An Introduction to the Council on Foreign Relations

June 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

After a successful career as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Juliet Sorensen turned her focus to academia and joined the faculty at Northwestern University in 2010. She served in the Peace Corps during the mid-1990s and has maintained involvement with a range of international organizations, including the United Nations Association of the United States of America and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. From 2000 to 2005, Juliet Sorensen contributed to the Council on Foreign Relations, Inc., as a Term Member.

Established in 1921, the Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides political leaders, businesspeople, students, and regular citizens with in-depth information on the United States’ foreign policy and international issues. The council carries out its work by assembling Independent Task Forces, funding a robust Studies Program, and holding frequent meetings in New York City and Washington, D.C.

One of the main goals of the Council on Foreign Relations is to educate the foreign policy leaders of tomorrow, and the Stephen M. Kellen Term Member Program is an integral part of that mission. A new class of young leaders between the ages of 30 and 36 is chosen for the five-year program each year. Term members convene in committees in Washington, D.C., and New York City to collaborate with leaders from the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition, these members have the opportunity to participate in a range of other events, such as biannual study trips abroad, roundtables, and the annual Term Member Conference. Applicants to the Term Member program must have a letter of nomination from a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as secondary letters of recommendation. For more information about the program and the application process, visit www.cfr.org.

Introduction to International Criminal Law

November 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

Juliet Sorensen was responsible for prosecuting war criminal Jean-Marie Vianney Mudahinyuka, one of the leaders of the Rwandan genocide. Below, she gives a brief introduction to the history of international criminal law.

In contrast to general international law, which mainly concerns the interactions of nations and states, international criminal law primarily involves the actions of individuals.

Although some foreshadowing of international criminal law can be found before the twentieth century, the birth of the field is more properly traced to the Treaty of Versailles, drafted following the end of the First World War. One of the stipulations of the treaty was that an international tribunal be set up to try high-level members of the German government, including Kaiser Wilhelm II.

After the Second World War, another international tribunal was instigated. In this case, however, the tribunal considered not only war crimes but also crimes against humanity. Called the Nuremberg Tribunal, this organization operated from 1945 until 1946. A similar tribunal was set up for Japanese war crimes, which ran from 1946 to 1948.

Since that time, other international tribunals have been established for major wars or instances of genocide. Eventually, the case was made for the establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court (ICC), first drafted in 1993 but not operational until 2002. The mandate of the Court is to prosecute crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression, war crimes, and genocide. In order for the Court to have jurisdiction over a situation, the country involved must sign and ratify a treaty named the Rome Statute or the alleged perpetrator must be its national, or by referral of the UN Security Council (as in the situations in Darfur and Libya).

The following video discusses the first trial conducted by the International Criminal Court. In 2009, the Court prosecuted Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, accused of conscripting child soldiers into his Congolese militia.

[Lubanga case: trial, closure of prosecution case, 15.07.09]

The United States Peace Corps

November 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

One of the most recognized American overseas volunteer programs is the United States Peace Corps, a government-run program with work ongoing in 77 countries. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Juliet Sorensen, a resident of Chicago, is just one of nearly 200,000 former and current Peace Corps members who today lead more enriched and fulfilled lives because of their time spent abroad as volunteers with the organization. Founded in 1961 through an Executive Order, the Peace Corps was established with the intention of promoting world peace and friendship and aiding the people of different nations with skilled laborers. Among the Peace Corps ranks are several former and current U.S. politicians, including Senator Chris Dodd; members of the media such as MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews; business tycoons such as Reed Hastings, founder and CEO of Netflix, Inc.; as well as individuals from the medical, arts, education, and other professional fields. Peace Corps volunteers have served in 139 countries since the program began, and they currently work in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Peace Corps members volunteer in a variety of work areas, including education, health and HIV/AIDS, business development, environment, agriculture, youth development, and other fields. As people’s needs have evolved, so has the work of the Peace Corps. In Africa and the Caribbean, the volunteer organization has further committed itself to fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Elsewhere, Peace Corps volunteers train individuals and groups in information and communications technology, providing people with the tools to expand their opportunities and spheres of influence. Learn more about the United States Peace Corps at www.peacecorps.gov.

Public Health Care in Morocco (1/2)

October 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

Following the completion of her undergraduate coursework at Princeton University, Juliet Sorensen chose to utilize her education to serve the greater good. Joining the Peace Corps in 1995, Juliet Sorensen relocated to rural Morocco, where she spent two years working to improve public health. In her capacity as a Peace Corps volunteer, Juliet Sorensen employed her skills to educate villagers about the importance of proper nutrition, sanitation, dental hygiene, and family planning. Additionally, Juliet Sorensen assisted in the implementation of several sustainable development projects designed to ensure the long-term well-being of Morocco’s rural population.

With a population of approximately 30 million, Morocco struggles to improve its public health care system, a sector that must assist the country’s poor and rural populations. According to a 2005 census, 45 percent of Moroccans live outside of cities and often find it difficult to access basic social services. Ranked 125th by the Human Development Index (HDI) in 2005, Morocco continues to combat a marked lack of generalized education and a high adult illiteracy rate. Such factors further contribute to insufficiencies in the public health care system. Although the country boasts diverse resources such as agriculture, fishing, and a growing tourism industry, economic growth stagnates. This is partly because of a low standard of living in rural communities, a situation exacerbated by notable income inequalities and ineffectual government policies. Surveys completed over the past few years indicate that at least 19 percent of Moroccans subsist under the national poverty line, and of this 19 percent, 70 percent live in rural areas. Moroccan women are especially risk disease and poverty, and earn 40 percent less than their male counterparts.

Lack of income contributes greatly toward a Moroccan’s inability to procure proper medical services. Until recently, the country considered health care to be a non-productive industry, as the national health care sector contributes almost nothing to the annual Gross Domestic Product. With an average of only one physician for every 2,100 residents, Morocco trails far behind other developing countries in regards to the quality and availability of medical services.

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