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Public International Law (International and European Law)

‘Law is more than just  words on paper’

Morillio Williams graduated in 2014 in Public International Law. At the moment he is working at Simavi, a non-profit organization aiming to improve health conditions of people in marginalised communities in Africa and Asia.

Morillio Williams

Health is the first step out of poverty

Morillio wrote his thesis on reviews by UN expert committees evaluating countries in implementing  International Human Rights law obligations on health care and sexual reproductive rights. He says: ‘The organization I now work for focuses on the structural improvement of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Part of my tasks is to advocate for strong political and sufficient financial support for SRHR on a national level towards the Dutch government, and on an international level towards the United Nations and the international community as a whole.’

‘Moreover, we organize workshops and training, and we facilitate dialogues to capacitate our partners in the  counties we work, to be able to bring issues from national to the international level and vice versa. I myself have recently given a capacity building training session in Indonesia on the United Nations system of human rights.’

Extra opportunities

‘I chose to study at the University of Amsterdam specifically because I expected to be able to grow into the role I have now.' As a student, Morillio was very active in the student representation bodies. ‘I feel honored to have served the student council of the Amsterdam Law School, as its chair. It was an excellent preparation’, he says. ‘The university offers all kinds of extracurricular opportunities, but you need to put some effort into it yourself, too, and plan well ahead.’

Make a positive change

‘I grew up in Suriname and was a peer educator at the age of 12, connected to a local NGO that also worked on ensuring Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights. I have known I wanted to do more in this field for a long time. Studying Public International Law was my way of getting here. It is a beautiful field of law in which we see a lot of innovation and new ways of interpretation. As a graduate in international law I honestly feel that I can make a positive change in the world, that I am doing something that matters.’

More than words on paper

Morillio's advice to future students: ‘Law is more than just  words on paper. The Amsterdam Law School offers field trips, e.g. to Geneva and Brussels, and guidance to do internships. Theory in international law should be your basis, but  look beyond theory and find ways to learn from practice.’