James Emanuel (J.D. ’12) spent twelve weeks over the summer in Amman, Jordan, as the first AVSI-Notre Dame summer intern. He was hosted by AVSI’s office in Amman, whose programmatic activity includes, inter alia, projects to support Iraqi refugees fleeing the violence in their country. Mr. Emanuel’s research addressed legal challenges facing the Iraqi refugees, especially in accessing formal employment. His final report to AVSI provides a detailed description of the law and practice surrounding work permits for Iraqi refugees and recommends options for improving their access to a sustainable livelihood. For background on AVSI, go to http://www.avsi-usa.org/.
Describing his experience, Mr. Emanuel says his internship was “life changing – something that re-affirmed my interest in international humanitarian law. One thing the experience drove home for me was the incredible impact that the law has in the everyday lives of people around the world: because Iraqi refugees in Jordan do not have lawful access to livelihoods, their situation is precarious. A legal remedy acceptable to all actors involved – the Jordanian government, aid agencies, and Iraqi refugees themselves – would go a long way towards improving the lives of more than 50,000 refugees. Knowing this, one sees the incredible power of the law and the social responsibility conferred by a law degree.”