comprised of two elements: the externship hours spent with the host institution and a seminar component. In the initial year, there will be 6-8 students selected by the Instructor based on applications from J.D. and LL.M students.
The in-class sessions will combine a focus on three interconnected elements:
I. Core substantive issues that are the foundation of working at, for and with the United Nations;
II. Presenting, analysing and discussing a number of key practical concerns that surround the legal skills utilized and challenged in working for and with this multilateral institution;
III. Reflections on the normative tensions (and opportunities for resolving those tensions) that animate working at, for and with the UN, concerns that will arise throughout the course of the externship and beyond.
In addition to in-class presentation and discussion sessions, the seminars will incorporate guest speakers at relevant opportunities; case studies that lead into role playing exercises; and mini-skills exercises, including mooting and the presentation of legal analysis to non-lawyers.
Requirements and Assessment
Admission to the externship will be subject to application and interview with the instructor. Prior course(s) in international law or the equivalent is required. Attendance at the host institution and for the class components of the externship are both mandatory. The placement hours will minimally require 10 hours a week for 2 credits, or 15 hours a week for 3 credits, to be decided in consultation with the instructor. Students may inform the instructor at the start of the semester of any arrangements that may preclude missing a session.
All readings on the syllabus are required. The length of the required readings has been made intentionally short in order to ensure all students can read all of the required material. A more extensive optional and suggested reading list will be distributed to students. A reader will be prepared for use in the class, and the optional readings will be available in the library. However, for easily available readings (such as treaties, etc), links will be provided in the syllabus and they will be posted on the course website.
Reflection points (set out on the syllabus) are to be ‘reflected upon’ before the class for which they are set out, as they will form a part of the dialogue and debate for the class for which they are included.
Assessment will be based on:
I. Participation in class (based on the content, and not merely the quantity, of said participation) (30%);
II. Preparation for the role of either discussant or respondent for select classes. Students can make selections as to their preferences on which topics and role to cover. This will be explained and implemented during our first session (20%);
III. A final paper, related to one or more of the issues discussed in class, and connected to the student’s placement (20 pgs. approximately). Topics to be discussed and finalized in conjunction with the instructor by October 31 2015, and to be submitted by December 22 2015. An optional session with the law school librarians focused on public international law, and the United Nations in particular, will be arranged. (50%).