Jason Howard

LLM International Human Rights Law, 2014

Jason Howard

The course was presented in a straight-forward way and for a mature student, busy with life and a career, this made the process so much easier. The expectations were clear, the content looked interesting; interesting enough to want to commit to hours of reading towards, and I still want to read about it now

After a varied and interesting career, including service with the Foreign Legion, Metropolitan Police, New Scotland Yard and the New Zealand police force, Jason decided to add academic credentials to his interest in Human Rights. And now, working with UNICEF, Jason reflects on his time at Oxford Brookes…

I came to Brookes as a very mature student, following an extensive and varied career and after spending a year in Algeria, I returned to college and eventually to Brookes.

I’ve always had an interest in human rights. I had no idea what that meant, but there was an interest. I didn’t understand why so many people were so against human rights and I could not understand how governments could argue about human rights. And so when I read about this course, it seemed to answer these questions.

And that was the key; the course encouraged me to think about and find the answers and ask other questions that I hadn’t thought of before.

The course was presented in a straight-forward way and for a mature student, busy with life and a career, this made the process so much easier. The expectations were clear, the content looked interesting; interesting enough to want to commit to hours of reading towards, and I still want to read about it now!

Getting the time to read and getting the most interesting materials to read was one of the best parts of my studies. The course is current; things happened yesterday, students and teachers will be talking about tomorrow. The lecturers gave us their views and we could argue with them; that was a very interesting experience for me. And the students, from lots of different countries, all with their views – sometimes at odds with what is reported on our news, really made for an interesting time.

The lecturers who teach on the programme have a passion for their subject, which is what a mature student needs. Ilona Cheyne, Professor in Law, is the most calm and reassuring person I have ever met, she is lovely. I liked the course, but there were times when I thought I was not cut out to be a student again. Ilona sat me down, calmly told me what was going to happen, how to achieve it, how to do better, how to gain the skills necessary to study and be a student. I thank her very much for giving me her time and wisdom. I also thank her for taking a risk on me; the risk of me as a mature student without a law degree, studying at such a level.

Having LLM after your name, does make you stand out from the crowd. For my dissertation I wrote about the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which I think helped me land a job here at UNICEF. That flexibility with the choice of dissertation helped me into my new career. Brookes’ reputation as a good, solid University helps very much in the job market.

I had hoped to work for UNICEF abroad, so that ambition has been realised. Now that the state of Palestine has been accepted into the ICC, I'd like to work on that and return to investigations.