Theresa Yurkewich (JD’13) embarked on a unique and exciting career path this fall by moving to Europe to pursue her interest in international public interest law. At the end of October, she moved to the Netherlands to work for an organization that provides criminal defence at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Theresa’s ambition to practice public interest law is an exciting new step in her career. In 2013 she started her career by articling with the City of Calgary and gaining broad experience in many areas. After this, she worked in private practice mainly focussing on civil litigation. Although she enjoyed her work in both places, her move to public interest work was inspired by a desire to have more of a global impact for real people.
What really solidified Theresa’s interest in practicing international public interest law was attending The Hague Academy in the summer of 2016 and receiving a Certificate in Public International Law. Attending this program really reaffirmed for Theresa that this was an area that she wanted to be involved with moving forward. Through this program, Theresa had the opportunity to learn about several different areas of international law ranging from human rights to water law. She also had the opportunity to meet professionals who worked in the public interest sector from all types of backgrounds. Meeting people who worked in the public interest sector really helped Theresa to envision a potential career because she was able to see real people doing real work.
Another way that Theresa was able to engage in public interest activities was by working with the Global Shapers hub in Calgary. an initiative of the World Economic Forum that focuses on creating positive changes in individual communities and in the broader global community. Some of the issues that the Calgary hub has worked on include the global refugee crisis, economic diversification and general issues affecting Canadian youth. Recently, Theresa had the opportunity to go to the Global Shapers Conference in Athens, Greece to learn about European global issues. As the only Canadian at the conference, this was an incredibly valuable experience both representing Canada and learning about what ideas she could bring back for the benefit of the Calgary community.
As Theresa’s story demonstrates, a University of Calgary law degree can be a valuable platform for students to create positive change in the world on a global scale.