The day had finally arrived! We were going to have lunch with one of the most cherished persons on this planet, Dr. Mohamed El-Baradei. There was an excitement in the air as the eleven LL.M. students sat at the table with this Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. The experience was extraordinary. Never in our wildest dreams would we have thought of a scenario where we could be able to break bread with someone of the stature of Dr. El-Baradei; yet there we were, filled with questions and ready to take every singe word of wisdom in.
As we introduced ourselves, related our background, interests and field of study a very thoughtful El-Baradei took note of our names while carefully listening to us. The discussion started with a reflection of the state of the World and how the current issues humanity is facing require a cooperative response from the international community; stressing that global challenges should not be addressed with parochial governance.
The exchange continued allowing for different views on the legitimacy and legality of State’s action, which lead to observations on the establishment of international institutions and the international rule of law. We debated on reshaping the international legal order around human dignity and human needs, as opposed to a State-based order.
Dr. El-Baradei generously shared his personal experience leading the IAEA, his challenges and preoccupations, his decision to leave the Agency and serve his home country, Egypt. He then recounted his term as Vice-president and the difficult choice he had to make when renouncing this position.
Without a doubt, nothing I have described above could compare to the greatest insight this two and a half hour gathering left us: To be humble, to smile, to joke, to thrive for a fair, peaceful, better World and despite all odds, never give up.
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