Warren spent year in Africa working for United Nations

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March 15, 2011

1:07 AM

College of William and Mary law professor Christie Warren has returned to Williamsburg after a one-year term assisting the United Nations.

Warren served as the senior mediation expert in constitutional issues for the UN Mediation Support Standby Team, a five-person team that deploys members to assist UN mediators, provides short-order advice and analysis, serves peacekeeping missions, and functions as a resource for the UN.

While in Darfur, Warren helped a Sudanese rebel faction unite in their struggle against the government. By the end of her time in the region, Warren was able to see the rebel group and the government come together to sign a ceasefire agreement.

During her term, Warren was deployed to Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, and Moldova, among other locations.
Upon receiving an assignment from the U.N., Warren had to be on a flight abroad within 48 hours.

“This past summer I was on vacation with my family in France, and I got a phone call that I was needed in Kyrgyzstan,” Warren said. “They take the 48-hour deadline pretty seriously. I had to leave right away.” In order to complete the program, Warren had to take a year-long leave of absence from her position as a professor at the Marshall-Wythe School of Law.

“I thought about it very carefully before I accepted, because of the lifestyle,” Warren said. “It was very stressful, but at the same time it was the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.”

As the senior expert on constitutional issues, she aided countries in the process of drafting new constitutions and amending current ones.

Warren and her team provided neutral guidance to the countries and tried to remain as unbiased as possible as they aided leaders in writing their constitutions.

“Because we are neutral, short-term experts whose job is to provide specific technical assistance, we are able to offer credible expertise that can contribute to peace processes,” Warren said in a press release.

“I am currently teaching post-conflict justice and the rule of law, and I would say that every experience that I had this past year is being put into good use in my classes,” Warren said. “Everything I experienced abroad and everything I’m teaching go hand-in-glove together.”

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