For many years, NYU Law students have assisted missions at the United Nations with environmental and other legal work. This year is no exception. Almost a dozen J.D. and LL.M students will be working with the missions of Tonga, Palau, Nauru and Fiji. In addition to legal research, their primary duty is to attend the meetings of the six main committees of the General Assembly and report back to the missions on the discussions. In the past, students have made statements and voted in the committees on behalf of the countries.
For example, Kate Yesberg, an Environmental Law LL.M student from Australia, is working with the Tongan mission covering the work of the Sixth Committee (Legal), which in addition to its regular discussion of the work of the International Law Commission will this year be examining the international law of transboundary aquifers. “The opportunity to work with the Tongan mission to the UN is incredibly exciting,” said Yesberg. “It allows me to better understand the inner workings of the UN, and provides great real-world examples of the topics that I’m studying in class.”
A number of NYU graduates have gone on to work for the missions or at the UN. Mark Jariabka ’02 and Nicholas Arons ’04, who both worked with the Palau mission while at school, established Islands First, an NGO that provides legal, diplomatic and technical support to the small island missions at the UN. David Wei (LL.M ’05), a climate policy officer at Independent Diplomat, a diplomatic consultancy, represents the Republic of the Marshall Islands, in the international climate negotiations.