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A lawyer making the case for Humanity

Updated: Nov 27, 2022

A lawyer specialized in international humanitarian and human rights law, (LL.M), Yasmine Sherif is currently the

Vice President & Director of International Relations at the Global Center for Justice & Humanity (GCJH).

Ms. Sherif has over 25 years of professional experience with the United Nations, having served at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and in Geneva, as well as in Afghanistan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and the Middle East. She has also led UN assessment missions to Chad, Central African Republic, East Timor, Kosovo, Guatemala, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In addition, Ms. Sherif is a former Adjunct Professor at Long Island University, where she was responsible for the UN Masters Programme on humanitarian affairs, international human rights and international politics. Ms. Sherif has written a number of articles on international law, and has appeared in the media in the US, Canada and Scandinavia. She is the author of the groundbreaking book, The Case for Humanity: An Extraordinary Session (October 2015), which calls for a new a new pioneering approach to international politics and the role of the individual in elevating the world to a new level of humanity.

What are the websites that you visit after you get up and why?

BBC News and Facebook - that's where I get my news. BBC because of latest news and Facebook because I trust my friends to intelligently filter the news.

• Tell me about a book that had an impact on your life and why.

There are several books that had a strong impact on my life. "Gandhi - The Man," by Eknath Easwaran, "Man's Search for a Meaning," by Viktor E Frankl, "The Knowing Heart," by Kabir Helminski, and "Markings," by Dag Hammarskjold. I have read these books over and over again over the past 25 years or so. They have had a profound transformational impact on me and my work. These books inspire a deep understanding of why we are here and how we can best be of service.

• Who are your favorite authors?

Leo Tolstoy, Gandhi, Paolo Coelho, among others.

• What historical figure do you identify with?

Beethoven for his passion and creativity, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr for their sense of justice and humanity, Hammarksjold for his mysticism and spiritual search, and my children for the pureness of their hearts.

• Who are your heroes in real life?

The countless of unknown heroes who struggle silently at the mercy of others in abject poverty and violent conflicts. They are my heroes and my teachers, who taught me so much about humanity and forgiveness.

• What is your favorite occupation?

Serving humanity in all possible ways: writing, speaking, acting. It is my passion and calling.

• What influenced your career path?

My mother. She was a woman of great compassion, purity of heart, faith, wisdom and values, who encouraged me early on to serve others.

• What do you like about what you do?

That my work is close to my heart and that I can be true to myself. The freedom to be authentic, and the freedom to serve: to be able to give something to others and growing in the process of doing so.

• What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

My two children: to see them blossoming from their core, authentically and creatively, full of love and purity. Professionally, leading the investigation that freed political prisoners in Cambodia in 1992, leading the first repatriation of Bosnian Muslim refugees back to Gorazde across former enemy lines in 1995, building the UN's largest rule of law programme and contributing to UNDP and Peacekeeping working together, and to finally writing my book, "The Case for Humanity." These achievements could not have been possible without others, so these are all shared achievements.

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