Alumni Spotlight: Frenkchris Sinay on IJ, Dutch Law, and International Organizations

Frenkchris at the Entrance of the United Nations Office in Geneva

 

 

Profile

 

Name:                                     Frenkchris Sinay

Citizenship:                           Dutch

Year of graduating:              2017

Major:                                     International Justice (IJ)

 

Interview

 

Tessel van der Putte: Frenkchris, when I think of a driven and hardworking friend from LUC, you are literally the first person that pops to mind. We both lived on floor ten and you were always such an incredibly hard worker (next to a very warm presence as well)! You have had a very interesting study path, having both graduated from LUC and in Leiden. Let’s start with that.

 

Frenkchris Sinay: Your words are too kind! That’s true. Well I was interested in current political affairs and I wanted to understand how politics and law were intertwined; I felt like the law was a reflection of the dynamics between culture and history within society. Vice versa, I was also fascinated by the impact of law on individual citizens, companies, and even countries… However, law does not exist in a vacuum. I was also interested in other disciplines, such as international relations. LUC being stationed in The Hague, with all her international courts and tribunals, was the perfect place. So in the end, I chose both LUC and Leiden Law School, to focus on international law but not rule out legal practice.

 

You make it sound so easy – yet that must have been a heavy study-load! Would you advice it to others?

 

It depends! If you want to enjoy a rich social life and have high grades for both, it will be very tough. I myself consciously decided to take less courses at law school at first to also benefit from the many available extracurriculars at LUC. The latter was very important to me and in the end, you only get to go to college once: you better make it count!

 

What was one of the best memories you have of your time at LUC?

 

There are so many great memories to choose from! I really liked the beach parties, club nights, and the annual pantomime and the Dies Fatalis at venues like the Kurhaus. Yet the first memory that came to mind was actually the garden party after handing in our capstones! I think in general, throughout the highs and lows, there is a strong feeling of community and camaraderie—even now, almost three years after graduation!

 

So even after graduating, you still feel a connection to the LUC community?

 

I would like to think so! When I know friends from LUC are around, be it in Geneva, London, or Paris to name but a few places, I try to meet up for drinks or dinner. And The Hague of course—whenever I visit the city, I bump into old classmates and lecturers! I think this is something very special about the LUC community…we pick up where we left off as if we were still attending. I remember the first time my father and I visited LUC. The first thing he said was that he could see this close-knit community—a little family. I did not realise how true these words would become for me later on: LUC became my home away from home, and it still feels like that when I enter AvB.

Frenkchris_joris
Frenkchris with Dr. Joris Larik (IJ Professor) when he was teaching at the Duke-Geneva Summer School in Transnational Law.

So what happened after you graduated – where did you go and what did you get up to?

 

After graduation I flew back to Geneva where I just started an internship as legal liaison at the International Law Commission (ILC) of the United Nations (UN), before coming back to finish my law degree at Leiden Law School. There in Geneva, my colleagues, who had attended Harvard, Cambridge, NYU, and the Graduate Institute amongst others, motivated me to apply to their schools despite the odds. I won scholarships and matriculated at the Graduate Institute in 2018 where at present, I am writing my thesis to conclude a degree in international economic law. This January, I also started as a policy assistant on economic affairs at the Dutch Mission to the UN and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

 

You have quite a busy agenda! What is it like to work at the Dutch mission to the UN and the WTO?

 

It’s a cliché but practice is very different from what we learned during many of our courses at LUC. As Jaap [de Hoop Scheffer] once told us in class: ‘…during negotiations no one will really care about constructivism or neoliberal institutionalism…’ Especially now I can see how well he captured the sentiment!

Frenkchris_ziekplafond
Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room at the UN headquarters.

From our lunch talks in Geneva I know you also got to visit Prague last month, right before Europe started to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic… Would you like to tell a bit more about that?

 

That’s right! I am a First Oralist in the international moot court on trade law. My team won the Regional Round and celebrated appropriately in Prague. Provided that it will be safe enough, the Global Round is scheduled to take place in Geneva, the seat of the WTO, in June. I thought I knew a lot about advocacy after my IJ and law school moot courts, but that was nothing compared to this concours—I can strongly recommend partaking in international competitions.

 

Frenkchris_covid
The library where Frenkchris normally works as an ILC Assistant

Congrats! Geneva is the perfect place for such a finale as well, having so many international and important organizations housed there. Do you see yourself staying in the international arena of Geneva after you finish your studies too? Do you have any professional hopes for the future you want to share?

 

In general, I would like to focus on policy and legal issues of economic integration. I am currently applying for traineeships in different sectors rather than focusing on a particular city. Yet the summers here are amazing: from the convivial sunset apéros to Montreux Jazz to cycling along the Léman—I would very much like to be in Geneva again at some point. Time will tell!

 

As we are rounding up this interview, is there any piece of advice or a life-lesson you learned, you would like to share?

 

I know LUC equips you well for ‘building a better world’, but I wish I spent more time on understanding the role of the private sector. If I talk with friends from banks and firms, their lives seem to be more fast-paced and they quickly see results. In contrast, from my time with the UN and now at the Dutch mission, I realise that negotiations take time and that indeed, patience is a virtue.

 

In addition, it is important to find passion for certain topics, but I think that passion alone will not get you where you want to be. Invest in your methods—these are your hard skills. On a more inspiring note, passion will get you a long way; the question is how far you want to go. J

 

Let’s change things up: I will interview the next alumna/alumnus (I won’t say who) next weekend. Do you have a question I should ask?

 

If there is one professor you could take to a club or a restaurant in The Hague, who and which would it be?

 

Thanks for your time, Frenkchris!

Thank you, Tessel!

 

This post was part of a larger series of “portraits” of Alumni. Want to be featured, have questions for Frenkchris, or about alumni in general? Do not hesitate to reach out to Evolucio via LinkedIn, Facebook or evolucio.board@gmail.com.

 

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