The most inspirational part about working at GJC is discovering the idea that you can and will find a way to justice through the law. The importance is just to start; even with the smallest idea.
— Sai Sam P. Seng, Sandler Justice Entrepreneur Fellow, Summer 2010
One specific aim I had interning at GJC was to work on the Burma Project. Later, I realized I have learned more than I expected and beyond the project.
As a program intern under the Burma Project, I began research on the 2008 Burma Constitution as assigned, later documenting all crimes committed by the military regime since they seized state power. I am from Burma and know the true situation there. Documenting the crimes, and reading the victims’ stories made my heart ache. Such stories woke me up to amending the injustice rooted in Burmese law for decades.
During my time at GJC, one valuable new thing I have explored is feminism, specifically the Helms laws and Gag rules. It taught me that words such as “sex, abortion, intercourse, and rape” are barred or censored from discussion among organizations when using United States foreign aid money. Learning that GJC battles to clear up this barrier, I am impressed and hope to engage more in this gender issue. This piece of information provides me with a new perspective to study in my US foreign policy class fall semester.
One life-long perspective I gained from GJC is the ability to use the international system along with legal tools to enforce UN and US mechanisms for global policy change. I refer to the GJC method as: “a new recipe to boil down unjust systems in countries that oppress their own citizens.” While the international community still debates on the issue of how to react to state actors going against their own people, GJC is already vocal and playing a leading role in what to do with countries upholding unjust principles. I wish I had a chance to learn more about using these legal tools to monitor the global mechanism.
Armed with new knowledge, legal tools and critical eyes gained at GJC, I am certain that my senior year thesis will turn out to be an excellent one. as my concentration is international studies, the GJC strategies and tactics really assist my studies and vision. Overall, I gained enormously more knowledge than I expected. GJC’s incredible work has really had a huge impact on my life, making me more commited to working for a future democratic Burma.
Sai Sam P. Seng is a senior at SUNY Plattsburgh, majoring in International Studies.