ALUMNI PROFILE Makeda Yeshaneh (LLM '20)
Combining theory and practice
After witnessing firsthand the lack of rule of law and meaningful sustainable development in her home country of Ethiopia, Makeda Leikun Yeshaneh (LLM ’20) knew Loyola’s Rule of Law for Development Program (PROLAW) would provide her with the tools to create real change. A year of intense study ended with an internship at the World Bank Legal Vice Presidency’s Legal Internship Program (LIP).
Your internship was to be an on-site experience. How did the pandemic change that?
The internship was to take place, in-person, at the Legal Vice Presidency in Washington, D.C. Due to the pandemic, I worked completely online. I was assigned to the Legal Vice Presidency’s Africa, Middle East, and North Africa (LEGAM) practice. The internship was supposed to run for two months.
Tell me about the duties you were assigned.
I focused on legal systems research. I drafted summaries of the executive, legislative, and judicial systems of countries in the Middle East; as well as researching selected aspects of the legal system in Ethiopia. I was also fortunate enough to take part in the negotiations and training offered by the World Bank and the LEGAM.
Despite working remotely, were you able to participate in meetings and discussions? Meet with colleagues?
Yes, I was. I was able to observe discussions about project preparations and negotiations with government representatives concerning projects to be financed by the World Bank. I added to my understanding of international development architecture and garnered valuable insight into how high-level negotiations are carried out.
How did the PROLAW program prepare you for the internship?
With this internship, I was able to put into practice what I learned in my PROLAW courses. In the very first week I was assigned to research various countries and their legal systems. The program stresses how international development projects are handled from inception to implementation, including preparing legal documents, various contracts, and negotiations on these terms. By combining the class work with the internship, I now fully understand the importance of knowing how other countries' legal system functions to advise effectively.