Achieving Global Justice – But How?

by tuftsigl
Aug 21
Gabriella Zoia is a rising senior majoring in International Relations with a concentration in International Security. She is currently a fellow at The Hague Institute for Global Justice.
When I wake up in the morning I look outside the window to see what Mother Nature has in store for us that day. But I also see the Peace Palace, a mighty symbol of peace and global justice. It houses the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice, in addition to the Peace Palace Library, which holds one of the most extensive collections of books on international law in the world. 
The internship is part of a new partnership between the IGL and the Hague Institute for Global Justice, which focuses on the nexus between peace, justice, and security. The internship intends to provide an undergraduate student with insight into the world of an internationally acclaimed research institution that produces cutting-edge work on themes related to this crucial nexus. Instead of being assigned to one of their flagship programs (Global Governance, Rule of Law, and Conflict Prevention) my assignment was supposed to be demand-based according to what was needed and to my own  interests. In short, I got off the plane in Amsterdam not knowing what to expect. 
Looking back at these past few months, I have done research on the role of future peacekeeping operations, water diplomacy in the Middle East, project management for the Business and Human Security Conference, learned how to use Twitter and manage a social media presence, discovered a passion for newswriting through a weekly internal news-brief, and somehow managed to formulate a semi-comprehensible elevator speech about myself for networking events.  
Every morning at work I read the news and what has become a regular wave of sadness hits me. Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, (and my home, Italy). I sometimes question whether this is really 2014, and really how much better we are doing than our ancestors. Advanced technology is no substitute for human kindness, empathy, and mutual understanding, all areas in which our global “community” really needs to re-evaluate its priorities and values to be able to solve current and future conflicts, such as climate change, resource scarcity, and perennial human conflicts.  All of the keys to solving these structural and human issues are there, and harnessing them correctly will move us on the right track to the (hopefully) attainable goal of global justice.
I really admire the passion and commitment that colleagues bring to their work every day, and the change that they want to bring about. In essence, there’s a whole lot of doing instead of just thinking.
But can Global Justice be achieved? Three months ago I would have flatly said no. Now, I’m not so sure. The achievement of Global Justice depends on how much we want it. In the meantime, I will miss waking up to the wonderful sight of the Peace Palace every morning. 

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