Being a fearless voice for disempowered communities resonates with Nermina Zecirovic-Arnaud, who is originally from Novi Pazar in southwest Serbia. Before attending CUNY Law, Zecirovic-Arnaud worked for an international organization promoting women’s rights in countries emerging from conflict. Her original interest in being a lawyer traces back to the late Rhonda Copelon, who founded CUNY Law’s International Women’s Human Rights (IWH R) Clinic. “I realized the advocacy work I was passionate about was being done by people with law degrees,” she said. “I chose CUNY because I was inspired by the work of IWH R and by Rhonda’s vision.”
During Zecirovic-Arnaud’s summer fellowship, she interned at Geneva for Human Rights (GHR) Global Training, a non-governmental organization that trains human rights defenders across the globe. While there, she completed a human rights training course and monitored and analyzed meetings of the 17th session of the Human Rights Council and the Human Rights Committee.
At one session meeting, she met a human rights defender from Sri Lanka who worked to make positive change for people affected by the country’s civil war. He helped produce a movie shedding light on atrocities committed against an ethnic minority by the Sri Lankan government. “He was so inspirational to listen to,” Zecirovic- Arnaud said. “He was unconditionally devoted to defending the rights of the Sri Lankan minorities, and I thought, that’s the kind of advocate I want to be: fierce and fearless.” CUNY Law gave Arnaud the tools and confidence to develop her passion.