Long interested in transitional justice, I jumped at the opportunity to spend the summer of 2012 working for the United Nations Development Program in Pristina, Kosovo. The UNDP has been at the forefront of the effort to rebuild Kosovo since 1999. In the office’s Governance Cluster, I worked primarily on projects focused on the rule of law, disaster risk reduction and transitional justice issues. For those projects I conducted research and wrote reports necessary to setting up and evaluating development programs. Some of my work was used in the proposal for the UNDP’s transitional justice project that seeks to help Kosovo overcome lingering issues from the 1998-99 conflict there.
My experience included attending a range of development-oriented conferences and observing a war crimes trial. Embracing the opportunity to learn firsthand what it’s like to work for an arm of the United Nations, I also learned a great deal about Kosovo as a unique post-conflict society and budding state. Overall, it was a remarkable experience that I would not have had without the Buffalo Human Rights Center Fellowship.