Geneva, IBJ, Alexia, and Running

Geneva and IBJ

My office is on Rue de Monthoux between Gare Cornavin (the central train station) and the quay. The most well known landmark in Geneva is probably the Jet d’Eau (water fountain) which is to the left out of this frame... The other photo is of the Brunswick Monument across the street, the first mausoleum built in Geneva. I have been reading a lot to get up to speed at the office this week. Some of the more interesting things I have been learning about are the procedural rules for the European Court, and the criminal codes for Azerbaijan. It is hard to wrap my head around a civil law system. I understand that, conceptually, the civil law system should eliminate unfairness which arises from a common law system treating similar facts differently in different situations. In reality however, a corrupt court can apply the law equally or more arbitrarily within a civil system.

                International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) is dedicated to protecting the fundamental human rights of all women, men, and children in developing countries. IBJ’s focus is eradicating torture and cruel treatment during pre-trial detention through access to competent legal representation. Founder and attorney Karen Tse delivered a TED Talk years ago about IBJ’s mission, goals, and theory of change and you can view it online still with a quick goodle search. IBJ’s areas of major work are in Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe, India, China, and Cambodia. IBJ has trained over 22,000 criminal defense lawyers representing over 30,000 clients; launched legal rights awareness campaigns reaching 25 million global citizens; instituted a “JusticeMakers” program funding 55 fellows engaged in innovative criminal justice reform in 37 countries; and established several online resources used by thousands of professionals. IBJ brings together committed advocates of various ages and faith groups through youth scholar programs and interfaith peach vigils.



The Expat Church

Another intern I work with, Alexia, is finishing up her undergrad at UVA, but has returned home to Geneva for the summer. Her family invited me to attend English speaking services with them at the Pentecostal church near our office. Her mother is Greek and her father is Swiss, so Alexia is fluent in English, French, German, Greek, and also speaks some Spanish and Hindi. The reading for services addressed the Tower of Babel, so members of the congregation read from Acts in 14 of their native tongues: Greek, Dutch, Swiss-German, Italian, French, Spanish, Duala, Swahili, Ghanaian, High German, Mandarin Chinese, Maori, Afrikaans, and English. We ran into our boss, Karen, and her son in church as well!

Church picture


Given that I have been consuming what I can only describe as an irresponsible amount of cheese, I am quite glad I am simultaneously training for a race. I’ll be doing most of my training for a September ultramarathon here in France and Switzerland. Being in the city will make it very difficult for me to find routes for my long runs (10-20 mi+), but I’ve found some good farmland area in the hills outside of Annemasse for now. The route winds back and forth over the international border: I probably ran through (unmanned) border checkpoints over a dozen times each yesterday and today. My favorite part is a stretch of several miles of poppy fields. It is difficult to capture accurately in a photo, but it is quite beautiful. This photo shows some vineyards prior to the poppies. A few nights ago, my roommate Dodly cooked authentic Haitian food for me from his memories of growing up as a child. I enjoyed everything he made, with the exception of the chicken livers. He said it is very good for runners, and I ate two to be a good sport, but I will not be adding it to my kitchen repertoire.