interviewed by Salma Farouq
- There are always reasons behind our choices, what motivated you to choose law?
Like probably half of all Law students, I wanted to “save the world”. Being half-German half-Egyptian exposed me early on to fundamental social differences, which I wanted to bridge from a legal angle. Since I was extremely interested in constitutional principles, branches of government, mechanisms of checks and balance, civil rights and how they trickle down to statutory laws, I decided that law was my tool to make a difference.
- Could you take us through the path as a law student?
Studying law in Germany is very different. I studied five years of general law with specialization in Public International Law at Cologne University, graduating with the first State Exam. I then concluded the two-year legal residency at the Regional High Court of Dusseldorf and graduated with the second State Exam. I conducted my research for my Ph.D. at Fordham Law School in New York, for which I received a scholarship from the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation.
- As you studied law abroad, what differences do you see between the law in Egypt and outside Egypt?
Studying law in Germany, requires five years of law school, acquiring legal knowledge, and two years of legal residency, acquire practical training. You gain a comprehensive insight into theory and practice. The State exam system means students are examined after five years on everything learned as opposed to a final exam at the end of each semester and then forget everything. Another difference is how law students have their legal codes on them at all times, enabling them to know and apply the legal rule and argue based on the legal text.
- You have recently published the book “The Impact of the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW) on the domestic legislation in Egypt”; give us more insights on the book?
The book gives an account of the implementation of CEDAW in Egypt. The background was the question of whether Human Rights Conventions actually have an impact on the ground or merely serve the States’ image. My finding was that since the CEDAW doesn’t provide for enforcement mechanisms, it can’t be legally enforced. Yet, it serves as a reference framework for NGOs or the NCW when suggesting new laws strengthening women’s rights. It also looks into several areas of law, i.e. constitution, family law, criminal law, nationality law, labor law.
- You are currently the International Cooperation Advisor to the Minister of Tourism; tell us more about your position?
It’s an exciting time to work with the Minister; we have recently launched E—TRP at the Egyptian Parliament, a 5 pillars tourism reform based on UN SDGs. The last pillar includes the Economic Empowerment of Women, Green Tourism, and Innovation & Digitalization. I was heavily involved in developing this. Also, I have been handling international relations, primarily the UNWTO, WTTC. I have been organizing the UNWTO Regional Tourism Tech Forum, including Egypt’s first Startup Competition in Tourism.
- What are your plans for the future?
The Minister and I agreed from the beginning that my position would be for one year, which is coming to an end soon. I am looking forward to going back to academia and taking on different consultancies.
- What advice would you give law students?
Dare to find your passion, and work hard to create a job opportunity in that field. You need to distinguish yourself by getting internships, participate in field trips, conferences, write for law magazines, newspapers, and blogs.