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Minsk hosts Youth for Peace International Law Competition for the 8th time, gathering young students from 16 countries all over the world
By Yury Chernyakevich
Global conflict involving weapons of mass destruction, huge asteroids falling to Earth and hacker attacks on government offices were all presented to those taking part in the Youth for Peace Law Competition. Through role play, the young students were able to demonstrate their knowledge of international law, offering concrete solutions, while adhering to UN conventions. They ‘became’ legal advisers to presidents and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, even recreating a criminal trial. Needless to say, such experience is extremely beneficial.
Sadly, natural disasters and international armed conflicts are part of our contemporary world: the devastating tornado in North America; the meteorite hit near Chelyabinsk; bloodshed in Syria; and the tense situation on the Korean peninsula.
MITSO International University has gained prestige through organising the event, with more participants taking part each year, from a wider geographical area. Meanwhile, the complexity of the tasks also develops, really challenging tomorrow’s legal experts, as the First Vice-Rector of MITSO International University, the Head of the Organising Committee, Andrey Kozik, explains. He tells us, “While the first competition brought together only representatives from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, we now have 16 countries taking part.” Besides students from across the CIS, those from Cuba, Singapore, Serbia, China, Kenya, Romania and Poland took part, making the law event one of the most famous worldwide.
The jury comprised leading international experts from New Zealand, Australia, Germany and Armenia. Jury member Vladimir Vardanyan, Chief of the Advisory Service of the Constitutional Court of Armenia, comments, “From the point of view of jurisprudence, this competition offers serious experience for application in the field of international law, while being a unique opportunity for intercultural communication. It gives the chance for representatives of different nations to understand each other better.”
During the Olympiad, students showed deep knowledge of international humanitarian law, each having been chosen by their countries for their talent. The Cuban team, from Havana, were attending for the second time and have been preparing for this event for the past year; they admit that they enjoy the event as much to meet new friends from around the world as to show their knowledge of international law.
A series of public lectures by experts on international relations were organised to coincide with the contest and, as an additional bonus, our guests were given a tour of Belarus.
Many of those who have taken part in the competition in past years are now working in their ministries of foreign affairs, or in their defence or justice ministries. No doubt, they each remember the competition in Minsk fondly and their opinions on armed conflict may have been shaped by their experience at the appropriately named Youth for Peace Olympiad.