Blog 4: Amal Clooney

Born in Beirut, Amal Clooney had to move away to Buckinghamshire, at the age of 2, because of the Lebanese Civil War. She spent her whole life after that in that same city, completing her education and submitting to the bar. She attended  Dr Challoner’s High School, a girls’ grammar school. She then studied at St Hugh’s College, in Oxford, where she received an Exhibition and the Shrigley Award. In 2000, Clooney graduated with a BA degree in Jurisprudence. Next, she continued her education at New York University, where she obtained a masters in Jurisprudence. At NYU, Clooney received the Jack J. Katz Memorial Award for excellence in entertainment law. She is qualified to practice law in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Ten years later, Amal Clooney returned to Britain. There, she became a barrister in London (Bar of England & Wales, Inner Temple) at Doughty Street Chambers. In 2013, Clooney was appointed to a number of United Nations commissions, including as adviser to Special Envoy Kofi Annan on Syria and as Counsel to the 2013 Drone Inquiry by UN human rights rapporteur Ben Emmerson QC into the use of drones in counter-terrorism operations. Her passion for law has shone through her work. Clooney has been involved in high-profile cases representing the state of Cambodia, the former Libyan intelligence chief Abdallah Al Senussi, Yulia Tymoshenko and Julian Assange, as well as being an adviser to the King of Bahrain in connection with the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry headed by Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni. Most recently, Clooney was appointed the special envoy on media freedom by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

As a human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney took on many notable cases. For example, Clooney began work on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in January of 2015. She was representing Armenia, on behalf of Doughty Street Chambers along with Geoffrey Robertson QC. Another example would be her work representing Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian Al Jazeera English journalist, who, along with other journalists, was being held in Egypt. He was eventually sentenced to three years in prison before finally being pardoned by Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Amal Clooney took her career down a different road- in the spring of 2015- by becoming a visiting faculty member and a senior fellow with Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute. She was a co-professor with Sarah H. Cleveland in Cleveland’s course on human rights and taught a class on human rights litigation to students in the school’s Human Rights Clinic. She continued teaching for the spring 2018 semester. Clooney taught at Columbia Law School, again as a co-professor with Sarah H. Cleveland, on a core class on human rights. She has also lectured students on international criminal law at the Law School of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, The New School in New York City, The Hague Academy of International Law, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Aside from her career as a human rights and international law lawyer, Amal Clooney has other conquests. Born Amal Alamuddin, she married George Clooney in 2014. In June 2017, she gave birth to fraternal twins. Along with her husband, Amal Clooney founded Clooney Foundation for Justice, in late 2016, to advance justice in courtrooms, communities, and classrooms around the world. Not only that, she also partnered with the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative in beginning the Amal Clooney Scholarship, which was created to send one female student from Lebanon to the United World College Dilijan each year, to be enrolled in a two-year International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

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