ANU Law alumna Rachel Kirk (BA/LLB (Hons) ’17) will head to the Peace Palace at The Hague after receiving the Permanent Court of Arbitration Fellowship to support the top international court’s work. The 12-month fellowship is supported by the ANU College of Law Frohlich Scholarship.
Rachel, a policy adviser at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), will assist the court in its day-to-day tasks by conducting research, preparing case files and drafting judgments.
“It will be fantastic to see how decisions are made at that high level, especially if those decisions might have an effect on how policy is shaped in Australia. Having that international perspective, beyond the domestic level, will be really interesting,” she said.
During her ANU studies, Rachel developed a strong interest in international law that was fostered both in and out of the lecture theatre.
“I did a lot of international law courses for my law degree – there are so many good courses on it here,” said Rachel, who was also a student editor of the Australian Year Book of International Law during her time at the ANU.
One of the highlights of her studies was an intensive two-week course in Geneva she undertook in early 2017. Facilitated by Associate Professor Sarah Heathcote, the course also reaffirmed to Rachel the value of her French language skills on the international law stage.
“One of the reasons I studied French was that I knew it was one of the official languages of the UN. Even though I wasn’t sure early on if I’d be using it for that specific purpose, as someone interested in international law, I did hope it would be handy,” she said.
Having completed PM&C’s graduate program earlier this year, Rachel has already acquired far-reaching experience through working on women’s safety, Indigenous affairs and now international policy..
“At some point I’d love to work further overseas and maintain that international focus, whether it’s through work or further study. But my current position is so interesting and I think I’ll be really well supported by having a greater understanding of international law.”