Amal Clooney fights for human rights on an international scale
May 07, 2020
Amal Clooney is well-known for her work in public international law, international criminal law and human rights. She has defended the rights of many neglected and marginalized groups, individuals, journalists - and also government leaders stripped of their power.
Amal is a Lebanese-British barrister at Doughty Street Chambers who specializes in public international law, international criminal law and human rights. She works with some of the most vulnerable people in society. She sees some of the most horrific situations and yet sees hope.
In fact, Amal's own name means 'hope' in Arabic - and she herself provides much hope and faith to clients whose situation, to many others, may at times seem completely hopeless.
Born in Lebanon, Amal's own history is rooted in turbulence as her own family fled their country to Europe during the war of 1982 and settled in Buckinghamshire in the UK.
After graduating from the University of Oxford in the UK with a Bachelor of Laws degree, Amal then studied for her Master of Laws at New York University in the USA, qualifying her to practice law in both the UK and the US.
Her impressive career that ensued sees her representing clients from a wide range of diverse and international backgrounds as she tenaciously fights for human rights and social justice.
"Outrage drives action," says Amal.
Representing high-profile cases
As one of the world's most acclaimed international human rights lawyer, Amal has represented some of the most high-profile cases and clients.
For example, Amal has represented Nobel Prize winner Nadia Murad who has advocated strongly for justice for the Yazidi people; the government in Greece in its long-running bid to have a collection of classical Greek sculptures returned from the British Museum in the UK. She has also defended one of three al-Jazeera journalists detained in Egypt; represented the country of Armenia for recognition of the genocide; and represented Cambodia in its battle to claim the Temple of Preah Vihear.
Throughout her career, Amal has met with many world leaders including Pope Francis with whom she discussed Europe's migrant crisis, and the UK's former Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss sanctions against Maldivian government figures as she sat alongside her client the Maldivian politician Mohamed Nasheed.
Leading the Clooney Foundation for Justice
In addition to Amal's work in the field of law, she is the Co-Founder and President of the Clooney Foundation for Justice that advocates for justice through accountability for human rights abuses around the world.
Through its TrialWatch program, the Foundation fights for the rights of those oppressed by governments around the world, while The Sentry and The Docket programs expose corruption that violates human rights.
Amal's Foundation also works to protect marginalized and vulnerable communities, to support children's education, to seek justice for refugees and to oppose hate-crimes.
Speaking out about women's rights and equality
Amal is a long-standing champion and advocate for women's rights worldwide and has been described by The Cut as the 'consummate feminist superhero'.
In partnership with Aurora Humanitarian Initiatives, she established the Amal Clooney Scholarship that supports the attendance of one female student from Lebanon to the United World College Dilijan annually.
As a high-profile guest at many global conferences, Amal has discussed a wide and varied range of aspects including the #MeToo movement, rape as a weapon of war, and the need for women to stand up for one another.
Amal believes that "if we keep up the fight for women's rights [...] there is nothing we can't do" but she also reinforces and emphasizes the need for women to feel they can "stand up for each other."
She also reinforces the complexity of women's inequality and how "the challenges that women face today are completely different based on where they’re born."
Importantly, Amal advocates for courage in the face of adversity, and empowers people to "be agents of change."
"At a time when women all over the world face physical abuse, restrictions over their ability to work, own property, travel and even have custody over their children, we need courage," she says.
"Be courageous. Challenge orthodoxy. Stand up for what you believe in," Amal told Vanderbilt University graduates in a speech on courage that saw a standing ovation.
Sharing her knowledge with the next generation
Amal is also an educator who aims to inspire the next generation to fight for human rights in the courts of law.
In 2015, she commenced lecturing as a senior fellow with the Columbia University Law School's Human Rights Institute.
Amal has also lectured students on international criminal law at the Law School of the School of Oriental and African Studies, The University of London, The New School in New York City, The Hague Academy of International Law, and at The University of North Carolina.
Making her mark on the world
Amal is making a positive and significant reassuring mark on the world. Brave and courageous, Amal's work positively impacts the outcomes for many individuals, communities, governments and countries as she aims tirelessly for a fairer and more equal future.
Encouraging others to do the same, she stands by the importance of living a fulfilling and memorable life.
When asked by IBM in their Think Digital 2020 Conference amidst the pandemic about her thoughts, Amal says: "We are entering a new era of togetherness ... What are we teaching our children? Do they have empathy? What values do they espouse? ... We should all be agents of change."
Pertinently, she also reminds: "Think about your life from the end looking back. What do you want to be remembered for? Have a good story."