Understanding International law during war times
Augustin Bollue is studying international law, specifically the laws of armed conflicts, at the Swedish Defence University. Here, he is delving into the world of conflict, war, and the legal aspects that surround them, learning from both fellow students and experienced faculty.
Making the journey from Brussels to Stockholm, Augustin Bollue, dives into studying the laws around war and conflict at the Swedish Defence University. Only a month in, and he is already exploring areas such as human rights and peace operations, aiming for a future in which he might work in international law or crisis management – perhaps even becoming an ambassador one day.
Augustin, moving from law studies in Brussels to focusing on armed conflicts in Sweden is quite a leap. What’s the story there?
"I wanted to do my master's in another country. The study of law in Belgium was good, but it was too small for me. The Swedish Defence University offered a broader and deeper focus, particularly on laws related to war. My choice to study in Stockholm was driven by my desire to experience life in Northern Europe. Compared to the fast-paced lifestyle in Western and Central Europe, Sweden offers a more relaxed and calm atmosphere. The culture here prioritizes personal well-being. The dark winters here make self-care essential. People in Sweden are less rushed and appear more zen."
It takes courage to explore topics like armed conflicts. What's meaningful to you about them?
"I'm drawn to the human side of things. When I watch the news, I remember that every event involves people who deserve equal opportunities. This program reminds me of that, and it's meaningful to me. I thought about another master's program in aviation and air and space law in Montreal. But I chose Stockholm because it focuses more on humanity. In comparison, air and space law is very straightforward, dealing only with, well, air and space. I really value the emphasis on the human aspect."
What's the teaching style like here, especially compared to Belgium?
"It's a positive shift. Here, we have shorter study blocks and individual exams, which is different from Belgium's bundled exams. The teachers are really friendly and truly want to understand your thoughts. My master's program here is practical, and the classes often become discussions where we dive into varied viewpoints and analyze cases thoroughly. Plus, we get to interact with military personnel, officers, and educators worldwide. This gives me a rich, invaluable experience for wherever I go next."
How would you describe the vibe at the Swedish Defence University?
"It's a nice place to be. My classmates, the teachers – we’re a close group. The up-to-date facilities and activities, especially the conferences, keep you busy and involved. It’s a good kind of stress that keeps you focused!"
Where do you see yourself going, career-wise, in the future?
"Honestly, I’m not entirely sure. I’m keeping doors open to multiple paths but leaning towards an international career, possibly involving work with international organizations, NGOs, or government roles dealing with global issues. At 60, I see myself possibly working as an ambassador."
Quick Facts about Augustin Bollue:
From: Brussels, Belgium
Previous studies: Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Political Science
Now studying: LL.M. Programme in International Operational Law at the Swedish Defence University
Advice for prospective students: I'd say, just apply. Once you get the results, you can decide. If you're into political sciences, it's an excellent school. If you find the topics interesting, you won't regret it.
In his free time: Augustin finds solace in exploring the city, running, engaging in non-war related reading, and culinary adventures.
Book recommendation: "New Earth" by Ekhart Tolle, "Ikigai" by Hector Garcia & Francesc Miralles and "Recalé" by Michael Hjorth & Hans Rosenfeldt.
Role model: Kamala Harris, for her resonating journey, beliefs, and her ability to embody confidence whilst maintaining groundedness.
Guiding life principle: "What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Challenges are an opportunity for growth.”
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