CBA hosts pre-departure training for Young Lawyers International Program interns

  • August 16, 2019

By Nasrudin Mumin

The Canadian Bar Association’s Young Lawyers International Program hosted pre-departure training this summer for a cohort of 32 interns selected for the 2019 program.

This is the second year of the four-year, $8-million program funded by Global Affairs Canada, which facilitates opportunities for interns to gain effective skills and perspectives in the field of justice and development. It also enables support for the work of overseas organizations in law reform, access to justice, and human rights. This cohort will assume six-month placements all over the globe— including Southern Africa, East Africa, the Caribbean, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe.

The pre-departure training gives interns the knowledge, skills and competencies required to be an intern in a different country, and fosters relationship building among the YLIP participants. This training program is the only opportunity for all 32 interns to meet each other in person prior to taking up their placements.

Interns were trained on relevant topics such as their obligations to their host organization, and given advice for ensuring their safety and security, as well as managing their finances. They were informed about the possibilities of engaging the public in Canada during their placement period through postings on social media and writing articles for blogs and websites. One notable component of the first day of training was a panel of YLIP alumni, who provided insight and advice to interns about their experiences. The five alumni who made up the panel (both in person and via remote connections) were:

  • Gabriel Marrocco (YLIP 2018/2019 in Madagascar),
  • Gloria Song (YLIP 2010 in Namibia),
  • Laura MacLean (YLIP 2018/2019 in Durban, South Africa),
  • Samantha Wynne (YLIP 2018/2019 in Namibia) and
  • Sheru Abdulhusein (YLIP 2018/2019 in Kenya).

The second and third days of pre-departure training focused on cultural competency, gender and sexual diversity and, most importantly, self-care and resilience.

AFS Interculture Canada, an organization that specializes in cross-cultural training, delivered an illuminating session that included information about the dimensions of culture, cultural differences and the best ways to address them, stereotypes/ generalizations, and intercultural communication.

Peer supporter and facilitator Franklynn Bartol delivered a training workshop on anti-oppressive and trauma-informed lawyering. This training is considered essential for YLIP interns, who will be exposed to and in communication with clients who have experienced significant trauma.

Elaine Poulin, Peer Facilitator, Peer & Trauma Support Systems Team, presented a comprehensive session on resiliency—focusing on health and wellness in response to common challenges and issues interns may experience while living abroad.  Poulin emphasized that interns should build an online support system through group video calls or by joining a “Tune-In Tuesday,” YLIP`s peer-to-peer community support network.

Jennifer Johnson, the CBA’s Director of International Initiatives, and Daphne Levasseur, Development Officer of Global Citizens, Global Affairs Canada, also spoke to the interns during the pre-departure training to share their experiences working abroad and provide practical advice to YLIP Interns.

In closing the training session, YLIP’s Program Manager Tiffany Butler stressed the importance of continuing the positive relationships interns built with each other over the three days. In addition, she encouraged the interns to be a support system for each other as they embark on their journeys abroad in the coming months.

Please visit the website for  more information on YLIP.

Nasrudin Mumin is a legal intern with CBA International Initiatives.