For Tammy Pustilnick, 27, a lawyer from Chile, Israel was the best place to hone her knowledge of international and humanitarian law – especially during the recent Gaza conflict. “Studying in Israel during that time has been like a learning laboratory,” says the recent graduate of the first class of TAU’s new Parasol Foundation International LLM Program. The program is centered at TAU’s Buchmann Faculty of Law, ranked first in Israel and among the top law schools in the world in research impact.
The Program offers three study tracks for lawyers wishing to gain an academic grounding in their areas of specialization: Law, Global Governance and Human Rights; Law, State and Religion; and Law and Technology. More than 50 courses taught in English are on offer, allowing students to explore contemporary challenges to law stemming from processes of globalization, the complexities of the Middle East Region, the Israeli legal and social systems, and the technological dynamism of the “start-up nation.”
Eran Brauer, Senior Advisor to the Parasol Foundation Trust in Israel, says, “The Trust is supporting various cross-border projects that enable foreign students to benefit from an excellent academic level and entrepreneurial environment in Israel. The LLM Program is a great example of fruitful cooperation between the Trust and the University. Eventually, the program’s graduates will return to their home countries and become goodwill ambassadors for Israel.”
The Parasol Foundation Trust awards substantial fellowships aimed at promoting diversity and rewarding academic excellence. The Trust is also supporting Indian students at the TAU Recanati Business School as well as at other universities.
Global learning center
(Former) Academic Director of the Program, Prof. Eyal Benvenisti, says, “The LLM Program connects the University with the world and is part of our effort to establish ourselves as a global learning center. The mingling between the international and Israeli students enriches the learning experience for both and results in a cross-fertilization of ideas that raise the level of discussion in the classes,” he says.
For Tammy, who completed her law degree in Chile where she worked in the antitrust sector, the TAU law experience was a real eye opener. “On this program I gained so much knowledge about what international law actually says about conflict situations. It is important to be informed and understand the legality of everything since the issues are very complicated.”
Tammy is happy. Not only has she recently completed a world-class graduate law degree at TAU, but she’s enjoying living in Tel Aviv – the city that never sleeps – with her husband, whom she met on a Birthright trip to Israel, and had her first child – “an Israeli baby” – all within the space of one year. She is now extending her time at TAU to write a thesis in her field and hopes to eventually work at an NGO in human rights law.
Career entry point
Julienne Yueh, 34, from California selected TAU because of its strong reputation, but also because she believed the degree would set her on her desired career path. A graduate in economics from UC Davis and in law from Santa Clara University, Yueh has worked as an economics analyst for the State of California, and as a litigator in both civil tort law and immigration and deportation proceedings.
At TAU, Yueh decided to switch from litigation to intellectual property law, in which she hopes to specialize in California. She gained a broader perspective from her TAU experience, including great networking opportunities with other students and faculty.
This year, 17 students from diverse backgrounds are registered in the program, including from France, Germany, Italy, Macedonia, USA, Russia and China.
Microscope on Israeli legal system
New this year is Aleksandra Hristova, 29, from Skopje, Republic of Macedonia. For Aleksandra, who is taking the Law, State and Religion track in the program, Israel – with its complex societal makeup – is the very best place to focus on her interest – how democratic societies deal with the human rights of ethnic and religious minorities.
Aleksandra studied law at the South East European University in Tetovo, a unique university that was established to promote togetherness and equality between minorities in Macedonia. After her studies, she worked as a local expert in legal issues in an EU project focusing on the legal aspects of Macedonia’s candidacy for the European Union and then in the area of contract law in a corporate telecommunications company. Even though her working experience is not related to her master’s studies, she is convinced that the Law, State and Religion track, will greatly contribute to her future endeavors in the area of her interest.
“Nowadays in the Balkans, in Europe as well as in other countries around the world, there is a significant relationship between minority religions and communities and the democratic liberal state. The rights of the individual to express his/her beliefs should be free but not collide with the values and freedoms of other groups within society and create tensions,” she says. “I hope that this program as well as my living experience in Israel will not only help me comprehend but also find ways and guidelines for how to deal with these issues.”
Meanwhile, Aleksandra is extremely impressed by the level of teaching at TAU. "The teachers fulfill all my criteria for being good professors. They’re open-minded, remarkably knowledgeable and always try to encourage dialogue and debates. Our brainstorming sessions are very useful for understanding the Israeli example and experience as well as learning classmates’ societies and their views on certain issues in the law.”
As for what she can bring to TAU, Aleksandra says, “since Israel is a perfect example of a country where democratic and religious principles work hand in hand in its legal system, it will be my pleasure to share my positive Israeli experience with those less familiar with the country and promote Israeli values and the Jewish culture."
The Parasol Foundation Trust is a Gibraltar-based philanthropic trust dedicated to supporting charitable projects in the areas of health and medical research, education, community services, culture and heritage, female entrepreneurship and disaster relief. Ruth Parasol is the principal benefactor and a founding member of the International Advisory Board of the Trust.