As a student at large public university, finding your specific niche or crevice is difficult to achieve. I am a double major in International Studies along with Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine. I first discovered the IHL Action Campaign through my school’s endless database of possible internships. The Red Cross initially caught my eye because of my previous knowledge of the organization’s mission, but after learning more about the Action Campaign my interest was ignited. I have always been interested in non-profits and NGOs that have an international focus. However, finding a program that actually catered to my specific interests was extremely difficult due to the overwhelming amount of choices my school offered.
Part of the Action Campaign included becoming familiarized and trained with information on international humanitarian law (IHL). As training day came along, I did not know what to expect since international humanitarian law is such a broad topic. I approached this day with an open mind but was blown away by the reality of this program. The scale of IHL’s importance has never occurred to me prior to this program. Despite knowing that IHL has an international reach, I was not expecting my thoughts and opinions to be challenged. I was also not expecting to be put in a position where I was actually in the shoes of someone facing danger in a conflict zone. This program shines light on the reality of how important these international laws are and how much influence it has – even over me, even when I have never been put into a situation where these laws and rights are a necessity for survival. The IHL Action Campaign created a space to actively engage, learn, and take action in something bigger than myself.
Author: Lillian Quan, Team Leader, American Red Cross Orange County Chapter