Posted by Mohamed Aziz on September 22, 2016
Ever since I can remember, I have been interested in pursuing a career in public interest. The notion that people could collectively undertake in a common goal – to make the world better, is the central motivation behind my desire to attain an education involving policy. I attended Baldwin-Wallace College and the Ohio Northern -- University Claude W. Pettit College of Law, where I specialized in policy within the domestic and international context. My political enthusiasm further developed when I attended a week-long constitutional law seminar course involving the intersection between law and legislation in Washington, D.C. I recall sitting in on a Supreme Court case, meeting with elected officials, and taking a tour of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Quite simply, I became inspired to be at the forefront of change.
My interest in electoral reform and voting rights developed out of a sense of urgency that the United States faces pressing democratic challenges with regard to how we elect our representatives, such as low turnout elections, increased polarization, and lack of gender parity and diversity in who we have representing us in all levels of government. After having taken courses dealing with relevant topics such as voting rights, election law, and campaign finance, I knew that I wanted to somehow work to make electoral reform a reality through common sense, practical modifications such as the innovations offered by FairVote. Since learning about the legal and policy implications of electoral reform, I have found that FairVote is on the front lines in researching what does not work, and advocating for what does work. Now, having the opportunity to work at FairVote, I am proud to say that I am even more committed to the idea of policy work, particularly in working to enact real, lasting reform.
In addition to electoral reform and voting rights, I have also focused my studies in public international law. I spent time working as a law and policy intern at the United Nations Headquarters, where I assisted a foreign diplomatic mission with work pertaining to Syrian refugee assistance, and met numerous diplomatic and political figures. I also worked as a legal fellow at an international criminal tribunal in the Hague, Netherlands, where I drafted memoranda pertaining to independent counsel representation of suspects involved in carrying out the assassination of the late Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafic Hariri. Aside from the valuable experience at the tribunal, I was able to make my trip even more worthwhile by traveling to various other European countries. To say that this immersion into new cultures changed my entire perspective on life would be an understatement.
I look forward to learning more about the complexities and social corollaries of voting rights legislation, and hope to continue my passion of writing about law and policy. Living in D.C. will also provide me with a great opportunity to visit various museums and restaurants in the area, which I look forward to!