Like most things this year, things are up in the air when it comes to making plans—even more so when they are supposed to involve international travel… Fortunately, that has not stopped me from being able to begin my summer internship with the Central and Eastern European Law Initiative (CEELI) Institute. While most of the staff members reside in Prague, the wonders of technology and virtual development over the last year of Covid have allowed me to become a part of this amazing team, remotely…which includes plugging in on a daily basis with international judges spread across a variety of countries.
I do currently have one in-person “coworker” and constant companion—my dog, Ponche… whose presence helps break up the day, but he is frequently found sleeping on the job.
Fittingly enough, given my ability to plug into CEELI life relies on the world of technology, the work I will be doing this summer centers on Digital Justice. In normal times, CEELI typically hosts programs at their Villa Gröbovka in Prague, drawing judges and other legal professionals together for courses, discussions, and network building. This past year or so, like many other organizations, CEELI has made the graceful transition to online programs to produce the same experience, providing courses on timely subjects for their participants—things like Remote Judging and Digital Justice.
My first projects this summer involve helping to proof the Guidelines on Remote Judging that arose from workshops and the experiences of judges from a few countries in Central and Eastern Europe, crafting a podcast series from content produced during the online Digital Justice Course, and assisting in finalizing the report from the webinar Spotlight Events Series (which highlighted current situations in Poland, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Romania, Ukraine, and Hungary).
I will also get to witness the planning and transition back to in-person programs …and while I will not be around to partake in such events in person …I may be lucky enough to be writing this blog from Prague itself come July. For now, I have to settle for the weekly staff meetings on Zoom to get a feel for group dynamics and the wider array of projects CEELI is working out outside of my internship scope.
My first day on the job showed me just how incredible an opportunity working with CEELI is and how expansive the Judicial Network they have cultivated over the years spreads. I found myself on a Zoom call with individuals from a whole host of countries – Romania, Serbia, North Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria, and the list goes on… I just sit there awestruck many a time, listening to the wealth of knowledge and wisdom concentrated in a single meeting. So much to learn over just 10 weeks!