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R.I.P. YLIP… at Least for Now

January 15, 2013

With my colleagues at ONIC in our office in Bogota, Colombia, November 2011.

With my colleagues at ONIC in our office in Bogota, Colombia, November 2011.

YLIP funding cut

Earlier this morning I read the sad news that funding for my beloved YLIP has been cut, at least for the next couple of years. YLIP is the Canadian Bar Association’s Young Lawyers International Program. It was this program that sponsored me to go to Colombia, helped me get my first field experience in international law, led me to create this blog and quite literally put me on my new career path.

YLIP is a unique program that provides funding to young Canadian lawyers to get human rights law experience abroad. I went to work with the National Organization of Indigenous Persons in Bogota, Colombia through this program in 2011-12. During my time in Colombia, my colleagues worked in various organizations in South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, Kenya, and Guyana.

Sadly this announcement doesn’t come as a surprise. As the end of my time studying international law in Switzerland I became acutely aware that almost all the positions available for those entering this field are unpaid, many are unpaid for several years. Facing increasing student debt these were not viable options for me and many of my classmates. When I was accepted and starting explaining YLIP to my classmates, they could not believe the Canadian government funded it. My reaction was always, yes and I assume as soon as they figure out they’re doing it, it will be cut.

Flash forward not even 2 years and here we are, a sad, but not surprising day.

R.I.P. YLIP… hope to see you again soon.

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